The Creation and Success of Stranger Things

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This premier episode of Stranger Things, “The Vanishing of Will Byers”, begins in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana. Taking place on November 6th, 1983, a running guy is trying to escape an unknown creature which winds up attacking him. At the same time, Will Byers, a young boy, is playing the final round of a game with his three friends, Lucas, Micheal, and Dustin at Micheal’s house. After having to end the game early because of a school night, the boys then head home. While returning home on his bicycle Will is all of the sudden encountered by a creature, to which he rushes home, to an empty house, and soon after that abruptly disappears. 

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The next morning just before getting ready to leave, Will’s mother, Joyce and his older brother Jonathan, notices he’s not home after looking for him throughout the house. Because of this Joyce starts to get concerned as Will doesn’t typically do this, she then contacts the police office, Jim Hopper the head police officer. After meeting and talking to one another, Joyce believes that there’s something severely wrong with Will, as this is unlike is character, but Jim assures Joyce that everything is alright as in his four years experience of working in Hawkins nothing bad has happened to anyone.

As Joyce continues to look for her son, Jim asks input from Wills’ three friends on if they know where he might be. After finding Wills’ bike in the woods Jim forms a search party in hopes of finding him. However on the other side of things, armed men search a building finding the place where the creature came out of. Furthermore, a young girl wearing a hospital clothes then steals food from a restaurant, but then gets caught owner. Although angry at first the owner, Benny, feels sympathy for the girl because she is extremely hungry and looks abused, therefore he askes her questions to get know who she is and what’s going on with her. At first the girl just eats and doesn’t responds to Benny but after grabbing her arm to get her attention he sees small tattoo on her arm that says Eleven. After asking the girl about the tattoo she finally speaks out saying her name is Eleven. But after finally getting to know her name someone knocks on the door, after opening the door, a woman stands there saying she is looking for Eleven. After letting her inside the restaurant she ends up shooting Benny, killing him. Once killed, many men enter the diner searching for Eleven, but she escapes from the back after, leaving two men on the ground appearing to be dead.

Later on, while looking at pictures of Will with Jonathan, Joyce receives a hazy phone call. After listening to the sound from the phone she believes it is Wills’ voice, and that someone has taken him. Soon after yelling for the unknown person to identify themselves the phone then loses power leaving both Joyce and Jonathan in disbelief and sorrow. And at the same time, Micheal, Lucas and Dustin then decide to look for Will in the woods themselves as that is one of there best friends, but after going looking they find a girl soaked from the rain, Eleven.

The creators of Stranger Things, The Duffer Brothers, Matt and Ross, haven’t created much else besides writing episodes for Wayward Pines and the film Hidden. Hidden, a horror film they created in 2015, the same release year as Stranger Things. Hidden is a movie about a family that takes refuge in a bomb shelter to avoid a dangerous outbreak. But after being hidden and save for 301 days, something above has discovered them, coming for them. And Wayward Pines, being a television series, about two federal against going missing, other agents going to find them. All of the Duffer Brothers creations having a common theme of mystery, between people going missing and others setting out to find them and an unknown creatures coming after people. But unlike both Hidden and Wayward Pine, Stranger Things, has a more fantasied theme staring young kids as the main characters. Allowing it to be displayed how young kids cope with conflicts within their life. Young kids being the main characters also allows an increase in audience as it brings in younger viewers, as they can relate more to what is going on, even with it being a fantasied show with creepy elements to the plot.

The sole characters of this premiere episode, “The Vanishing of Will Byers”, being the young boy Will Byers who went missing, and the young girl Eleven who mysteriously appeared. Will, the central character of the episode, is a nice good-hearted young boy. From his action of not lying about the ending result of him losing the game while the others lied shows that he is an truthful person regardless of what situation arises. Him having this type of character attracts viewers even more after being found missing as they feel like such a bad thing shouldn’t happen to such a good kid. Therefore although early in the episode viewers are now already hooked on what’s going on, or what will happen next. Just like Will, the young girl Eleven is also a character who adds meaning to the story. Eleven already being portrayed as a quiet abused child who is extremely hungry, and has a look that draws in viewers, hospital styled clothing with no shoes and a shaved head. The audience are thrown a little out the plot, now not only worrying about what is happening to Will, but now also who is this girl and where did she come from. All aspects that that cause one to want to watch more, in order to find out the truth about what is really going on.  

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