5 Reasons Why 'Stranger Things' Is The Show We Need Right Now
Updated: Sep 15, 2019
***Contains Spoilers – oh well.***
Stranger Things is the top streaming show on Netflix despite releasing a new season for a year. Why does it remain at the top? Why does the fan-base wait? There’s just something more about it than the killer soundtrack, than the font we’ve all seen way back when, than the atmosphere it creates that leaves us wanting more.
Everything We Love About the 80’s
I have to admit, the 1980’s was the cheesiest generation: pink windbreakers, teen pop, hairstyle routines that are responsible for ruining the ozone layer. However, there’s something striking about it. It seems like an outlier to all of the other generations before and after it. It was the tech boom where video games brought us into another world. Films like E.T. and Back to the Future dragged us into the theories of time and space along with something else being out there. It was a time where the outrageous and simplicity collided.
Strangers Things takes everything we loved about the 80’s avoiding the cornball factor completely: the synth soundtrack, the styles, and the hopping on your bike to ride and hang out with your friends. Technology doesn’t interfere with the simplicity here, yet it forces it’s way in through Hawkins Lab and creatures that spew out from it.
The show continues to fuel our nostalgia while asking a question from the 1980’s that many films conjured: “Is there some other world we can communicate with out there?” It remains on our minds today. Stranger Things keeps the content relevant while simultaneously feeding throwbacks to the era.
Badass Female Characters
Eleven, Nancy, Joyce, Maxine, and even Barb, are pretty badass characters. Each of them make decisions in the show without assistance from anyone and, in some case, lead the storyline for a bit.
Eleven, who one would think is just a little, defenseless girl, is the driving heroine force – literally. The force she creates with her telepathic powers leads the story and the male characters who need to follow her in order to save Will Byers. She is the key.
Nancy, a quiet and smart girl who just wants to be popular, surprises us. After the death of her best friend, Barb, she unleashes her inner hero and seeks for the truth to what is actually happening in Hawkins with the motivation to avenge her BFF.
Joyce, the concerned, chain-smoking mother of Will Byers, demands answers and she won’t stop until she gets them. Sure, she may seem a bit crazy hanging lights around her house to communicate with a parallel universe, but she does it for a damn good reason. She joins, more like compels, Hopper to keep searching for her son. Ultimately, her badass motherly instinct carries this story.
Maxine, a tough, little spitfire, can’t help her curiosity for what ‘the boys’ are doing – and she wants in. Her persistence, personality, and unconventional style for the time period make her just as strong as the rest.
Even though we didn’t have the chance to know Barb for long, she proved to be courageous by telling Nancy out loud how she felt about the popular crowd. If she was given the chance, I’m sure we would’ve seen Barb rise to her potential as a member of the gang saving Hawkins. #JusticeforBarb.
The male characters in the show are given props as well. Steve Harrington turned out not to be a total a-hole. In fact, he evolves into a guy who cares about the kids. Jonathon, Will’s big brother, is also a softy, especially for Nancy. It seems as though the characters have switched generic societal roles. Allowing the strength of these female characters to flow and drive parts of the show, especially for the time period, is exactly what we need.
It isn’t customary for a show to have many strong female and tenderhearted male (yet still strong) archetypes, but Stranger Things is making them just that.
Not Just Another Drama
Genres like science fiction, occult horror, and thrillers aren’t at the top of the list for viewership. The Walking Dead was the first ever show in the horror genre to reach the top on television. Besides The X-Files, there’s really not too many that ever had as much viewership as dramas. Stranger Things places the drama in the back seat while it takes us for a nail-biting, thrill inducing ride through The Upside Down; another dimension that spikes our curiosity and has us on the edge of our seat waiting for the Demogorgons to reveal themselves.
Youth Taking Charge
Many films of the 80’s, mostly from John Hughes, put the spotlight on the coming-of-age theme. From The Breakfast Club to The Goonies to Stand By Me, these films display parents as disinterested automatons, or ‘the people that have yet to understand you.’ In this case, the youthful characters of Stranger Things take charge and seek out justice since the parents sit and wait for the problems to disappear.
There will always be that generational gap between the youth and those currently in charge of the world. However, Stranger Things pushes the realization that ‘kids’ can and will do what they feel is right. Check out track 2 of the Season 1 soundtrack. It’s titled ‘Kids.’
The quintessential theme in Stranger Things is friendship. The group of kids and adults like Joyce Byers and Hopper, go through rough patches and heart-to-hearts just as we all do. Remember the days of grabbing your bike and riding around with your pals? Remember not having cell phones and actually talking face-to-face with your friends. Remember playing board games and hanging around outside?
There’s something about that – something about the simplicity of just hanging out with your friends and knowing that they got your back. We gravitate toward that small hometown camaraderie and we love seeing it come to life on screen.
As Eleven and Mike say, “Friends don’t lie.” The trust that the characters place in one another and how they band together for what is right is exactly what we need right now.
Good friends are hard to find, especially ones that would risk their lives in another dimension just to save each other and their hometown.
What are some reasons you think so many of us have an affinity for Stranger Things?