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This article is about the series. For other uses, see Stranger Things (disambiguation).

Stranger Things is a television-format series created by the Duffer Brothers. It was released as a Netflix original series premiering on July 15, 2016.

The show takes place in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana in the early-to-mid 1980s. The first season revolves around the disappearance of Will Byers, while the second season explores the repercussions from the events of the first season.[1] The upcoming third season will be focusing on "forces of evil that are new."[2]

Cast and characters

Main cast

Recurring cast


Seasons

Season 1

Main article: Season 1

Synopsis

When a young boy vanishes, a small town uncovers a mystery involving secret experiments, terrifying supernatural forces and one strange little girl.

Plot summary

November 6, 1983. Hawkins, Indiana...

Young Will Byers is cycling home from a disappointing "Dungeons & Dragons" campaign at a friend's house, when a terrifying figure suddenly appears... Will tries to escape and hide, but he is abducted... Will's friends Dustin, Lucas and Mike begin investigating his disappearance; while looking for Will in the local forest, the boys find a girl with a shaved head in a hospital gown, who they let stay in Mike's basement. They learn her name is Eleven, discovering she has psychokinetic abilities.

Will's mother Joyce becomes transfixed by supernatural events affecting the house electricity - she's convinced Will is communicating with her. As these strange events continue, she witnesses (and is threatened by) the same monster that took Will. Meanwhile, police chief Jim Hopper grows suspicious of the nearby national laboratory, and begins researching into the facility's shady history. Mike's older sister Nancy attends a pool party hosted by her new boyfriend Steve, begrudgingly accompanied by her best friend Barb. Jonathan, Will's brother, witnesses the events of the party, taking photos. While alone, Barb is abducted by the Monster.

Nancy becomes anxious about Barb's disappearance. Steve discovers and destroys Jonathan's photographs, but Nancy retrieves the fragments of a photo showing Barb, piecing them back together. She looks in and around Steve's house, searching for Barb - she briefly sees the Monster run through the woods.

What appears to be Will's body is discovered in a quarry, however Eleven proves Will is still alive, manipulating several radios to project the sound of Will's voice. Nancy realizes the monster is visible in Barb's photo. Jonathan realizes that Nancy's description of the creature matches his mother's: a humanoid figure with long arms and no face. They team up to learn more about the creature, in the hopes of saving Will and Barb. The two teens look around Hawkins, hoping to find the creature and potentially kill it.

The boys speculate about the supernatural events, before searching for a hypothetical gate to the other world, which they've now nicknamed "the Upside Down". A suspicious Hopper finds and cuts open Will's body, discovering it to be fake. He heads to Hawkins Lab and breaks in, finding Eleven's bedroom and the Gate before being knocked out by agents. He wakes up in his own home and finds it bugged.

Throughout the season, Eleven experiences a series of painful flashbacks to the experimentation conducted on her by Dr. Brenner at the lab. The final flashback shows Eleven's last test, in which she entered an altered psychic state. While in this frame of mind, she made contact with the monster, accidentally opened the Gate to the Upside Down. After sharing what they know, Hopper and Joyce track down Terry Ives, learning more about Eleven and Dr. Brenner. Meanwhile, the kids are pursued by Brenner and his team of government agents, narrowly escaping.

Joyce and Hopper return to Hawkins, sharing their knowledge of the creature with Nancy and Jonathan. Together, they contact and eventually find the kids. They formulate and execute a plan to enhance Eleven's powers at Hawkins Middle School, allowing her to psychically view Will and Barb without entering the Upside Down. Eleven discovers Barb to be dead and Will alive, hiding in Castle Byers, his makeshift fort. Hopper and Joyce break into Hawkins Lab to pass through the Gate and save Will, but are apprehended by security. Nancy and Jonathan resolve to kill the monster. In the Upside Down, the monster breaks through Castle Byers, taking Will.

Interrogated by Brenner, Hopper gives up Eleven's location in exchange for access to the Gate. Hopper and Joyce enter the Upside Down, discovering the creature's nest, where an unconscious Will has been strung up with a tendril extending down his throat. After detaching and killing the creature, Hopper and Joyce attempt to revive Will, and Hopper remembers the moment his daughter died - he's determined to spare Joyce from the same grief. Will is eventually revived, and the three return through the Gate.

