In recent years, Netflix has proven itself adept at creating shows that blow the competition out of the water. With the recent successes of shows like Jessica Jones, audiences have kept a close eye on what Netflix is planning next. In the summer of 2016, several titles are slated for release, but none sound so promising as the upcoming Stranger Things.
For lovers of creepy science fiction classics like The X-Files, or location-based dramas that highlight local flavor (think of Bloodline), Stranger Things could be the summer event to catch. This miniseries features Winona Ryder as Joy, a single mother to Mike (played by Finn Wolfhard), a bullied young boy who wants to save his best friend, Will. When Mike disappears, Joy, along with the local chief of police (played by David Harbour from The Newsroom), sets out to discover what happened.
But things aren’t what they seem in the small Indiana town. Will, Mike’s doomed best friend, isn’t exactly “normal” for a child in the 1980s. Horrifying supernatural forces are at play, and it all seems to revolve around a strange little girl, played by Millie Brown from BBC’s Intruders.
Other characters in the show include Mike’s friend, Lucas (Caleb Mclaughlin), Joy’s teenage daughter, Nancy (Natalia Dyer), a funny young classmate named Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and Will’s older brother, Jonathan (Charlie Heaton). Together with Joy, the chief of police, and the mysterious girl, it sounds like Stranger Things could have its own Scooby-Doo gang in the making – if one that works with frighteningly real disappearances, rather than villains in silly masks.
The show is directed by Shawn Levy, and written by the Duffer brothers, who are co-producing along with Karl Gadjusek, Shawn Levy, and Dan Cohen. Thanks to the buzz of Winona Ryder’s casting, Stranger Things has drawn the attention of many hopeful TV critics; however, it’s the unique blend of small-town drama, supernatural horror, science fiction, mystery, and homage to 1980s classic movies, that has viewers anticipating the show.
By choosing to mix genres, and highlight more than just horror, Stranger Things may find a home in the hearts of a wide audience. The direction by Shawn Levy has made many a critic pause; his best work is Night at the Museum and The Internship, hardly the creepy vibe that most are hoping Stranger Things can nail. Additionally, the Duffer brothers are still reeling in the shadow of the largely failed Hidden from 2015.
But to help hesitant viewers look past the names behind the scenes, Netflix released promo stills of Winona Ryder’s character, Joy, in one of the creepiest shots of an upcoming release we’ve seen: dressed in a silky halter top, with a martini close at hand, Joy is lovingly looking into the eyes of a grinning puppet, her finger stroking his chin intimately. If that’s not enough to make you wonder just what is going on in Stranger Things, nothing else would.
The show will be released into eight one-hour episodes, and will air on Friday, July 15 worldwide.