Netflix original series brings back 80’s sci-fi fantasy genre

Asia Porter | Online Editor

A boy vanishes. A girl uses her mind as a weapon. A monster comes out from a mysterious world. Stranger things have yet to happen.

Supernatural fiction series Stranger Things has followed in the footsteps of the Netflix Originals, such as Orange is the New Black, House of Cards and the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, to gain national and student attention.

The drama begins in Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers, when a child’s bike is found abandoned in the forest, and the boy mysteriously disappears. Fictional town Hawkins’ Chief Hopper said 99 out of 100 times, when a kid goes missing, the kid is either with a parent or relative. Stranger Things is the story of that other time. The plot follows three boys, Mike, Dustin and Lucas, who decide to take matters into their own hands and go looking for their friend, Will, without the help of the police.

Junior Lily Carroll said her favorite part of the series is seeing the chemistry between the three friends unfold in their search for Will.

“I started watching a week or two ago, and I’ve watched the whole season,” Carroll said. “A lot of people were suggesting that I watch it, so I finally said ‘Ok’. My favorite part is probably the dynamic between the three kids. It’s just three kids having fun and going around and fighting monsters.”

In Chapter Two: The Weirdo on Maple Street, a new character is thrown into the mix. Her name: Eleven. Mute, dressed in a hospital gown, her head shaved bald, her name a number, the arrival of Eleven solidified the stranger things to come.

When viewers are first introduced to Eleven, they see a variety of flashbacks of her being tested on by men in black suits. Hooked up to brain monitors, scientists observed Eleven in a series of tests including her attempt to crush a can through psychokinesis.

Senior Amani Ashraf finished the first season of the show in four days and said she appreciated how creators of the show blended science with the supernatural.

“I liked how they blend sci-fi with fantasy,” Ashraf said. “A lot of it was based on science, but since it was explained by 12-year old boys, they had many Dungeons and Dragons and Star Wars references. So, the fact that they could blend fantasy and sci-fi together pretty seamlessly was cool.”

Junior Mallika Madugula joined the fandom after hearing all the buzz surrounding the show.

“I got into the show because of the amount of people talking about it,” Madugula said. “I definitely wasn’t the type of person waiting for it to be released but after I heard a ton of people talking about it and all of the memes on the internet, I thought that it was a pretty good show to get into. The reason why I like the show so much is because of how unique it was and how it combined an 80s theme with futuristic aspects.”

To younger audiences, the show is a fresh take on science fiction, the supernatural, and mystery, but to adult viewers, such as Government and AP American History teacher Katie Post, the show creates nostalgia due to its similarity to popular 80s hits.

“I always tell people that want to watch it, ‘Well it’s kind of like the Goonies meets E.T.,’” Post said. “You’ve got the Goonies aspect, which was like a bunch of younger kids kind of going on this adventure or investigating and just that childhood interest of finding something out. Then you’ve got that E.T. part of it with obviously that whole sciencey extra-terrestrial possibility part to it. Everyone loves the Goonies and everyone loves E.T. because it’s a classic, so together it’s a great show.”

As the show develops, what initially seems like a fun psychological power with which Eleven can crush cans is quickly realized to be much more dangerous, and the disappearing of more characters builds suspense and mystery into the plot line.

The series has been picked up for a second season, which is set to debut sometime next year. Producer Shawn Levy has teased that viewers will see a whole new level of craziness in season two but assured the original authenticity of the show would still be present. The news of a second season excited Ashraf, Carroll, Jagtap, Post and fans around the nation. Post said the show is able to reach such a wide audience because it has something in it for everyone.

“I think first and foremost those kids are adorable and I think anyone that watches the show for one episode is gonna find them super adorable and want to watch those kids, because they do a great job,” Post said. “The parents probably know who Winona Ryder is–the mom–so that probably brings them in. It’s just this whole idea of it’s not a scary TV show, but it’s got that thriller aspect with open-ended questions. It’s just intriguing.”

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