Meanwhile, Nancy and Jonathan set up a trap at the Byers house before cutting their hands to attract the creature with their blood. Steve arrives, intending to apologize to Jonathan and Nancy following a previous argument. The monster attacks - although Nancy, Jonathan and Steve successfully injure and trap it, it escapes to the Upside Down. At the school, Dustin attempts to find food as Mike and Eleven share an intimate moment. However, agents arrive and storm the school, but Eleven kills many of them, crushing their brains. As Brenner recovers a weakened Eleven, the wounded monster, attracted by the bloodshed, enters the school and attacks Brenner. The boys escape with Eleven and hide in a classroom, but the monster finds and attacks them. Eleven pins the creature against a wall and says goodbye to Mike. In a painful and self-destructive act, Eleven dissolves the creature into a thick mist in which she too vanishes. Will is hospitalized and reunited with family and friends. Hopper is reluctantly picked up by a black government car.

One month later, Nancy has gotten back together with Steve, and they've both befriended Jonathan. Hopper leaves food in a concealed box in the woods. Will coughs up a slug-like creature in his bathroom sink and has a momentary flash into the Upside Down.

Season 2

Main article: Season 2

Synopsis

When terrifying supernatural forces once again begin to affect Hawkins, they realize Will's disappearance was only the beginning. And so the adventure continues…

Plot summary

In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a group of criminals killed a man. They flee in a van but are pursued by police. They escape from police when the group goes under a tunnel, where rocks fall and block the opening. However, it is revealed that the rocks were only a vision in the mind of the lead policeman. Back in the van, it is revealed that a woman named Kali, a member of the gang, has caused the vision. She is bleeding from her left nostril and we see a tattoo marked "008" on her wrist.

Back in Hawkins, the boys go to the Palace arcade, where they find that someone with the name "MADMAX" has beaten Dustin's high score in "Dig Dug" by over 100,000 points. At the arcade, Will experiences an "episode", where he finds himself in the Upside Down version of the arcade. In the episode, he sees a large "shadow monster". The next day at school, they meet a new student from California named Max, who immediately captures the affection of Lucas and Dustin. Dustin believes she is "MADMAX" but Lucas is skeptical. At Hawkins High, Max's stepbrother Billy arrives, and begins to compete with Steve for the title of "King". Will, who has been experiencing the episodes frequently, is taken by Joyce and Hopper to Hawkins Lab, where he is seen by Dr. Owens, the new head scientist. Meanwhile, Joyce has begun seeing Bob Newby, a classmate from high school and the manager of the local RadioShack. Nancy and Steve have been having regular dinners with the Holland family following Barb's death. Nancy, who is still grieving Barb's death, learns that the Hollands (who are unaware Barb is dead) are selling their house to afford to pay an investigative journalist named Murray Bauman to find Barb; Nancy feels responsible and guilty. Mike has been trying to contact Eleven for 352 days in a row after her disappearance, though unsuccessful. Later, Hopper goes to a cabin in the woods, where it is revealed he lives there with Eleven, who is alive.

Flashbacks show that after killing the Demogorgon, Eleven turned up in the Upside Down. She escapes through a portal and goes to see Mike at the Wheelers' house, but flees into the woods after seeing government agents at the house. More flashbacks show that Hopper finds her and sets up his grandfather's hunting cabin as a place for them to live. Back in the present, Eleven wants to go trick-or-treating, but is told "no" by Hopper as it is too dangerous. Hopper is called in to a pumpkin patch after reports of rotting pumpkins. Nancy wants to tell the Hollands the truth, but is persuaded out of it by Steve. They attend a Halloween party, where Nancy gets drunk and berates Steve, putting the blame for Barb's death on them and saying she doesn't love him. Steve leaves, upset, and Jonathan finds Nancy and takes her home. The boys go trick-or-treating and are joined by Max, who was invited by Dustin and Lucas. Will has brought Bob's video camera to record the experience. Will has another episode and tells Mike about the vision, but requests him not to tell anyone. Mike admits to Will that he has been unsuccessfully trying to communicate with Eleven. Eleven tries to contact Mike, who was also simultaneously calling her using his Supercom from the basement, but is unsuccessful. Dustin returns home after trick-or-treating to find a small, strange, slug-like creature in his trash can, which he determines is a pollywog.

