Netflix Needs A New Stranger Things And Soon

By Robert Scucci | Published

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With Stranger Things soon coming to an end, Netflix is going to have to scramble to find a new flagship series before they know it. While it’s a known fact that spin-off series within the Stranger Things universe are in various phases of development, I think that the franchise has aged out, and it’s time to break new ground. As a fan of the series, I don’t think that aging out is necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes it’s best to appreciate what has already been accomplished and try to do something new.

Stranger Things Made The 80s Cool Again

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When Stranger Things premiered in 2016, there really wasn’t a mainstream series that explored ’80s nostalgia in a satisfying way. In this context, the small town of Hawkins, Indiana, served a very important purpose in revisiting all of the tropes and cultural movements that gained a considerable amount of footing in the 1980’s. Nerd culture from this era was fully explored (Dungeons & Dragons gameplay being a prime example), as well as the music of Kate Bush and The Clash.

Stranger Things really drove home the point that punk rock and heavy metal were still thriving subcultures, but also acknowledged that mall culture was quickly starting to take over American suburbs.

Played With 80s Movie Tropes

The Eggo waffle saw a resurgence in popularity thanks to Eleven’s picky eating habits, and the first thing I thought about was how Reese’s Pieces were similarly marketed in 1984’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. In other words, even the use of product placement in Stranger Things is reminiscent of the intellectual properties it wants to emulate. From New Coke to new-wave music, Stranger Things was, and will continue to be, the ultimate ’80s throwback that our media landscape lacked before its creation.

But Stranger Things premiered nearly 10 years ago, so what’s next?

Move The Franchise To The 90s

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Since ’80s pop culture has been successfully revisited through Stranger Things, I think the next logical step is to lean into ’90s nostalgia. If you’re familiar with how music has been trending on TikTok and other social media outlets these days, you may have noticed that grunge and shoe-gaze music are coming back in a big way. It seems like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and My Bloody Valentine are more popular than ever, so there’s definitely an untapped market for a science-fiction series that ditches the scrunchies and leather jackets and instead celebrates the wonderful world of flannel and high-tops.

A Whole New Decade Of Material

That is to say, if we swap out the synthesizers with distortion-drenched guitars and reverberated vocals, the sonic backdrop for a potential new series is primed and ready to rip. Even The Simpsons retconned Homer and Marge’s high school days, suggesting they were children of the ’90s instead of the ’70s. Now that Stranger Things is approaching its final season, whatever series is destined to take its place would thrive if set in the following decade.

Sci-Fi Horror Will Always Be A Hit

Stranger Things also celebrates all the young adult tropes that we’ve seen before. The kids in Hawkins are, more often than not, smarter than all of the adults they interact with, with a couple of exceptions like Joyce Byers and Jim Hopper. It’s about time we level the playing field and not rely on younger characters to figure everything out, as Stranger Things has done.

I also need to point out that the Stranger Things timeline only covers a few years, but every high school-aged cast member has obviously grown up behind the scenes. For the sake of continuity and my sanity, everybody needs to be just a little bit older in this hypothetical new series.

As for what kind of story Stranger Thing’s successor should try to tell, I don’t think we necessarily need a carbon copy to fill the gap. If Netflix wants to make another attempt at a sci-fi horror series in the same vein, they’re certainly free to do so.

Stranger Things Meets The Early Internet

I’d personally like to see a series that skews to a slightly older audience and leans into the technological advances that occurred throughout the ’90s, like the early days of the internet. For instance, a group of college kids could hack into a government mainframe and stumble upon a controversial biological experiment that they shouldn’t have gained access to. In this context, a lot of the beats that Stranger Things is known for can be explored, but with a totally different vibe.

Imagine a series that embodies the same spirit as Stranger Things but plays out like an updated version of Hackers. By leaning into a ’90s aesthetic with older central characters and updated technology, Netflix can have a new hit series on its hands.