Stranger Things: A Homage to the 1980s

by TeElle Carlson
Social Media Manager

The year is 1983 and in the little town of Hawkins, Indiana, 12-year-old Will Byers has mysteriously vanished without a trace.

As his mother Joyce, brother Jonathan and Police Chief Hopper desperately search for him, his friends Dustin, Mike and Lucas decide to start an investigation of their own. During their search, the group of boys find a young girl named Elven with psychokinetic powers. She just escaped from the government testing lab outside of town and claims to know where Will was taken. The answer to Will's disappearance is more dark and ominous than the boys could ever imagine.

Drawing Inspiration

Stranger Things is everything one could hope for in a science fiction thriller. It pays homage to the great works of Steven Spielberg and Stephen King as well as encompassing themes of friendship, mystery and adventure like in E.T and The Goonies. Also, brings a touch of government conspiracy theories, leading a search for the truth and (possibly) aliens like in The Thing and Firestarter.

Stranger Things is praised for many things, but especially its spot-on portrayal of 1980s pop culture. Hundreds of sci-fi films, books and television shows captivated the imaginations of kids and young adults alike, making it the most popular genre of the decade. Stranger Things’ chilling monster, the Upside-Down dimension and a girl with other-worldly powers create the perfect 1980s sci-fi atmosphere.

True to '80s Style

Before cell phones and social media, many kids spent their days doing anything besides looking at a screen. Playing board games like Dungeons and Dragons was a way for kids to use their imagination and have fund with their friends. For anyone who as already seen Stranger Things, we know what an important role Dungeons and Dragons plays in the show. Not only were the boys obsessed with the game, but it was also used as a communication tool between them and Eleven.

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The friendship between Dustin, Mike and Lucas mirrors that of The Goonies. A strong sense of imagination and a love for adventure is what bonds these boys together. True to '80s style, they are the group of underdogs who end up saving the day.

Who better to star in a '80s-inspired tv show than Winona Ryder? The actress quickly became an icon with roles in Beetlejuice and Heathers. Playing the role of Will’s mom, Joyce, Ryder gives the show a concrete connection to the 1980s.

It is easy to see why Stranger Things is arguably Netflix greatest original series yet. The fast pace of the show quickly grabs viewers attention and the short 8-episode first season is the perfect time frame to hold that attention and not drag anything out. The season finale leaves us full of questions and more than ready for season 2.

Whether you are a fan of science fiction or not, Stranger Things is sure to have you hooked before you finish the first episode!