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Entertainment & Media

The Enigma That is STRANGER THINGS

By Alain Deen

Volume 2 Issue 7

June 13, 2022

The Enigma That is STRANGER THINGS

Image provided by Stranger Things

A Cultural Phenomenon

Figure 1 – Stranger Things Viewership In relation to Netflix Subscription Rate – Business Insider

Stranger Things rose to prominence in July of 2016, gaining massive popularity throughout its years on the popular streaming service, Netflix. The show’s 80s and melodramatic nature are its most pertinent appeals. The series seems to appeal through a generational lens, as adults fawn over the nostalgic instances of 80s culture, underscoring their sheer nostalgia for that era. In terms of youth, the series presents a compelling rendition of 80s culture, allowing teens to explore their parents’ culture. While most teens cringe at their parents blasting The Clash’s 1982 hit, “Should I stay or Should I Go” at 11 PM on a random Thursday, Stranger Things broke this trope, presenting this song to a new generation of listeners in a smooth, introspective fashion. In short, the series proves to be an integral portion of late 2010s and early 2020s culture, as its levels of popularity have set a new standard for digital streaming surface. To further preface this feat, the show’s third season reached unprecedented levels of popularity. Within four days of release, 40.7 million Netflix accounts viewed Stranger Things 3, amassing global popularity in a matter of days. It broke the record for Netflix’s largest-ever audience for a movie or TV series in a four-day window.

Ironic Success

Stranger Things has risen to be the fourth most popular Netflix series ever. Stranger Things 3 has been streamed over half a billion times, demonstrating its global appeal across a generational lens. However, with all of this success, it is worth noting that the series may evolve into a victim of its own success. The Duffer Brothers crafted something astute in nature. The show’s witty dialogue, heartfelt character interaction, and compelling subplots account for its success. Furthermore, the series has reached record feats of popularity due to its lovable characters, introspective acting, intricate cinematography, and retro aesthetic, underscoring the notion that replicating such success may prove very challenging for the Duffer Brothers. Many fear that the fourth rendition of the series may ruin the unique and compelling nature of the earlier seasons. In other words, one bad season may tarnish the Duffer Brothers’ million-dollar franchise, along with the young actors put on a pedestal due to the show’s success. After the third season, it was widely believed that there was no further direction for the series to head, even though it left viewers on a rigid cliff hanger.

Why a Season 4?

In most cases, audiences tend to remember the one lackluster rendition of a series in contrast to the artistic prowess facilitated by the more successful installments. Interestingly enough, this occurred with the Shrek Franchise. While Shrek 1, Sherk 2, and Shrek 4 were critically acclaimed films by audiences alike, Shrek the Third ruined the franchise for many, proving to be a cheap money grab in contrast to a compelling, structured story as seen with the first two films. This generated a lot of resentment toward the creation of a fourth film. However, DreamWorks created the fourth with the intention to promote well-structured storytelling, highlighting its success. Stranger Things might face a similar fate. Due to the record-breaking success of the third season, along with the slew of profit generated, many fans fear the Duffer Brothers announced a new season on the basis of profit in contrast to genuine storytelling. In my opinion, I believe the Duffer Brothers have another great season of supernatural storytelling in store.

My Rationale

As season four, was set to release on May 27th, 2022, fans had been awaiting the new season for about three years. Interestingly enough, the Duffer Brothers have taken a different approach this season in their debut schedule. Within season four, there are two volumes. Volume I was set to release on May 27th, 2022, while Volume II was set to release on June 1st, 2022. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic delayed production, creating a sense of restlessness among fans and viewers. However, due to the artistic prowess and creative integrity that the first three seasons provided, I believe it is very unlikely for the fourth season to be merely a money grab. If the Duffer Brothers prioritized profit over artistic integrity, Stranger Things 2 would not hold up in 2022. Overall, I believe season 4 will be something straight from the upside down. I expect plot-twists, shock, and of course my traditional binge watch session.

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