Bob encourages Will to stand up to his fears. Nancy is able to persuade Jonathan to help her tell Barb's parents the truth. Hopper asks Owens to investigate the pumpkins. Dustin brings the pollywog to school, which he has now named D'Artagnan from The Three Musketeers novel. Will describes his episodes, and the boys conclude Dart is from the Upside Down. Dart escapes from the AV room, and the boys and Max scramble to find Dart. Mike, in the gym, gets into an argument with Max, as Mike is angry at Max because Lucas and Dustin want to bring her into the party. Eleven leaves the cabin to look for Mike, and interprets Mike's argument as flirting. She uses her powers to knock Max over and leaves. At the Byers house, Joyce discovers an image of Will's vision, including a vague outline of the shadow monster, on the video Will recorded while trick or treating. After seeing the tracing of the outline matches with a picture Will drew, Joyce goes to the middle school. Will finds Dart, but this triggers another episode, where he comes face to face with the shadow monster. Will follows Bob's advice and confronts the monster, but the monster forces a tentacle down Will's throat.

Will awakens from the episode to the concern of Joyce and his friends. Joyce takes Will home, but he begins acting strangely, and begins drawing scribbles on multiple pages. Joyce calls in Hopper, and they find the scribbles line up, which form a network of vines. Hopper recognizes an area and leaves. Nancy and Jonathan arrange a meeting with Barb's mother, but are caught by undercover lab agents. They are taken to the lab, where Owens shows the two the Gate to the Upside Down and admits Barb's death. He tells them they have been tapping phones (how they discovered Nancy's meeting with Barb's mom) to keep other governments from learning about the portal. When they are released, Nancy reveals she recorded the confession. At the cabin, Eleven has an argument with Hopper, and later finds his research into her biological mother, Terry Ives, and attempts to contact her with her powers.

Mike worries about Will and goes to check him at the Byers house after requesting Dustin and Lucas to search for Dart. Hopper goes to the pumpkin patch, where he digs a hole, which leads to a tunnel in the Upside Down. He becomes trapped and passes out. Will sees a vision of Hopper's state, but Joyce cannot figure out the meaning of the vision. She enlists Bob for help, as his nickname in high school was "Bob the Brain". Bob is able to identify the tunnels as a map underneath Hawkins, and is able to roughly locate where Hopper was trapped. Lucas tries to get closer to Max, but Billy warns her to stay away from him. At Dustin's house, he finds Dart has broken from his cage and ate his pet cat; Dustin then finds that Dart is a baby Demogorgon. Nancy and Jonathan go to Murray Bauman with the tape. Murray knows the public won't accept the story as-is (with monsters), but suggests watering down the story. Murray and Nancy decide to change the story to say that Barb died from toxins from the lab. Murray sends the tape to the Chicago Sun-Times (where he was previously employed). Lucas tells the events of last year to Max in an attempt to gain her respect, but she doesn't believe him. Dustin lures Dart to his storm cellar and traps him. He goes to the Wheelers' house to find any of the boys, even asking for Nancy, but none of them are there. On his way out, he runs into Steve, who is coming to apologize to Nancy. Dustin enlists Steve for help, and tells him to get the bat of nails from last season. They attempt to kill Dart, but instead find his shed skin and a tunnel dug. Eleven goes to Terry's house, where she is able to communicate with her powers. She gains Terry's memories of Eleven being taken at birth and Terry's attempts to rescue her before she was subjected to shock therapy. Eleven finds there was another girl at the lab like her. Joyce, Bob, Will, and Mike are able to rescue Hopper, but lab personnel arrive and blaze the tunnels with flamethrowers. When the fire is set, Will collapses in agony.

