Matt Heath is a radio host on Radio Hauraki and Herald columnist

Matt Heath: Stranger Things is the crack cocaine of TV series

Addictive 80s saga leaves binge-watchers with severe withdrawals.
Winona Ryder plays Joyce Byers, mother of a missing son, in Stranger Things.
Winona Ryder plays Joyce Byers, mother of a missing son, in Stranger Things.

Stranger Things is great. But now you've seen it what next?

Like many of you, after binge-watching the entire Netflix series I've suffered major withdrawals.

Leaving the town of Hawkins behind was like jumping out of a hot spa into the freezing cold.

Mike, Dustin, Lucas and Eleven were my best friends. Chief Jim Hooper a father figure. Jonathan the big brother I never had. Karen my childhood sweetheart.

But now we are forced back into the real world where, sadly, there are no mysteriously missing friends or monsters to investigate.

Watching the whole series again is fine but like methadone, it deals only with the cravings. There's no actual high. We need our next hit.

Previous faves Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Daredevil, Vikings and Jessica Jones have lost their shine thanks to the brilliance of Stranger Things.

There's another series on the way but that could be a year away.

So like 80s nostalgia smack-heads, many of us have been forced out on to the streets in search of that strangely, heartwarming buzz.

Your best option is to go back to the 80s movies that influenced Stranger Things.

ET, The Goonies, Gremlins, The Thing, Stand by Me. They'll help a bit, but it's a much lower dose.

ET hasn't aged as well as it could have and The Goonies wasn't quite as good as it could've been in the first place.

Stand by Me is one of the best movies ever made and will give you the adventure buzz but there's no monster.

The Thing gives you the 80s monster but there's no BMX bikes, D&D or gang of kids.

The closest you'll get to Stranger Things is Super 8 from 2011.

Directed by J.J. Abrams and produced by Steven Spielberg, it's a modern day Amblin Entertainment classic.

Stranger Things has taken the best elements of so many great things and made something far better than anything before it. There is no TV or film equal.

A group of misfit kids try to solve a mystery in their small town. It's set in 1979, just four years before the events in Hawkins, so you are in the right zone.

It's got monsters, BMX bike riding and the greatest train crash you will ever see. It's funny, scary and heartfelt.

But even with Steven, the original master, on board it doesn't hit the Amblin heights of Stranger Things. It's just not as potent a mix.

Amazingly, the Duffer Brothers have produced something more Spielberg than Spielberg ever did.

You can get a nice blast of the Stranger Things feel in the 2004 British comedy Garth Marenghi's Darkplace. A five-episode, purposely crap, 80s hospital-based Stephen King piss-take. The great giant eye sex scene alone is worth your time. But it's not quite there.

Stranger Things has taken the best elements of so many great things and made something far better than anything before it. There is no TV or film equal.

You could try the video game Inside. Its dark and weird atmosphere might just take your mind off Things.

You play a small isolated boy thrown into a scary world where you must solve puzzles to progress through labs of scientists performing strange experiments.

A simple, arty 3D side-scroller asks some big questions. Are you playing the game or is the game playing you?

Coming down from Stranger Things isn't easy. It's an entertainment cold turkey.

You're probably experiencing abdominal pain, anxiety, chills, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, weakness and your next proper hit could be over a year away.

Luckily there are a few buzzes out there that will help get you through till the good stuff is back on the streets.

For now, though, I just really miss Dustin's cleidocranial dysplasia.

- NZ Herald

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Matt Heath is a radio host on Radio Hauraki and Herald columnist

Matt Heath is a breakfast radio host on Radio Hauraki, and a television producer, writer and director. He made a name for himself with Back of The Y Masterpiece Television, Balls of Steel UK and the feature film The Devil Dared Me To. Matt was guitarist and singer for the band Deja Voodoo which released two top twenty albums. He is currently a producer on Best Bits, a cricket commentator for The Alternative Commentary Collective, and the director of Vinewood Motion Graphics. Matt is a father of two living in Auckland City.

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