Stranger Things is a Netflix Original Series. Set during the 1980s, it is in many ways an homage to the many different sci-fi and horror films from that era, particularly those directed by Steven Spielberg or based on the books by Stephen King. While Netflix policy is not to release viewing statistics, they have acknowledged this as one of their most popular shows. The story is set in a fictional town called Hawkins, Indiana, where a nearby government lab is hiding a dark secret. Soon a monster appears, coinciding with the disappearance of Will Byers, a local boy, and the appearance of Eleven, a mysterious girl with psychic powers. This article will go through what happened in the first season and when can we expect the second season of Stranger Things on Netflix.
Release date on Netflix: July 15, 2016
Creators: The Duffer Brothers (Matt and Ross Duffer)
Runtime: 8 episodes of varying length, but averaging about 50 minutes each
IMDb Rating: 8.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95% for both critics and audience
The plot kicks off when a twelve-year-old boy named Will Byers (played by Noah Schnapp) is attacked by a strange creature while walking home from his friend’s house; the audience sees the monster grab him, and then both disappear. From here, the series diverges into three main storylines, which connect to each other more as the first season goes on:
The adults: Upon realizing that Will is missing, his mother, Joyce (Winona Ryder), contacts the local sheriff, Jim “Hopps” Hopper (David Harbour), who is still haunted by the death of his own daughter years ago. Though he initially suspects that Will just ran away, Hopper begins to find signs of something sinister, especially as more strange events begin to happen around town. Meanwhile, Joyce begins to see strange phenomena that she believes are caused by Will, even as mounting evidence seems to point to his death. The two eventually team up and begin to investigate the local Department of Energy lab outside of town, which seems to be covering up what really happened.
The kids: Also investigating Will’s disappearance are his three friends: Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo). While searching for him in the woods, they instead find a strange girl who calls herself Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), whom they dub “El” for short. After Eleven escapes from the lab, she has little understanding of the outside world. One of the fascinating things about her is her psychic ability, which ultimately leads to finding Will. She bonds with Mike, while Lucas remains suspicious of her and Dustin tries to play peacekeeper within the group.
The teenagers: Will’s older brother Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) is also desperate to find him, while tentatively developing a friendship with Mike’s sister, Nancy (Natalia Dyer). Nancy is secretly dating the school’s popular jock, Steve (Joe Keery), but becomes more involved with the town’s mysteries when her own best friend, Barbara (Shannon Purser), disappears as well. Jonathan and Nancy team up in the hope of finding their missing loved ones, which is a very interesting plot line from the series Stranger Things on Netflix.
Eighties aficionados will recognize a certain amount of The Goonies in the kids’ plot, and some typical teen drama with Nancy and Jonathan. According to the creators, most TV networks wanted to cut out the kids’ plot and focus mostly on Hopper. This is why they eventually chose Netflix as the show’s provider.
The first season ends on what could have been an ambiguous but satisfying finale for the most part.
Much to the fans’ delight, the second season of Stranger Things on Netflix is set to come out on October 27, 2017; two or three more are expected eventually. Eleven is confirmed to be in season two, despite the first season’s finale leaving her fate unclear.
Some interesting casting notes: minor character Terry Ives, implied to be the mother of Eleven, is played by double amputee Aimee Mullins, despite the character not being disabled; she is only shown sitting down to hide Mullins’ prostheses. Also, Gaten Matarazzo has cleidocranial dysplasia, which inhibits teeth growth, so this was written into Dustin’s character.
Is Stranger Things on Netflix?
Stranger Things is only available on Netflix and currently streaming in all countries which have access to this service.
While you wait for the second season to premiere on October 27th, make sure to check out the other good series on Netflix that are currently available for streaming, as well as our list of the best Netflix original series of all time, together with House of Cards, Narcos, Orange is the New Black, and many more!
Fun fact: There is also a video game, Stranger Things: The Game, available for free download on iOS and Android. It bridges the gap between the first and second seasons and sees the player collecting Eggo waffles (Eleven’s favorite food).
Stranger Things is an excellent series for fans of science fiction or horror, with a great mystery, dark tone and poignant characters. Come on down to Hawkins and get caught up before the new season comes out. Just be careful; the Demogorgon is not always forgiving.