Will is rushed to the lab where he displays memory loss, unable to remember Bob or Hopper. Owens speculates that the shadow monster is like a virus that has infected Will and that any damage to the tunnels might be lethal to him. Nancy and Jonathan spend the night at Murray's, where he prods them about their relationship. The two later have a romantic encounter. Dustin and Steve decide to lure Dart to the junkyard, and Dustin calls Lucas for help. Lucas brings Max, and the four ready the junkyard to trap Dart. Max opens up to Lucas and explains Billy's attitude is due to his father marrying Max's mother. Dart appears at the junkyard with creatures identical to him, and the group learns that there are packs of them. The group hide in the bus, and Steve later attacks them with the bat, but the creatures all run away suddenly; Steve speculates they are going somewhere. At the lab, Will views pictures of the map taken by lab agents, and points out a location that the shadow monster wants to avoid. Owens sends in a team to investigate, but the pack attacks the team and enters the lab. They realize that the monster has been manipulating Will.

Meanwhile, Eleven goes to Chicago in search of the girl in Terry's memories, who is revealed to be the psychic girl from the events in Pittsburgh, a woman named Kali. The two connect, where Kali shows Eleven her powers. She explains to Eleven that her gang is attempting to kill the lab scientists who worked under Brenner for what they did to her, and introduces Eleven to the group. Kali tells Eleven to channel her anger, which strengthens her powers. The group goes to the home of a lab worker who performed shock therapy on Terry, who claims Brenner is alive. Eleven decides not to kill him after learning he has kids, and the gang is forced to flee. Eleven has a vision of Mike and Hopper in grave danger at the lab and leaves to return to Hawkins.

Back at the lab, the pack of Demodogs overwhelm the lab, killing many of the workers. Outside the gates, Nancy and Jonathan have arrived at the lab, and encounter Steve, Dustin, Lucas, and Max, who have followed the screams of the pack to the lab. Mike is able to convince Joyce to sedate Will. Mike, Will, Hopper, Joyce, Bob, and Owens flee into the security room, where they are trapped. The power goes out, and Bob, knowing how to reset the power, volunteers to do so. Bob successfully activates the power, and Owens stays behind in the room to guide out the group. Mike, Will, Hopper, and Joyce are able to escape to the lobby. Bob makes it to the lobby, but is caught and killed by the pack. The remaining four regroup with the others outside the gate and go to the Byers' house. The group deduces that the shadow monster is a hive mind controlling Will and the pack, and if they kill it, its influence on those they control will end. Mike, who previously deduced that the shadow monster is using Will like a spy, tells the group, who decide to remodel the tool shed so Will doesn't know where he is so the shadow monster cannot spy. Will awakens, where Joyce, Jonathan, and Mike share their fondest memories of Will in an attempt to get him to snap out of it. Will doesn't respond vocally, but taps out a message in Morse code, which reads "CLOSEGATE". However, the house phone rings, leading to the monster to identify their location. As the pack moves in, the group barricades themselves in the Byers' house, armed, but the pack is surprisingly dispatched by Eleven, who has returned to Hawkins. Mike and Eleven share an emotional embrace together.

The group briefly reunites with Eleven. When Eleven convinces Hopper that she can close the Gate, Mike points out that it may also kill Will. Joyce remembers something Will said about the monster in the lab, "he likes it cold", and decides to burn the monster out. Hopper and Eleven go to the lab to close the Gate. Before leaving, Eleven promises Mike that he will not lose her again. Meanwhile, Joyce, Jonathan, and Nancy take Will to Hopper's cabin. The group turns on the fire and heaters, and are finally able to purge the virus from Will after Nancy prods him with a hot iron. At the Byers' house, Mike, concerned about Eleven, convinces the group to burn the tendrils at the tunnels to distract the demodogs from attacking Hopper and Eleven. But Steve rebuffs the plan and refuses. Back at Billy's house, his abusive father reprimands him for losing track of Max, and sends him to find her. His search takes him to the Wheeler's house, where Mrs. Wheeler gives him Joyce's address. He goes there, where after a tense confrontation with Steve, goes inside. After seeing Max with Lucas still, Billy grabs Lucas, but Steve attacks Billy and they have a fist fight. Billy knocks Steve unconscious, but continues to punch him. Max grabs the syringe Mike brought from the hospital, and injects Billy with it, and threatens him into obedience with the nail bat. Max steals Billy's keys. Steve awakens in Billy's car, where Max drives the group to the tunnels. Steve and the kids enter, where they cover the heart of the tunnels in gas and ignite it. Since the tunnel is ignited, the Demodogs become distracted and return to the tunnel, leaving the lab unguarded and so, Hopper and Eleven enters the gate without facing any of them. Meanwhile, the kids go to leave, but encounters Dart. However Dustin is able to calm him down and the group escapes. When Eleven tries to close the Gate, the Mind Flayer senses her strength and sends the Demodogs to attack her. As Hopper defends Eleven from the swarming Demodogs, Eleven is able to channel her anger, and closes the Gate, killing the remaining monsters in the process.

