Stranger Things: The Phenomenon


Tristan Cates, Messenger Reporter

   The second season of Stranger Things recently blessed the eyes of eagerly-waiting fans. The franchise took no time to become an international sensation for the young, the old, and the people somewhere in between, skyrocketing to record success during its release last summer.. Those who have not experienced this show may wonder what made this Netflix series rise to the tops of everyone’s must-watch list. One reason this show is in high demand is the glimpse into the life during the 80’s, for many this allows them to relive the essence of their childhood, spoiler alert, minus the interaction with a second dimension and its extraterrestrial forces. This show fully immerses the viewer by including classic costuming and set design as well as the major references to iconic 80’s culture. The writers also use the inseparable friends archetype found in classic 80’s movies like The Goonies or Stand By Me,  the main group must work together to save their community and potentially the world.  Beyond the audience members, who grew up in this time, Stranger Things appeals to the current generation’s fascination with the culture of past decades, as seen in the revival of 80’s and 90’s fashion trends. The Duffer Brothers’ hit series submerges these individuals in a completely different era, allowing their hearts to feel as if they are living vicariously through the young teens. However, the 80’s is not the only defining characteristic of Stranger Things, the show ties in heavy sci-fi influences through the plot developments. The first season introduced the obscure events that occur in this small town, amassing quite the cult following, and allowing the proceeding season to further explore the loose ends that left the audience at the edge of their seats. The show maintains the warmth of friendship, while still playing into the terrors of the unknown. The dramatic genre shows the limitations of the horror aspects within the show, reducing the intensity to short outbursts, while creating a prolonged eery vibe. The cinematography captures the looming darkness that ensues by using blue and gray tones to create an eery feeling to the overall picture. During the progression of the plot you can notice the dimness of the setting around the characters, allowing bright colors or lights to gain significance. The Stranger Things’ cast combines the likes of Winona Ryder with rising young actors Finn Wolfhard, Noah Schnapp, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, and Millie Bobby Brown; the overwhelming talent got the show nominated for two Oscars, Best Television Series and Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series, and won the shows several Emmys. Overall the show submerges the audience into their 80’s dreamland filled with nostalgia and friendship, while developing the ominous darkness to reel in the curious viewers.