If there could be such a thing as “watercooler TV” in this age of downloading and binge-watching, then right at this moment Netflix’s strange brew Stranger Things is surely it.
With nostalgia currently the most precious commodity in entertainment, this 1980s-inspired spooky sci-fi series has arrived like manna from the heavens for audiences longing to return to the simpler times of their childhood. For these children of the ’80s (now well into their 30s and 40s), the pop cultural reference points are treated as sacred (the pantheon including Hughes, Lucas, Spielberg and, for horror fans, King, Carpenter and Craven) so it comes as no surprise that the series makes virtue out of the sheer amount of sly and not-so-sly allusions it makes to classics from the era.
The warm nostalgic hit is prolonged, too, by the casting of ’80s poster children Winona Ryder and Matthew Modine in the show’s central roles.
With the series becoming a breakout smash, audiences are already looking ahead for the next instalment. But, like a well-spun Stephen King yarn, mystery surrounds the production of a second series. Fans have speculated that producers intended Stranger Things to form part of an anthology, a la True Detective, but series-creator Shawn Levy has recently announced his desire to continue the story that’s been set in the first eight episodes.
For fans still wanting to bask in the series’ retro glow, an official soundtrack will be released in the coming months. Taking inspiration from the synth-heavy masterworks of John Carpenter, Vangelis and Giorgio Moroder, the soundtrack will provide that direct hit to audience’s nostalgia system.
Here’s hoping the second series appears in the not-so-distant future, so that we can be transported back to that not-so-distant past. Chris Prindiville
‘Stranger Things’ is available to stream on Netflix.
View the opening titles for the show above.