Do be­lieve the hype: re­turn of Stranger Things has world the edge of its seat

Sunday Herald - - CULTURE NEWS - SPE­CIAL RE­PORT BY SARAH McMULLAN

TRUMP in the White House, Brexit on the news, nat­u­ral dis­as­ters sweep­ing the planet, and the threat of nu­clear war stalk­ing the world ... you’d be for­given for think­ing that we are al­ready liv­ing in the “Up­side Down”.

Sadly, we’re not. But per­haps that’s why view­ers across the world have found them­selves drawn in their mil­lions to the weird es­capism of Stranger Things – the hit Net­flix show in which a group of all-Amer­i­can kids dis­cover an al­ter­na­tive re­al­ity known as “the Up­side Down”. Luck­ily, we will all be pay­ing a visit to this weird world again soon, as Stranger Things gears up for its re­turn this Fri­day, just in time for Hal­loween.

Net­flix has cre­ated a wor­thy list of orig­i­nal pro­grammes over the past few years, but Stranger Things was the un­likely sci-fi num­ber that out­shone big names such as House Of Cards and Or­ange Is the New Black. There was lit­tle hype around its pre­miere, but the qual­ity of the show proved ir­re­sistible to the mod­ern au­di­ence who live to binge, cap­tur­ing the imag­i­na­tions of peo­ple for whom the clas­sic 80s movie The Goonies – one of the show’s in­spi­ra­tions – will al­ways elicit a nos­tal­gic sigh.

The thrill of the first se­ries de­rived from its ex­pert ref­er­enc­ing of pop cul­ture. View­ers looked for­ward each week to the 1980s ref­er­ences the showrun­ner Duf­fer brothers – twin thir­tysome­things Matt and Ross – would stir into each episode, prov­ing that nos­tal­gia rules and the world can never have enough ET ref­er­ences.

This sea­son looks to be no dif­fer­ent with the few teasers re­leased so far man­ag­ing to give very lit­tle away, while build­ing mys­tery and hyp­ing up fans across the globe on so­cial me­dia. The on­line buzz was kicked off by a short 30-sec­ond ad­vert dur­ing the Su­per­bowl which set Net­flix back a cool $5 mil­lion. A homage to the 1980s movie poster fol­lowed. Twelve of the main char­ac­ters ap­pear on fly­ers that looked like they could have adorned the bed­rooms of your av­er­age 1980s kid. Sev­eral Stranger Things T-shirts even ap­peared on the Louis Vuit­ton run­way ear­lier this month, in­clud­ing im­ages of the iconic cast of child char­ac­ters: Mike, Dustin, Lu­cas and Will and, of course, El, played by Mil­lie Bobby Brown, com­plete with skin­head. The t-shirts were a huge hit for Louis Vuit­ton.

Fans replied en­thu­si­as­ti­cally to the of­fi­cial Twit­ter

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