Netflix Series Stranger Things Looks Like It Owes a Major Debt to Spielberg's 1980s Thrillers

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Kids on BMX bikes cruising misty suburban streets at night, Hazmat suit-clad figures with flashlights, a pigtailed blonde moppet, a wide-eyed boy, a desperate mother ... all that appears to be missing from Netflix’s new series Stranger Things is a lovable, candy-obsessed alien, otherwise it’d be E.T.

Ok, there are a few distinctions. Winona Ryder plays the frantic-yet-taking-no-bullshit-from-the-cops mother, and there’s clearly going to be some kind of nefarious organization that’s using children for some mysterious, possibly supernatural purpose. That character with the shaved head and the spooky tattoo that you see in the trailer below is a little girl with what seems to be some big secrets.


Here’s what Netflix says about the show:

Set in Hawkins Indiana in the 1980’s, Stranger Things chronicles the search for a young boy who vanishes into thin air under highly suspicious circumstances. His mother (Winona Ryder) opens an investigation into the boy’s disappearance with local authorities that unravels a series of mysteries involving top-secret government experiments, terrifying supernatural forces and one very strange little girl. A love letter to the ubiquitous cult classics of the 80’s, Stranger Things is also a coming of age story for the boy’s three closest friends that draws them into a world where mysteries lurk beneath the surface.


We’ll be able to discern July 15—when Stranger Things begins its eight-episode run—whether or not it has its own merits beyond worshiping at the altar of 1980s Steven Spielberg (and, looks like, 1980s Stephen King, too). As for relevant bona fides, creators Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer previously worked on episodes of Wayward Pines, while executive producer Shawn Levy (Reel Steel, Night at the Museum) is planning a remake of John Carpenter’s Starman.

[Collider, Deadline]