10 TV Shows You Can Stream Right Now to Fill the Stranger Things Void

A scene from Netflix's The OA.
A scene from Netflix's The OA.
Nicola Goode, Netflix

The third season of Stranger Things has been out for more than a month now, and along with some record-breaking viewership numbers comes the inevitable post-binge depression that crops up whenever your favorite show goes on hiatus for another year (for Stranger Things, it’s traditionally closer to a year and a half). But fear not: While the series’ blend of horror, sci-fi, humor, and heart might seem impossible to imitate, it’s not the only show that ticks all those boxes. So if you’re looking to fill that Stranger Things-shaped hole in your heart, these 10 shows should do the trick.

1. The X-Files

The original sci-fi/horror/supernatural/paranormal mishmash, The X-Files managed to outclass other genre shows at the time by crafting a quirky, offbeat, inimitable tone that the rest simply couldn’t compete with. Like Stranger Things, the whole series is awash in government conspiracies, shadowy agencies, unexplained phenomena, and a cast of characters hellbent on getting to the bottom of it all. Best of all? If you like it, there are 11 seasons to catch up on.

Where to watch it: Amazon Prime Video (seasons 1-9), Hulu (seasons 1-11)

2. The OA

The OA is like Stranger Things’s far weirder, far artsier little brother. And while it was just unfortunately canceled by Netflix, the two seasons we do have are musts for anyone interested in trippy sci-fi shenanigans. The show centers on Prairie Johnson (Brit Marling), a blind woman who returns after having been missing for seven years—but now she has mysterious scars on her back and somehow regained her sight. From there, viewers are introduced to a world of malicious scientists, immoral experiments, alternate dimensions, and a lot of confusion (but in a good way), as Prairie—who has dubbed herself The OA, or “Original Angel”—reveals more about her mysterious disappearance and apparent resurrection. It’s more of a straight-faced head-scratcher than Stranger Things, but don’t let that dissuade you from embracing The OA’s world.

Where to watch it: Netflix

3. Wayward Pines

Mysterious disappearances, creepy small towns, a smattering of sci-fi and horror—the Duffer Brothers definitely have a type. Before the duo went to Netflix with Stranger Things, they had a stint serving as writers and producers for director M. Night Shyamalan’s like-minded Fox drama, Wayward Pines. In this series, Matt Dillon stars as U.S. Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke, who’s investigating the disappearance of two agents before ending up trapped in the seemingly idyllic town of Wayward Pines, Idaho, which soon enough opens itself up to all manner of conspiracies and unsavory villains.

Where to watch it: Hulu

4. Twin Peaks

Before the Duffer Brothers breathed life into the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, there was Twin Peaks, Washington, the titular suburb at the heart of director David Lynch’s surreal mystery drama about (among many other things) the murder of homecoming queen, Laura Palmer. Its effortless blend of surreal imagery, small-town horror, and twisting narratives influenced countless series currently in your streaming queue, but Stranger Things honored Lynch’s formula far better than most.

Where to watch it: Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video

5. Orphan Black

Orphan Black is a sci-fi thriller that focuses on a woman named Sarah Manning (played by Tatiana Maslany) who witnesses the suicide of a complete stranger who just so happens to look exactly like her. This sets off a chain of events that sees Manning embroiled in a clone conspiracy as she faces off against an amoral corporation and an extremist religious cult, both of which have their own intentions for Manning and her newfound "sisters." Even if the heady mystery goes over your head, Orphan Black is worth watching simply for Maslany's powerhouse performance as an ever-increasing group of clones, all with different personalities.

Where to watch it: Amazon Prime Video

6. Runaways

In this adaption of the Marvel comic by writer Brian K. Vaughan, a new type of superhero team takes center stage, starring a cast of diverse, powered-up teenagers tasked with battling their parents, who are pretty much secret super villains. It’s full of the usual conspiracies, aliens, and religious cults, but this series is automatically better than most because the character Arsenic (Ariela Barer) can telepathically control a dinosaur named Old Lace (a reference for you Frank Capra fans). Stranger Things gave the world a group of underaged underdogs to root for, and Runaways follows suit—just with a whole host of crazy powers.

