Ever since its debut five years ago, the hit Netflix show Stranger Things, created by twin brothers Matt and Ross Duffer, has become a global phenomenon. It has had an immense pop-cultural impact as it has not only succeeded in triggering nostalgia about the good old 1980s but also managing to resurface the sci-fi genre as a burgeoning phenomenon. An ode on the part of the Duffer brothers to the ’80s, the show is based in Indiana, Hawkins, where a bunch of kids race around on their bicycles trying to find their missing friend when they come across a girl with telekinetic abilities. In a world where the dysfunctional adults are in a state of constant disarray due to corruption, the children encounter pervading threats from various species while encountering inter-dimensional travel.
The series has had an undeniable impact on the course of the streaming giant’s history and helped see a surge in revenues. The series comprises a body of talented actors, including the likes of Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Noah Schnapp, Finn Wolfhard, Winona Ryder, David Harbour and more, who play a wide range of characters with unimaginable emotional depth and passion. The series is evocative of the sci-fi genre when it brings in parallel storylines as well the inevitable dangers of Upside Down that affect the lives of the Hawkins residents.
Self-proclaimed Stephen King aficionados, the Duffer brothers were originally interested in directing a remake of It, but after their proposal had been turned down, they decided to write a romantic ode to King’s ’80s universe, containing elements that resonated with their childhood experiences. The classic dichotomy between good and evil as well as responsible and brave children juxtaposed to distressed adults form the crux of the story. Besides resuscitating the sci-fi genre, the show derives heavily from the ’80s in terms of time travel, failed science experiments, monsters and more. Besides vivid imagery, the show also pays tribute to classic pop culture and music by including a background score filled with the sound of synthesisers and other stringed instruments to evoke the ominous atmospheric feeling.
The shooting sequences for the show have been pretty interesting. From creating the sensory deprivation tank with nearly 1200 pounds of Epsom salt to creating a robotic Demogorgon with “unpredictable and bizarre patterns” of the petals moving, the show makers have gone to extreme lengths to make the experience otherworldly for the viewers. While including the science experiment as a testimony to the dangerous and secretive Montauk project of the United States, the show provides a sense of escape and adventure from the daily drudgery of the mundane reality we are trapped in. From being a commentary on social roles and values in a family and other relationships to exposing the world of adults that is filled with hypocrisy, betrayal, envy and rage, the show is weirdly imaginative and realistic.
The Duffer brothers were always interested in sci-fi films and books such as Ghostbusters and Star Wars and thus managed to paint a wonderful picture of the “utopian” decade that reflects the elements of their childhood and successfully manage to captivate audience attention who can feel themselves fetting transported into the dreamlike grungy aesthetics of the 1980s.
By incorporating elements of humour, emotional rollercoasters, familial problems, quirks, and sinister horror, stellar performances, superb cinematography, and sublime landscapes help transport the viewers into an otherworldly dimension that evokes the nostalgia of 1980s adventure and madness.
Below we have listed the pictures from the sets of Stranger Things that show the sheer hard work and effort that goes into conceptualising such a brilliant show.