A month later, the lab has been shut down by the government following the publication of Nancy's tape. The Hollands hold a proper funeral for Barb. Owens meets with Hopper in a bar, where he gives Hopper a forged birth certificate listing him as the father of "Jane Hopper" (Eleven). Steve drives Dustin to the Snow Ball, the annual Hawkins Middle winter dance, where he meets with the party. A slow dance starts, and Will is asked to dance. Lucas asks Max to dance. Dustin asks multiple girls to dance, but is rejected. Nancy, who is serving punch at the dance, sees Dustin alone and crying, and dances with him. Outside, Joyce talks with Hopper. Eleven shows up, where she dances with Mike. Lucas and Max kiss, and Eleven and Mike kiss right after. The students enjoy themselves at the dance, unaware that the shadow monster is still alive, towering over the school.

Season 3 and beyond

Main article: Season 3

In August 2017, the Duffers confirmed there will be a third season,[3] and on December 1, 2017, the series was officially renewed by Netflix for a third season with eight episodes.[4] Director and producer Shawn Levy revealed he and the Duffers begun planning a third season when the second season started filming. He said “We are not gonna be caught off guard and we don’t wanna be making stuff up like the day before we have to write it and make it, so we are definitely optimistic and we have started thinking ahead”.[5] The Duffers have said Season 2 "(lays) the ground work for further seasons", much like how Season 1 laid the ground work for Season 2. Unlike the previous seasons, Levy implies that Season 3 may be going in a different direction as it will both deal the consequences lingered in Season 2 as well as with newer forces of evil.

In January, producer Shawn Levy revealed that all of the characters' story lines have already been planned out, and confirmed that Will Byers will not be the main victim this season, and that the friendship between Dustin Henderson and Steve Harrington will continue.[6]He also revealed that Season 3 would take place during the summer of 1985, a year after the former season and added that the relationship between Mike and Eleven as well as Max and Lucas will continue. Moreover, he promised that Steve Harrington will have a much larger role.[6]

According to Levy, Stranger Things will last four seasons, and may possibly extend to a fifth.[7] Matt Duffer said he and his brother have an overarching story they want to tell and an ending they want to reach.[1]

