There are many of us who at some point in the not-so-distant past of the last decade thought to themselves in these early summer months, “Thank god it’s summer and I don’t have to be a slave to my TV any longer.” Then came DVRs and online streaming and the idea of no longer being a slave to TV became more feasible but was still made easier in those summer months by a lack of programming. But we’ve come a long way from flipping between Survivor and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in the summer months.
In fact, with the advent of a short springtime TV season, featuring shows like Game of Thrones, there’s now a gaping sort of void felt by TV watchers as summer begins. But TV networks are happy to step up and take advantage of this thirst for engaging summer content. This summer alone we’ve got Outcast, American Gothic, a second season of Mr. Robot,O.J.: Made in America, and Orange is the New Black just to get us started on small screen watching. But what will be the show to define our summer and unite TV watchers? None seems more promising than Netflix’s Stranger Things.
Check out the new trailer:
From Matt and Ross Duffer — the guys who contributed to last summer’s super mind bendy Wayward Pines on Fox — Stranger Things is a supernatural mystery thriller about a young boy, Will, who goes missing from a small town in 1983. Starring Winona Ryder (yaaas!) as the boy’s mother, we can tell from the trailer that the show really focuses on Will’s best friends who go looking for him and find someone else instead. Someone with serious secrets.
In a summer full of promising dramas, comedies, and endless reality shows, Stranger Things has the potential to be the TV show that gets us all talking this summer. Here’s why:
Summer Belongs to the Kids
Even though the weather warms up and more of us take vacation time in the summer months, lets be honest, summers are for kids. Which isn’t to say, the adults can’t play either, but we get a serious dose of nostalgic dopamine by watching children explore the fleeting freedom that is summer vacation. Stranger Things doesn’t appear to take place in the summer, but its focus is clearly on Will’s friends and the risks and measures they take to find out where he disappeared to. Just watching these kids go full Goonie for their friend takes away some of the regret of not getting to have mid-week slumber parties anymore.
It’s All Kinds of Spielberg-ian
Know what else belongs in the summer? . The man basically invented the “summer entertainment event.” Forget festivals and state fairs, what unites an entire country (and these days multiple countries) are movies and television. When in 1975, he introduced the world to what a summer blockbuster could be, heck, what a summer worldwide event could be. The Stranger Things trailer is dripping with Spielbergian elements.
Hazmat-suited villains, cute little girls in overalls, blanket forts, and a hurried getaway via bicycle. Sound familiar? These could practically be shots out of Spielberg’s most famous heroic-kids-save-the-day movie, E.T. It too was a summer film with a June premiere date in 1982 — just a year before Stranger Things takes place.
Even more snippets of the trailer look like scenes out of Minority Report, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, and even War of the Worlds. Is the show about monsters? Aliens? Government conspiracies? All of the above? Spielberg’s having a bit of a resurgence at the moment with The BFG’s release, and we’re hot for anything that reminds us of him.
The ’80s Are A Nostalgic Enticement
Not sure what the phenomenon is where those born in the early years of a decade are forever obsessed with the pop culture of a set of years they were barely old enough to experience, but it’s a thing. I myself was born in 1983 and can’t get enough of all things ’80s. Not only is this show set in 1983 (SUCH a good year) but it features Winona Ryder as Will’s frantic mother. She may not look like the ’80s outcast teenager we first fell in love with, but getting to watch grown Winona living in the ’80s is a great way to have our cake and eat it too.
Plus, did you see the poster (below) for the show? It doesn’t get more ’80s than that.
What gives Stranger Things even more virability is its release via Netflix. Unlike other summer shows we’ll have to make time to watch between picnics, camping and beach visits, all 8 episodes of the show will be available immediately. Which means no matter the speed you want to watch, the entire story can be discussed and dissected quite quickly or savored over time. Of course, as always, beware spoilers all over the internet. Though isn’t internet chatter all part of the fun? Being a part of the buzz may almost be as much fun as watching the show itself.
Stranger Things debuts on Netflix on July 15.
Do you think the show will be Summer 2016’s TV hit?
MP Staff Writer, lover of all things fantastical and spooky. “Only the meek get pinched. The bold survive.” – Ferris Bueller