Where to watch it: Hulu

7. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

If your knowledge of Sabrina begins and ends with the light-hearted Melissa Joan Hart sitcom from the ‘90s, prepare to do a complete 180 with Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. In this updated take on the Archie Comics classic, Netflix has gone full-on blasphemous, throwing Sabrina and her world head-on into occult machinations and hellish plot lines, punctuated with stylish visuals and a touch of black humor. Like Stranger Things, Sabrina takes its supernatural world and throws it right into a small town and pits these terrors against the might of a hero who isn’t even old enough to drive yet.

Where to watch it: Netflix

8. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer took a different stab at horror tropes by bringing a sharp wit and unique braininess to the world of monsters, vampires, and the undead—and it pulled it all off with a high-school heroine (Sarah Michelle Gellar) who proved to be a far more worthy action hero than most square-jawed, big-screen lunkheads. Creator Joss Whedon’s take on TV horror has a sublime quirkiness to it that helped set the stage for the offbeat world of Hawkins, Indiana.

Where to watch it: Hulu

9. Dark

If you’re looking for a series that goes a bit deeper and a little darker than Stranger Things, this German export from Netflix has you covered. On the surface, Dark covers familiar ground—like the disappearance of a child in a small town and a (partial) '80s setting—but this show's time-travel twists set it far apart from the goings-on in Hawkins. At the center of the vanishing children and reality-bending wormholes in Dark are the past, present, and future sins of four families: the Kahnwalds, Nielsens, Tiedemanns, and Dopplers. Expectations get subverted and characters are never quite what they seem in this one. Word of warning: Dark gets a little complex, so you may want to keep this online flowchart handy to make sense of these twists and turns. One quick note: Netflix defaults to a version with dubbed English dialogue, but do yourself a favor and switch to the original German audio with English subtitles. It's far less distracting, and easier to follow. 

Where to watch it: Netflix

10. The Toys That Made us

If your favorite part about Stranger Things is the ‘80s-soaked nostalgia factor, you can dive further into the era of excess with Netflix’s The Toys That Made Us. In this documentary series, each episode focuses on the history and cultural impact of one iconic toyline from decades past—spanning everything from He-Man and G.I. Joe to Barbie and Hello Kitty. There’s surprising depth and detail in every installment, as you’ll learn the backstory, production process, and key business decisions that helped turn these hunks of plastic into pop culture touchstones. And later this year, the show will premiere both a third season and a spin-off titled The Movies That Made Us, with one episode focusing solely on another Stranger Things crew favorite: Ghostbusters.

Where to watch it: Netflix

Keep Your Cat Busy With a Board Game That Doubles as a Scratch Pad

Cheerble
Cheerble

No matter how much you love playing with your cat, waving a feather toy in front of its face can get monotonous after a while (for the both of you). To shake up playtime, the Cheerble three-in-one board game looks to provide your feline housemate with hours of hands-free entertainment.

Cheerble's board game, which is currently raising money on Kickstarter, is designed to keep even the most restless cats stimulated. The first component of the game is the electronic Cheerble ball, which rolls on its own when your cat touches it with their paw or nose—no remote control required. And on days when your cat is especially energetic, you can adjust the ball's settings to roll and bounce in a way that matches their stamina.

Cheerable cat toy on Kickstarter.
Cheerble

The Cheerble balls are meant to pair with the Cheerble game board, which consists of a box that has plenty of room for balls to roll around. The board is also covered on one side with a platform that has holes big enough for your cat to fit their paws through, so they can hunt the balls like a game of Whack-a-Mole. And if your cat ever loses interest in chasing the ball, the board also includes a built-in scratch pad and fluffy wand toy to slap around. A simplified version of the board game includes the scratch pad without the wand or hole maze, so you can tailor your purchase for your cat's interests.