Episodes

# Image Title Director Writers
1
The Vanishing of Will Byers S01-E01 SS 001
"The Vanishing of Will Byers" The Duffer Brothers The Duffer Brothers
On his way home from a friend's house, young Will sees something terrifying. Nearby, a sinister secret lurks in the depths of a government lab.
2
The Weirdo on Maple Street - school scene
"The Weirdo on Maple Street" The Duffer Brothers The Duffer Brothers
Lucas, Mike and Dustin try to talk to the girl they found in the woods. Hopper questions an anxious Joyce about an unsettling phone call.
3
Holly, Jolly
"Holly, Jolly" Shawn Levy Jessica Mecklenburg
An increasingly concerned Nancy looks for Barb and finds out what Jonathan's been up to. Joyce is convinced Will is trying to talk to her.
4
The Body S01-E04 SS 001
"The Body" Shawn Levy Justin Doble
Refusing to believe Will is dead, Joyce tries to connect with her son. The boys give Eleven a makeover. Nancy and Jonathan form an unlikely alliance.
5
The Flea and the Acrobat - the tank
"The Flea and the Acrobat" The Duffer Brothers Alison Tatlock
Hopper breaks into the lab while Nancy and Jonathan confront the force that took Will. The boys ask Mr. Clarke how to travel to another dimension.
6
The Monster - Nancy hides
"The Monster" The Duffer Brothers Jessie Nickson-Lopez
A frantic Jonathan looks for Nancy in the darkness, but Steve's looking for her, too. Hopper and Joyce uncover the truth about the lab's experiments.
7
The Bathtub - Joyce comforts Eleven
"The Bathtub" The Duffer Brothers Justin Doble
Eleven struggles to reach Will, while Lucas warns that "the bad men are coming." Nancy and Jonathan show the police what Jonathan caught on camera.
8
The Upside Down S01-E08 SS 001
"The Upside Down" The Duffer Brothers Paul Dichter · The Duffer Brothers
Dr. Brenner holds Hopper and Joyce for questioning while the boys wait with Eleven in the gym. Back at Will's, Nancy and Jonathan prepare for battle.
9
Chapter One - MADMAX
"MADMAX" The Duffer Brothers The Duffer Brothers
As the town preps for Halloween, a high-scoring rival shakes things up in the arcade, and a skeptical Hopper inspects a field of rotting pumpkins.
10
Chapter Two - Trick or Treat, Freak
"Trick or Treat, Freak" The Duffer Brothers The Duffer Brothers
After Will sees something terrible on trick-or-treat night, Mike wonders if Eleven is still out there. Nancy wrestles with the truth about Barb.
11
Chapter Three - The Pollywog
"The Pollywog" Shawn Levy Justin Doble
Dustin adopts a strange new pet, and Eleven grows increasingly impatient. A well-meaning Bob urges Will to stand up to his fears.
12
Will feels the shadow monster everywhere
"Will the Wise" Shawn Levy Paul Dichter
An ailing Will opens up to Joyce -- with disturbing results. While Hopper digs for the truth, Eleven unearths a surprising discovery.
13
Chapter Five -Dig Dug
"Dig Dug" Andrew Stanton Jessie Nickson-Lopez
Nancy and Jonathan swap conspiracy theories with a new ally as Eleven searches for someone from her past. "Bob the Brain" tackles a difficult problem.
14
Chapter Six - The Spy
"The Spy" Andrew Stanton Kate Trefry
Will's connection to a shadowy evil grows stronger, but no one's quite sure how to stop it. Elsewhere, Dustin and Steve forge an unlikely bond.
15
Chapter Seven - The Lost Sister
"The Lost Sister" Rebecca Thomas Justin Doble
Psychic visions draw Eleven to a band of violent outcasts and an angry girl with a shadowy past.
16
Chapter Eight - The Mind Flayer
"The Mind Flayer" The Duffer Brothers The Duffer Brothers
An unlikely hero steps forward when a deadly development puts the Hawkins Lab on lockdown, trapping Will and several others inside.
17
Chapter Nine - The Gate
"The Gate" The Duffer Brothers The Duffer Brothers
Eleven makes plans to finish what she started while the survivors turn up the heat on the monstrous force that's holding Will hostage.

Production

See also: Category:ProductionSeason 1#Production and Season 2#Production.

Conception

See also: Cultural influences and references and Montauk.

Growing up as avid movie fans, the Duffer Brothers were excited how television was going in a more cinematic direction, and they loved the idea of doing a long form movie.[8][9] When they started thinking out their ideas in early 2014,[10] they were initially inspired by the plot of the 2013 film Prisoners, which starred Hugh Jackman as a man searching for his missing daughters. Wanting the show to have something more, the Duffers began discussing “more childlike sensibilities”, like having a monster devouring people.[11] They became interested in a paranormal missing child storyline, which would be connected to versions of mysterious, real-life government experiments which took place at the tail end of the Cold War. They thought it made sense to set it at the end of the ‘70s or early 80’s and realized it allowed them to pay homage to the films they grew up with.[12]

Growing up in the suburbs of North Carolina, watching films made them feel like their normal lives had the potential for adventure, which was a feeling they wanted to capture with Stranger Things.[13] They aimed to return to a simpler style of storytelling and create something in the vein of the classic stories they loved growing up - such as films by Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter and Wes Craven, and the novels of Stephen King.[8] They have stated many times that “What made those stories so great and resonant was that they explored that magical point where the ordinary meets the extraordinary.”[9]

Two weeks after having the idea, they threw it away, thinking no one would let them do a TV show. They were invited to write on Wayward Pines and, taking lessons from that experience, wrote a pilot script.[10]

