Psychedelic experiences don’t just have to come from consuming fungus or injecting nutmeg, they can also be triggered by the visual experiences available to us today. Certain TV shows have been pushing the limits of what our brains can comprehend for a while now – yeah, everyone and their uncle knows about Black Mirror and Westworld, so here are a few lesser known ones. Sit back and put the kettle on – it’s time to get weird.
A German sci-fi masterpiece that you can catch on Netflix, this show shares an external similarity to Stranger Things. Beyond that however, the show is completely different. The story starts off with the disappearance of 2 children in the gloomy town of Winden, which leads to the slow unraveling of its horrifying past.
2. How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast)
Another German show you’ve probably seen on your suggested lists, this one is about a geeky kid in high school who starts casually selling drugs as a way to impress his ex-girlfriend. However, his technical expertise soon propels him into the drug-dealing big league, which in turns attracts all kinds of trouble.
3. The End of the F***ing World
Teenager James is convinced he’s a psychopath, and wants to actualise that belief by murdering someone. To that end, he helps 17-year-old Alyssa look for her estranged father, all the while waiting for the right time to strike. This show is a dark comedy-drama with a really twisted coming-of-age vibe.
Elijah wood stars are Ryan, a young and depressed man struggling to find meaning in the world. Coincidentally, he also happens to be the only one who can see his neighbour’s dog as an adult man in a dog costume. The suit might be shitty, but his company isn’t. Yes, the show is as bizarre as it sounds, and yes, it’s great.
5. Altered Carbon
300 years in the future, the rich live practically forever by transferring their consciousness into other bodies. When one of these immortals is ‘killed’, he revives and then hires a long dead soldier to solve the murder. This show is slick, visually stunning, and supremely mind-bending.
6. Killing Eve
This British spy-thriller-drama stars Sandra Oh as Eve, an MI5 operative who’s brilliant but erratic. She’s tasked with tracking down a ruthless, psychopathic, and wholly alluring assassin named Villanelle. They slowly become obsessed with each other in a twisted relationship that starts to take over every other thing in their lives.
7. Russian Doll
This comedy-drama sees a hard-partying New York woman inexplicably getting stuck in a time loop where she lives out the same day over and over again. To make matters worse, she keeps dying in increasingly horrible (but creative) ways. Now, she has to figure out why it’s happening to her, and we have to go along for the ride.
This show is based on the comics of the same name about an omega-level mutant named David Haller who was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a kid and has been institutionalised. It’s not a superhero show by any length though, more of a surreal pipe-dream where you might not have any idea what the hell is going on, but you’ll love it anyway. Honestly, this is one of the most underrated shows around.
9. Twin Peaks
A cult classic that started in 1990 with an FBI agent travelling to a small town to solve the murder of a high school student. In 2017, the show returned for a 3rd season that picked up 25 years later. It was created by David Lynch, so you’ll either love it or you’ll… not.
Brilliant/half-mad scientist Walter Bishop teams up with his son and FBI agent Olivia Dunham to investigate fringe science, which involves events that can’t really be explained. Along the way, the show explores alternate dimensions, time travel, and people with no taste buds – all without feeling too campy.
A criminally underrated show about a global conspiracy revolving around a comic book. Watch for the stellar story-line, stay for the pristine aesthetic that’s offset by the show’s sheer brutality. This series will turn your brain into mush, and force you to ask yourself some really disturbing questions.
An ex-cop with seemingly no morals has a near-death experience, after which he starts seeing an imaginary fairy-thing called Happy, who will lead him on a search for murder most foul. Along the way he’ll down a truck-full of ethanol, legally die a couple of times, and try to take down the world’s most evil kid’s entertainer.
A preacher with the power to command people to do his bidding teams up with his balls-to-the-wall ex and a wise-cracking Irish vampire on a mission to find God, who seems to have gone missing. This show gives no fucks, and it feels gooooood. Also, it’s inexplicably made by Seth Rogen (WTF?).
14. Love, Death & Robots
This collection of short stories truly changed the game. Each short is animated in a different style, and the result is breath-taking. It’s truly the future of animation (it’s also not for the faint of heart). The stories range from horror to sci-fi to a brilliant combination of steampunk and anime – an absolutely visceral experience.
Howard Silk has spent years at his job at a spy agency, but the future doesn’t look too promising. That is, until he realises the place he works at also functions as a gateway to a parallel universe, one where his dead wife might still be alive. It stars J.K. Simmons and has a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes – go figure.
16. The OA
When Prairie Johnson, a young woman who had disappeared for 7 years suddenly returns, everyone is stunned but elated. Soon however, those emotions give way to questions, as she refuses to talk about what happened during all those years. This show is a slow burn, but that just helps establish the gravity of the situation, and the twists that you’ll never see coming.
So how do you like your brains – scrambled or fried?