Stranger Things was one of the most talked about series this summer. According to Business Insider, it is one of the most popular Netflix originals of all time, with 8.2 million people watching it in the first 16 days.
The show is a science fiction horror series that pays homage to classic 80s TV shows and movies, such as E.T., Stand by Me and X-Files. This is perhaps one of the most admirable aspects of the show. They get everything right: the products, hairstyles, fashion and music.
Set in the early 1980’s, Stranger Things follows residents of Hawkins, Indiana on a supernatural journey that begins with the disappearance of 12-year-old Will Byers.
The first episode kicks off with a group of scientists being attacked by an unseen creature that sounds like a demon, then suddenly, viewers are brought into a basement where four boys are playing a game of Dungeons and Dragons. After the boys are forced to end their game and get ready for bed, one of boys, Byers, is shown riding his bicycle back home.
Byers falls off his bike and is soon chased by the creature from the first scene. The unknown creature remains offscreen, leaving viewers wondering, what the hell just happened? A question that viewers will find themselves asking constantly as they make their way through the season’s eight episodes.
A central theme that this show explores is America’s faith in the government. At first, the characters seem to have complete faith in the government, not questioning a single thing that they do, even if it seems odd. It’s not until people start disappearing and getting killed that some of the townspeople of Hawkins begin to wonder if the government is hiding something.
The show’s depiction of the government correlates with the way Americans perceive the government in the present: that is, corrupt and secretive. Every time a monumental occurrence takes place, people want answers, and much of the time all government officials can give are loose ends. People are then left to speculate and if people are really determined, like the show’s protagonist, they will go the distance and try to unveil the secrets they believe the government is keeping from them.
This aspect of the show is not only interesting and relatable, but it is what makes the show captivating. The theme creates an air of mystery and is scary in the sense that it makes you question whether or not the government has come in contact with other life forms outside of Earth.
What is also great about the show is that nothing pans out the way the viewer would expect it to. The show doesn’t play into the norms other television shows do. The guy you think will win the girl doesn’t. A character you think will be important will die. You can try to predict what will happen, but chances are you’ll be left completely stupefied.
The government conspiracies and plot twists make this show worthwhile. There is really no way to explain the sweet intensity that is this show without giving out spoilers, so go watch it.