Development

The pilot script was brought to Dan Cohen, the vice president of production company 21 Laps Entertainment, in late 2014. He showed it to producer Shawn Levy, and within days they started talking about the project and how to bring it to the world.[14] The Duffers created a mock-trailer, where they combined clips from more than twenty-five classic films, including Carpenter and Spielberg movies, and added a John Carpenter soundtrack over it.[15] They also made a little notebook to help sell the show when pitching it with the cover aesthetically modelled after a Stephen King book.[16]

Being filmmakers, the Duffers were determined to approach the show as an eight hour movie and not have it feel like typical television which influenced their every key decision in the development process.[14] They did not want anyone else directing as they wanted the show to be unified in the same way a movie is.[17] The Duffers make emotional decisions leading with their heart, so when choosing the crew, they wanted to go with people who understood their idea and the show.[18]

Netflix was their first choice when looking for a production company and broadcaster as their format would give them the freedom to tell the story like an eight-hour movie.[17] With Cohen and Levy, the brothers pitched the show to Netflix in early March 2015. Netflix was very passionate about the show and bought the entire season within 24 hours of the first meeting.[14] Matt Duffer later stated “The dream scenario was always Netflix, so we’re very fortunate that we wound up there.”[19]

Originally, the show was set in Montauk and correspondingly titled Montauk because the twins always loved the idea of the coastal-town Amity feel in Jaws. As it would be impossible to shoot in Long Island during wintertime, production was moved from Montauk to Atlanta. The twins ended up falling in love with the idea that it was more Anywhere, USA, and it reminded them of their childhoods and homes, a world they inherently understood better than the coastal town.[12][20]

Music

Main article: Music

The Duffers always wanted the music to play a major role in the show, deciding very early on that they wanted an entirely electronic score. They were charmed by existing electronic soundtracks, as they were very modern and cutting-edge, while also inevitably evoking the sounds of ’80s music (most notably Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, and John Carpenter). The Duffers felt that having a synth soundtrack would do exactly what they wanted to achieve with the show: It would feel both modern and nostalgic at the same time. Some of the show’s biggest inspirations, such as E.T. or Jaws, feature a soaring, orchestral "John Williams" style score, so the Duffers thought that a synth soundtrack would play nicely against expectations.

The Duffers first discovered the synth band S U R V I V E when they heard one of their tracks in Adam Wingard’s film, The Guest. The Duffers reached out to the band and asked if they were interested. Two band members, Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, agreed to score the project. Kyle and Michael first started composing music in summer 2015, sending “sketch” tracks inspired by the characters, tone, and story.

Over the course of the year, over 13 and a half hours of music was accumulated from Kyle and Michael. Though not all of this music made it into the eight-hour first season, it gave the Duffers a huge library to pull from as they edited.[21]

Season 1's score was eventually released in two parts: Stranger Things, Volume One, and Stranger Things, Volume Two. Dixon and Stein have also worked on the score for Stranger Things 2 which was released on October 20, 2017.

Title sequence

Main article: Title sequence

The title sequence was designed by production studio Imaginary Forces. The first phone call between the studio and the Duffer Brothers was set up by Shawn Levy, where the Duffers spoke about what they were looking for. Imaginary Forces was sent the script for the first episode and started working on the titles before the show had started filming, which is fairly unusual for a TV show.[22]

In terms of design, the Duffers referenced Richard Greenberg, who had designed the titles for The Goonies, Altered States, Alien, The Untouchables and many others. For the font they were inspired by old Stephen King books and sent twelve different covers to Imaginary Forces. They felt that going back to the simplicity of Greenberg’s titles and the King covers represented the show well. The production team tested out several typefaces before deciding on Benguiat.[12]

Title Sequence - Early concept

Early concept of “Red.”

