By Giovanni Angelillis

Stranger things is one of the most popular science fiction series of the 21st century. It has an engaging plot, wonderful visuals, and has had a significant impact on popular culture. The revival of Kate Bush’s song “Running Up That Hill” in 2022 is a prime example of this.

There are many reasons why Stranger Things became so popular: nostalgia for the 1980s; the talented young cast who have become stars since the show premiered; and the fact that it debuted at a time when people were looking for an escape from the negativity of the 2016 presidential election.

Stranger Things is an American science fiction horror drama television series created by the Duffer Brothers for Netflix. Produced by Monkey Massacre Productions and 21 Laps Entertainment, the first season was released on Netflix on July 15, 2016. The second and third season followed in October 2017 and July 2019, and the fourth one aired in two parts in May and July 2022. In February 2022, Stranger Things was renewed for a fifth and final season.

The show takes place in the 1980s in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana. In the first season, set in November 1983, a group of three friends, Mike Wheeler played by actor Finn Wolfhard, Lucas Sinclair played by actor Caleb McLaughlin, and Dustin Henderson played by actor Gaten Matarazzo, find a girl named Eleven, played by the young actress Millie Bobby Brown. They are searching for their lost friend Will Byers, played by Noah Schnapp.

During the season we meet other characters, such as Will’s family: his mom, Joyce Byers, is played by the famous actor Winona Ryder, and his brother, Jonathan Byers, by Charlie Heaton. And some other characters that are important in the season, like Mike’s sister Nancy Wheeler, is played by Natalia Dyer, the much-loved boy Steve Harrington, plays Joe Keery, and David Harbour who plays Chief Jim Hopper.

The second and third seasons expand the narrative scope, exploring the fallout from the events of November 1983, where we meet other important characters: the brothers Max Mayfield and Billy Hargrove, played respectively by Sadie Sink and Dacre Montgomery, and the famous Maya Hawke as Robin Buckley. Other secondary characters are the scientist Murray Bauman, played by Brett Gelman, the actor from the LOTR Sean Astin, as Bob Newby, and Lucas’ little sister, Erica Sinclair, interpreted by Priah Ferguson.

The fourth season has major stories taking place outside Hawkins for the first time. Here, we meet a new enemy and new characters, such as the fan-favorite Eddie Munson, played by Joseph Quinn, and Jonathan’s friend Argyle, played by Mexican actor Eduardo Franco.

They have just started filming the fifth season, which will close the popular series.

The Duffer Brothers developed Stranger Things as a mix of investigative drama and supernatural elements portrayed with horror and childlike sensibilities, while infusing references to the pop culture of the 1980s.

They had the idea to pitch the project to Netflix. The team had to work hard to convince Netflix. “Stranger Things” sounded too similar to “Needful Things,” a Stephen King book from the 80s. So, they created a fake Stephen King paperback cover to showcase their idea for the show. Netflix liked their project and gave the creators the freedom to develop the show.

Some themes were inspired by the works of Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter, David Lynch, Stephen King, Wes Craven and H.P. Lovecraft. They also took inspiration from experiments conducted during the Cold War and conspiracy theories involving secret government programs.

Stranger Things has attracted a record viewership on the streaming platform. It has been very appreciated for its characterization, atmosphere, acting, soundtrack, direction, script, and homages to 1980s films. It has received numerous nominations and awards. An animated spin-off series, developed by Eric Robles and produced by Flying Bark Productions, is in development.

The first season consisted of eight one-hour-long episodes which were released worldwide on Netflix on July 15, 2016, in Ultra HD 4K. The second season, consisting of nine episodes, was released on October 27, 2017, in HDR. The third season once again consists of eight episodes and was released on July 4, 2019. The fourth season, made of nine episodes, was released in two chapters on May 27 and July 1, 2022.

Do you know that the show originally was called Montauk?

It was the Montauk Project that inspired the show. The alleged government experiment took place in the early ’80s and involved kidnapping kids from Long Island to experiment on them. The show would have taken place on Long Island, but the Duffers had to change the show’s location when they realized it would be too difficult to film there in winter.

Another fun fact is David Harbour wanted Hopper to wear a hat in homage to Indiana Jones, he even asked if he could have a giant boulder roll after him. The Duffers are still not sure whether he was joking or not.

This worldwide phenomenon is an absolute blast to watch and will keep you entertained throughout the entire series. It has everything a show needs to be great: action, comedy, drama, suspense, even nostalgia. You really begin to care for these characters and what happens to them. Obviously, season 1 is the best but the others are not far off.

Di Giovanni Angelillis

My art my passion.

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