6 shows on Netflix that are stranger than 'Stranger Things'
Get your supernatural fix with these curated shows that feature demons, superheroes and a modern-day Eve.
The new season of "Stranger Things" this summer can't come soon enough. But if you're just too antsy to return to the show's infamous "upside down" universe, may we offer up some alternatives? These six series share some of the same quirky DNA as our favorite group of friends in Hawkins, Indiana.
And the best part? They're already available on Netflix. So start binging tonight!
'Black Mirror' launched back in 2011 in Britain where it quickly achieved cult status. College courses are now taught about the science fiction anthology.
Netflix acquired the series in 2016 and has continued to produce new episodes since then. Like a modern-day "Twilight Zone,” each episode is self-contained and usually examines a different aspect of the dark side of technology. One episode, featuring Bryce Dallas Howard, explores our obsessiveness with social media. Another, starring "Mad Men" lead Jon Hamm, shows what can happen when we separate our consciousness from our physical body. An episode called the "USS Callister," about a bizarre form of technological bullying, won four Emmy Awards.
"This was a dementedly brilliant idea," TV critic Michael Hogan said of the show. "The satire was so audacious, it left me open-mouthed and squealing." Fans of the very first episode, which features a pig and a political scandal, should enjoy that reference.
"Lucifer" is often described as an urban fantasy police procedural and resides somewhere between a comedy and a drama. The hard-to-pin-down series is based on the DC Comics character created by famed British author Neil Gaiman. The show began on FOX, but moved over to Netflix for its latest season.
And with that fresh season comes an intriguing new character played by Israeli actress Inbar Lavi. While starring in "Imposters" (also available on Netflix), the 32-year-old Lavi played a clever con artist, but she's portraying a decidedly grander character in this show: Eve, the world's very first female. Only imagine if Eve lived in the present day. This is how she's described: "After an eternity with Adam, she’s grown restless in her marriage and longs for a less predictable time when things were exciting. Naughty. Dangerous. She misses her hot and heavy first love… the charming rogue who tempted her so many years ago. That’s right, the devil himself… Lucifer."
Moving away from broadcast television and onto Netflix has given the producers more leeway in the stories that they can tell. "We knew we wanted to make the same show at its heart," they told SpoilerTV. "So the dark parts got just a tad darker, and the sexy bits... just a tad sexier."
'The Umbrella Academy'
Like "Stranger Things," this series features a team of young adults who are tasked with fighting the supernatural while shifting through different dimensions. Adapted from a comic book of the same name, "The Umbrella Academy" attracted 45 million households for the show's first season earlier this year – and it has already been renewed for a second.
The show's quirky premise is this: On Oct. 1, 1989, 43 women around the world gave birth simultaneously, despite none of them showing any sign of pregnancy the day before. Seven of the children were adopted by an eccentric billionaire and turned into a superhero team called "The Umbrella Academy." The action then time-shifts, and the siblings are now older and reunited to try and uncover the secret of their dysfunctional family while also trying to stave off the apocalypse. The ensemble cast features everyone from Canadian actress Ellen Page to R&B superstar Mary J. Blige.
The series, often compared to Marvel Comics' "X-Men" in reviews, has been generally well-received. Rotten Tomatoes described it as a show that "unfurls an imaginative yarn with furtive emotion and an exceptionally compelling ensemble."
"The Rain" is a Danish post-apocalyptic TV series with a bizarre premise: When a virus that is carried by rainfall kills most of the humans in Scandinavia, siblings Simone and Rasmus take shelter in a bunker. Five years later, they emerge to search for their father, a scientist who left them in the bunker but never returned. Along the way they join a group of young survivors and together they travel across Denmark and Sweden, searching for a safe place, and for the siblings' father, who may be able to provide the answers and the cure. It's kind of like "Lost" meets "The Walking Dead."
Jen Chaney, a TV critic for the entertainment website Vulture, called the series "gripping," adding that it's "very efficient in the way it unspools its plot, only sharing as much information as viewers need to understand what’s happening in front of them while withholding key details. That makes it ideal for this platform, where unanswered questions invite streamers to keep bingeing until they finally get some answers."
If zombie shows like "The Walking Dead" lack that satirical bite you're looking for, you're in luck. "iZombie" launched on The CW in 2015 to rave reviews, and all of its seasons are now available on Netflix.
The show centers around Liv Moore, played by New Zealand actress Rose McIver. Her character turns into a zombie while attending a boat party, and this has encouraged her to make other life changes. She abandons her career and breaks up with her fiancé, much to the disappointment and puzzlement of her family. The catch of being a zombie is inevitable: She discovers that if she does not periodically satisfy her new appetite for brains, she starts turning into a stereotypical, stupid and homicidal zombie. But instead of feeding by killing innocent people, she decides to take a job at the local morgue and eat the brains of the corpses she autopsies. That seems normal, right?
Can't get enough of McIver? No worries – Netflix has you covered. She's also the star of two popular romantic holiday movies on the streaming service, "A Christmas Prince" and the sequel "A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding."
In the vein of "Stranger Things," this show follows a team of friends who crisscross the country, investigating paranormal activity and picking fights with demons, ghosts and monsters. But instead of featuring pre-pubescent kids, "Supernatural" goes for the hunk factor with their stars: Jared Padalecki from "Gilmore Girls" and Jensen Ackles from "Dawson's Creek." Israeli actress Alona Tal and Canadian actress Samantha Ferris round out the cast.
The show brings in elements from both "The X-Files" and "The Twilight Zone" and is rich in mythology. Several companion books have been published which serve as resource guides, and feature illustrations and additional background information on the creatures featured in the show. Several novels based on the series have also been published.
The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan named "Supernatural" among the top 10 shows of 2009, stating that the "thoughtfully crafted show got bolder and more creative in 2009, coming up with hilarious and innovative episodes and taking risks with its storytelling." TV critic Mike Hale of The New York Times also named the series to his top 10 list for the year, declaring, "'Supernatural' is currently among the wildest and most entertaining series in prime time."
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