Christmas has come early for Hawkins.
On December 1st, Netflix announced on Twitter that its popular sci-fi original series was renewed for a third season.
Since airing its massively successful first season, Stranger Things has received five Emmy awards with 18 nominations, as well as an impressive 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Variety reports. It has also received two Golden Globe nominations and won the Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series award at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards.
The confirmation of season three has fans reeling with excitement and wondering what’s in store for our favorite Indiana residents. But what is it about the show that draws in fans of all ages while also becoming the second most-watched original series on Netflix with an impressive 15.8 million viewers reportedly watching the first episode of season two within the first three days?
Why Do You Love Stranger Things?
After speaking with a few fans of the series, nostalgia is what stood out from the pack. Viewers who were teenagers in the 1980’s, specifically, feel drawn to the series because it allows them to travel back in time to those high school years. The hair, music, cars, and clothes are all a spot-on replica of what being an American teenager during the 80’s was like for many fans.
Parallel to the time period, viewers also recognize the important plot point that the 80’s had a certain lack of technology that would make it harder to know what your kid was up to, allowing a “certain freedom to explore” as one fan said. Being a kid in the 80’s has also been reflected well in the series with those close-knit friendships and that sense of exploration (without a parent being able to use GPS to track you).
The young group of characters that lead the charge in uncovering government conspiracies and protecting each other from the creatures waiting to pounce from the Upside Down is a very strong aspect of the series. Fans love seeing how those characters interact with one another, how they rely on each other, and how, no matter the conflict, those bonds only get stronger.
The Duffer Brothers maintain an intelligent focus on character above all else. As another fan pointed out, there may be a wonderful genre flair to the show but the “crux of the story” perpetuates something “very wholesome and tangible,” not only with the relationships the kids have with one another, but that overall feeling of family (chosen or otherwise) and friendships in the story.
The entire cast is incredible and there is a character that every fan can either relate to, cheer for, or love to hate. All of them bring compelling nuances and elements to their roles that make it easy to enjoy even the worst antagonist. The cast is just as fun off-screen, such as David Harbour, for example, who plays a key adult character, Chief of Police Jim Hopper. Harbour has established a very interactive social media base with fans on Instagram and Twitter, and he’s not afraid to poke fun at himself or show endless support for his castmates.
Obviously, what really makes the show work is the well-structured balance of all of these components. There’s something for everyone: A familiar (see: Stephen King) yet unique science fiction plot, friendship, family, suspense, humor, heart, government conspiracies, terrifying monsters, a bit of romance, and even Dungeons & Dragons. Particularly this year with Eleven meeting her “sister” Kali (or “Eight”), the Duffer Brothers have also offered controversial yet experimental episodes, or moments, that have given their own fresh perspective on characters that are still evolving.
As time moved on and the characters grew another year older, Stranger Things did a considerable job not only handling the character development and conflict of established favorites, but introducing new characters in the second season as well. Bob Newby is a superhero, Max is most definitely in, Steve is our breakout hero of the season (and best babysitter on the planet), and new bully, Billy, has some malicious tendencies (stemming from an abusive father) with a “sinister” darkness that still we have yet to see, according to Dacre Montgomery, who says that “we’ve only had a taste of Billy.”
Personally, I would love to see the Mind Flayer possess Billy in season three. A malevolent entity taking over a teenager with something dark already within him makes for an intriguing combination of two beings that might be too interesting to ignore. The creature certainly wouldn’t experience as much resistance occupying Billy’s mind as it did with Will.
Season two closed out with a view of the Mind Flayer lurking in the Upside Down and promising another eventual attack on the town. The big question is, will the Shadow Monster ever succeed in physically crossing over into Hawkins as it has tried to do? Or will it continue to find vessels to infect in order to possess them? Also, what other monsters are waiting in the dark that might be released on the group next year?
Fans will also be waiting to see if new and old faces will make an appearance in the upcoming season. Specifically, Kali, whose introduction might have been a foreshadowing of El running into the rest of her “siblings” down the road.
The overarching collective journey – as well as the individual paths – that Eleven, Mike, and the rest of the characters are on will always keep us coming back, especially with how season two ensured a great deal of potential for what happens next.
Are you ready for another session of epic Stranger Things binge-watching? What would you love to see happen next season?