Stranger Things: the Horrors and Comedy of the Series

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Created by Matt and Ross Duffer, the science fiction Netflix Original Series, Stranger Things, is one of the most talked-about shows within the last three years. The first season began in July of 2016 and its current third season in July of 2019, Stranger Things has continued been a popular series from the start. Within the first month of releasing the first season on the streaming platform, attracted around 14 million viewers, making it the third most-watched season of a Netflix Original. However, season three broke viewing records for Netflix when 40 million households watched the show in its first four days. The show that is loved by millions originated because of the sibling duo, The Duffer Brothers, and their love for Steven Speilberg and Stephen King.

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The Duffer Brothers learned the hard way about the difficulty of pitching a show to different networks. They prepared a script, similar to the pilot episode and a 20-page pitch book full of images, footage, and music from classic 1970s and 1980s films in order to establish the tone of the series to the executives. The fifteen cable networks that rejected their show found that a plot centered around children would not work unless it were a children’s series. However, in early 2015, Dan Cohen, the vice president of the production company, 21 Laps Entertainment, purchased the rights to the show while rightfully giving full ownership to The Duffer Brothers. Netflix purchased the whole first season after reading the pilot episode, with The Duffer Brothers, Levy, and Cohen all as executive producers.

The episode is set around the 1980’s in the small rural town of Hawkins, Indiana, Stranger Things follows a time when the nearby Hawkins National Laboratory is performing secret experiments into the world of the paranormal and supernatural. While the laboratory was conducting experiments on human test subjects, they were also creating a portal to an alternate dimension, “the Upside Down.” The Upside Down starts to affect the local residents of Hawkins The Byers family is affected directly when the mother, Joyce, loses her son, Will when a creature abducts him from the alternate universe. With the help of local police chief, Jim Hopper, they work together to find Will. In addition Eleven (El), escapes the labrotory adn helps Will’s friends, Mike, Dustin, and Lucas to find her. Throughout the three seasons, the main characters, Mike, Dustin, Luke, El, Joyce, Hopper, Joyce’s son Jonathon, Mike’s sister, Nancy, Steve Harrington, and the new residents of Hawkins Max and Billy Hargrove, continue to be affected by The Upside Down and the creatures who have escaped. 

Will Byers is one of the main characters of the show and plays the most significant role of the plot as he is missing throughout the entire first season. As he is stuck in this crazy world and trying to communicate back to his family, he has to face the terrifying creature that took him. While he is in The Upside Down, his friends and family are trying to search for him. When he was rescued he continues to have a connection to the alternate universe in the upcoming seasons. Will is more than just a boy who got sucked into The Upside Down; he is tremendously kind and often puts others before himself. In the episode “The Mind Flayer” from season two, his mother, remembers when Will gave away his toy in order to help a girl feel better. He is always there for his friends or even strangers, hoping to make everyone feel cared for and loved. His sense of caring is why he waited so long to tell his family and friends about the visions he was having in season two, so they would not be worried about him.

Joyce Byers, Will and Jonathan’s mother, before leaving for work one morning, Joyce could not find Will; Joyce goes into a panic and files a missing person’s report with Police Chief Jim Hopper, who assured her he was probably just playing hooky from school. During the next few days, she gets glimpses of communication from Will through the static of the phone or with the lights in her house. Even though everyone was saying that she was going crazy and having a mental breakdown, Joyce stood by her beliefs that Will was not dead. With the help of Hopper, Will’s friends, they rescue him from The Upside Down. Joyce she is very cautious and protective of her sons. She is a tremendously caring mother who would do anything to protect Will and Jonathon. This is shown when she continued to fight to find Will even though everyone was doubting her. Through this determination she was able to force the Mind Flayer out by exposing him to an extreme amount of heat.

Eleven (El), is the main protagonist of the series. She was born as a test subject at Hawkins Lab. Because of her mother’s circumstance, Jane (Eleven) was born with psychokinetic abilities and was immediately abducted by Dr. Brenner. The abduction was covered as a miscarriage, so there was no birth certificates or any paperwork of Jane’s existence. During an eavesdropping experiment, a gate between their dimension and The Upside Down was opened. During this chaos Eleven escaped the lab and fled into the woods. There, she was found by Mike, Lucas, and Dustin. After discovering her abilities, the boys had her help find Will. Throughout this season, she faces another threat, the Mind Flayer. With the help of her friends, she defeats it. At the end of the season, Hopper adopts her, and she becomes a part of the family. During the third season of the series, the Mind Flayer reappears to stop El and takes over other people’s minds in Hawkins, to grow stronger). During the fight, El loses her powers and feels defeated. Following Hopper’s death, she is taken in by the Byers family and they move out of Hawkins.

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