It’s not that surprising. With pop-culture’s incessant need to reflect on its own past achievements, a retro-gaze show like Stranger Things felt sort of inevitable. Twelve months later and with the Duffer duo prepping an eagerly anticipated second season little seems to have changed, although whether or not it’ll be gobbled up as ravenously by fans remains to be seen. If the show’s marketing push is anything to go by, Stranger Things has delved deeper into pop-culture regression than any of its scrawny cast ever dared delve into the shadowy Upside Down. It raises the question: how long can the show rely on self-aware nods in place of original tone-setting?
Just look at the marketing materials Netflix has put together for their new slew of episodes. We’ve had old-school character posters, complete with paper-fold creases photoshopped in for that authentic video-store feel and four promo images riffing on iconic movies like Stand By Me and Alien.
To be fair, ‘riffing’ is being a bit generous, it’s more like straight-up replicating - imitation may be the most sincere form of flattery to some but to others it could be seen as straight-up plagiarism. Hell, those Duffers have even recruited 80s icons like Goonies leader Sean Astin and Aliens bloke Paul Reiser to help hit their nostalgia point home in season two. Whatever your opinion, the thought remains: why won’t Stranger Things tease us with something new instead of playing on our collective love of movie geekery?
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