Imaginary Forces initially presented three different ideas; one was called “Missing,” which featured eerie scenes of abandoned toys; another was “Shadows,” which was type creating shadows or objects creating shadows with type. “Red” was the idea that eventually became the final product.  [22]

The production team for the sequence was a small one. They used Cinema 4D, but most of it was done in After Effects, with “tonnes and tonnes of layering.” For effects, they used elements of Lens Distortion 4K, which is real shot optical lens flares, and Gorilla Grail, which is real scanned 35mm film grain, which was also used in the actual film footage in the show.[22]

Technical aspects

Stranger Things was shot on a RED Dragon camera. Aiming for a vintage film look, colorist Skip Kimball employed many tricks, including adding a layer of scanned ‘80s film grain on top.[23][16]

Special effects

Main article: Special effects

The special effects in Stranger Things were achieved through a combined effort of practical effects and computer-generated imagery (CGI).

Reception

See also: Awards & Nominations

Stranger Things has received critical acclaims from critics and viewers alike. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gave the series an approval rating of 95% and 94% for Season 1 and Season 2 respectively, based on 40 reviews, with an average rating of 7.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Exciting, heartbreaking, and sometimes scary, Stranger Things acts as an addictive homage to Spielberg films and vintage 1980s television." On Metacritic, the series has a score of 76 out of 100 and 78 out of 100, based on 31 reviews and 34 reviews for Season 1 and 2 respectively, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[24] The series also currently has a score of 8.9 on IMDb.

Stranger Things has also received numerous awards and nominations for both seasons, including 18 nominations on the "69th Primetime Emmy Awards" as well as winning the 'Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series' for the first season.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "6 Things The Stranger Things Writers Told Us About Season 2" IGN. August 23, 2016.
  2. "'Stranger Things' Season 3 Is Further Along Than You Think" Glamour. January 22, 2018
  3. "Turned Upside Down The Duffer brothers thought they’d flamed out in Hollywood. Then they came up with Stranger Things.]" Vulture. August 20, 2017.
  4. "‘Stranger Things’ Renewed For Season 3 By Netflix" Deadline. December 1, 2017.
  5. "‘Stranger Things’ Season 2: Shawn Levy Confirms He’s Directing Again; Teases Season 3" Collider. November 8, 2016.
  6. "‘Stranger Things’: First Season 3 Details Revealed" The Hollywood Reporter. March 25, 2018
  7. "Stranger Thingswill likely go beyond 4 seasons, per producers" Entertainment Weekly. September 8, 2017.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "How Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter and Stephen King Influenced Stranger Things" IGN. July 7, 2016.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Stranger Things interview - Duffer Brothers on Netflix's new supernatural show" Irish Examiner. May 18, 2016.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "‘Stranger Things’: Creators Matt and Ross Duffer Reveal Plans for a Possible Season 2" Collider. July 31, 2016.
  11. 'Stranger Things': How Two Brothers Created Summer's Biggest TV HitRolling Stone. August 3, 2016.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 "Stranger Things’ Duffer Brothers on ’80s Cinema, Fighting Over Kid Actors, and How They Cast Winona Ryder" Vulture. July 15, 2016.
  13. "Stranger Things premiere: The Duffer Brothers introduce their new Netflix series" Entertainment Weekly. July 15, 2016.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 "Interview: ‘Stranger Things’ Producers on Influences, Marketing, the Possibility of Future Seasons and More" Slash Film. July 21, 2016.
  15. "Stranger Things episode 5: The Duffer Brothers on the perfect soundtrack" Entertainment Weekly. July 19, 2016.
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Stranger Things: the Duffer brothers share the secrets of their hit show" Empire. July 27, 2016.
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Netflix's Stranger Things: Shawn Levy interview" Den of Geek. July 15, 2016.
  18. "‘Stranger Things’: Shawn Levy & Dan Cohen on Working with Netflix and Season 2 Plans" Collider. July 21, 2016.
  19. "Durham’s Duffer Brothers land on Netflix" The News & Observer. July 9, 2016.
  20. "The Duffer Brothers Talk 'Stranger Things' Influences, 'It' Dreams and Netflix Phase 2" The Hollywood Reporter. August 1, 2016.
  21. "Stranger Things episode 5: The Duffer Brothers explain the show's soundtrack" Entertainment Weekly. July 16, 2016.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 "Stranger Things (2016)" Art of the Title. August 9, 2016.
  23. "Stranger Thingsepisode 4: How the Duffer Brothers were inspired by Stephen King" Entertainment Weekly. July 18, 2016.
  24. Stranger Things: Season 1