Cheerble cat board game.
Cheerble

Since launching its campaign on Kickstarter on April 23, Cheerble has raised over $128,000, already blowing past its initial goal of $6416. You can back the Kickstarter today to claim a Cheerble product, with $32 getting you a ball and $58 getting you the board game. You can make your pledge here, with shipping estimated for July 2020.

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HBO Max: Everything You Need to Know About the New Streaming Service

What will you binge-watch first?
What will you binge-watch first?
WarnerMedia

This week, WarnerMedia launched HBO Max, the long-awaited streaming platform that the company hopes can compete with the likes of Netflix and Disney+. But with HBO GO and HBO NOW already in existence, the addition of a third platform for HBO content has caused no small amount of confusion among both prospective customers and current HBO subscribers. Here are answers to all your burning questions about the buzzworthy new service.

What is HBO Max?

HBO Max is a direct-to-consumer streaming platform that you can download as an app or access through your cable or internet provider. Just like Apple has Apple TV+ and Amazon has Prime Video, WarnerMedia now has HBO Max.

How is HBO Max different from HBO NOW and HBO GO?

hbo max streaming platform
This user's viewing habits are eclectic, to say the least.
WarnerMedia

Before HBO Max, WarnerMedia had two different apps with the same library of HBO series and certain Warner Bros. films. HBO GO is for viewers who already pay for HBO through their cable TV provider, which is why you have to log in through your TV provider. HBO NOW is for independent subscribers who pay $15 a month for access to the same content. In other words, HBO GO is for customers with cable, and HBO NOW is for those without it.

Like HBO NOW, HBO Max is an independent subscription service that you don’t need a TV provider in order to access. The main difference comes down to content: While HBO NOW and HBO GO only include HBO series and some films, HBO Max offers tons of additional shows and films licensed from other distributors—plus new, exclusive originals (more on that in a minute).

How much does HBO Max cost, and how do I get it?

You can sign up for HBO Max here. Your first seven days will be free, and it will cost you $15 per month after that.

Do I already have access to HBO Max?

If you’re already an HBO NOW subscriber, your app should have automatically updated to the HBO Max app (if you don’t have automatic updates enabled, make sure to update it manually), and you can log into HBO Max using your existing HBO NOW credentials. Your recurring monthly payment of $15 will also now automatically start applying to HBO Max instead of HBO NOW.

If you watch HBO through your TV or mobile provider, there’s a good chance you can access HBO Max at no additional cost, too. Apple TV channels, AT&T TV, DIRECTV, Hulu, Spectrum, Verizon FIOS, Xfinity, and many other providers are included—you can see the full list here.

Which platforms will HBO Max be on?

You can stream HBO Max on your desktop on HBOMax.com, or you can download the app through the Apple app store, Google Play, or Samsung TV. You can also access HBO Max content on your TV through any of the providers listed here.

What's playing on HBO Max?

hbo max channel hubs
Elmo and James Dean in the same place, at last.
WarnerMedia

HBO Max boasts 10,000 hours of content that includes all HBO shows, many Warner Bros. films from the past century, new Max Original series, and other programs from CNN, Cartoon Network, TNT, TBS, TCM, Adult Swim, and more.

To name a few highlights, the service currently offers all eight Harry Potter films, all 10 seasons of Friends, an exclusive selection of Studio Ghibli classics like Howl’s Moving Castle (2005) and Spirited Away (2002), and 2019’s Joker. The first few episodes of some highly-anticipated Max Originals are also available, including Anna Kendrick’s rom-com series Love Life, the voguing house reality competition Legendary, and Sesame Workshop's The Not-Too-Late Show With Elmo (featuring guests Kacey Musgraves, John Mulaney, the Jonas Brothers, Lil Nas X, and more—so far).

Will I get to see the Friends Reunion?

Yes, the Friends reunion will definitely debut on HBO Max, but no air date has been confirmed yet. Production was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, and they’re tentatively hoping to film it sometime this summer. (But hey, at least you have access to all the other Friends episodes to help you pass the time.)