Why I Loved "Stranger Things"

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Streaming services can be both a source of inspiration and information for writers, but also a way for us to procrastinate at our finest! This past fall, after finishing a large project, I told myself I was finally going to binge the Netflix original series “Stranger Things,” since people had been talking about it for a few years and I was starting to get a case of FOMO (fear of missing out). The funny thing is, while a lot of my kids’ peers had been watching the series, neither my son nor daughter could really get into it. (Sometimes I feel like I’m the only teenager in the house, and I’m 43). My son would actually wander into the room while watching the show (usually at the scariest parts) and quickly scoot back out.

There was so much to love about the show. The first season begins with the disappearance of Will Byers, after he and his friends spend a chill evening together playing Dungeons and Dragons. An unexplained disappearance in a small town that also has its fair share of supernatural events centered around a national lab performing experiments for the United States Department of Energy? That was enough to hook me, a person who didn't miss an episode of “The X-Files” back in the day. I won’t give any spoilers, but the second and third seasons continued with the “mysterious happenings” theme. The featured actors that starred in movies that came out when I was a teenager were a big selling point (Winona Ryder, Matthew Modine, Paul Reiser, Sean Astin, Cary Elwes, to name a few). The show had different threads that appealed to both my husband and I (mystery and suspense for me, science fiction for him, and everything 1980s nostalgia for both of us). It also had cleverly woven in humorous throughout, like the clip below about one of the characters coming out as a “nerd.”

I connected with so many of the characters in the show, from the telekinetic “Eleven” with her kickass abilities to her childlike innocence, to Nancy, the teenager torn between her popular high school boyfriend and the brooding older brother of the missing boy. I also love to write about teenage characters, and I found it interesting that the creators of the show originally pitched "Stranger Things" to around 15 different cable networks, who all rejected it because of the emphasis it had on the child/teen characters in the midst of a paranormal mystery. They wanted it to either be a children’s show or a show solely focused on the police chief focusing on the paranormal events, not both. Netflix finally stepped up and bought the first season for an undisclosed amount. This gives me hope for a lot of my own work, which also centers around teenagers and paranormal events/mysteries.

Who else has watched “Stranger Things?” Did you develop the affection for it that I did? I’m excited for Season Four, which is currently in production.

Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer and magazine editor who lives in North Carolina. Learn more about her at FinishedPages.com.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Renee--I have friends who froth at the mouth over Stranger Things, yet I've managed to avoid it.

Perhaps it's time my avoidance comes to an end?

Myna said...

I loved Stranger Things. The kids/teens were fantastic, & the 80s feel was spot-on. Fun.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

I'm in the same boat as Sioux. I think someone in the house has season 1. Maybe he will finally let me borrow it.

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