Stranger Things is smashing records, and we think we know why

This will be a *spoiler free* breakdown of the wildly popular streaming series Stranger Things – to get right to the point, there will be no in-depth discussion of plot, characters or cast.

What? How to discuss a show without discussing…well…the show?

Instead, this is intended as a meta analysis of the television phenomenon itself, and will hopefully shed some light on why your kids just won’t stop talking about it.

The bewildering success of Stranger Things seems to hinge on a few factors: the dynamics between the instantly beloved characters, the high strangeness of the sci-fi elements, and the intense nostalgia trip that the series evokes.

To condense it down into a single (albeit compound) sentence: Stranger Things follows a group of children and their families as a mysterious series of events rocks their small 1980s town, uncovering government conspiracies and otherworldly interference. All of this is punctuated by driving synth music and an exclusively 80s soundtrack, old school video games and pop culture references, and horrific Lovecraftian cosmic dread.

Think of it sort of like E.T. meets Stephen King’s IT, plus one of the kids has superpowers and also there are interdimensional portals.

It’s quite the sauce. And everyone’s crazy for it – for totally understandable reasons.

Firstly, When the show premiered in 2016, the series protagonists were 12 years old. Over the next six years, they aged up with the audience, who were growing right alongside these characters as they triumphed over evil.

Second, none of the families in the series are perfect – there’s plenty of divorce, death, alcoholism, and trauma to contend with. Despite the sometimes-harrowing and often serious subject matter, there’s no shortage of humor. This extends into the community, which has grown to become like their own family.

Stranger Things has attracted some wildly talented fans to match their wildly talented cast – it somehow escaped the tendency for an explosively popular series to grow a toxic fanbase. Instead, the supportive and enthusiastic folks that are obsessing over the 4th season are contributing art, videos, music and more to the growing lore.

What do you make of the record-breaking series? Are you intrigued enough to check it out with your kids?

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