600 million views for last season, 65 nominations for the most prestigious awards, voted best drama series in 2017, actors rewarded for their performance … Since 2016, “Stranger Things” has been more than a success, it is a cultural phenomenon. One can not achieve such unanimity just with a good cast. The adventures of a band of pre-teens that the Duffer brothers imagined have certainly put Winona Ryder back in the saddle and exploded a talent, Millie Bobby Browns, but above all, they gather the elements of a plot that speaks to the biggest numbers .
First of all, by surfing the nostalgia of the 80s. How cozy and more comforting this decade looks to us, seen from the beginning of our anxious new millennium! Will, Mike, Dustin and Eleven take us back to the days of VHS, walkmans and walkie-talkies, the beginning of video games, the mule … where we were not tracked by the internet but where we got on our bikes was a promise about great adventures. The genius of the creators was precisely to sow references to the pop culture of the eighties – “The Goonies”, “ET”, “Poltergeist” – and stuffed the episodes with tributes to the worlds of Steven Spielberg, Stephen Kings, John Carpenters, Stephen King.
On this reality is superimposed another fantasy, the one where little Will is sucked, where dangerous supernatural forces mingle, populated by monsters and mysteries, then twists and turns galore. And in the midst of it, children reminiscent of “Le club des Cinq”, adept at solving riddles, driven by friendship and solidarity. In short, archetypes where adults are and their children project themselves, which helps to explain several generations of enthusiasm for this series.
The vintage and science fiction saga “Stranger Things” multiplies the reading grid to capture its audience. And if there is one more subtle level of decryption, it is the critique of American society through this magnifying mirror. “The Upside Down” created by a secret laboratory reflects the covert experiments carried out by the US government during the Cold War, Project MKUltra, an illegal experimental program, developed between 1953 and 1973, which aimed to weaken the human will to achieve a confession … The most important place for last season, the mall, the emblem of consumerism, and shown in its abandonment, makes us aware of the bankruptcy of the American dream …
More than a parade of episodes, “Stranger Things” has become a franchise in itself with its community of fans and its derivative products. A business that the giant Netflix intends to take advantage of by applying a major economic law: scarcity increases the price. The time seemed long for the fans: Since 2019, they had been waiting for this season 4. Well, the pandemic did not help, it put a stop to the recordings and then delayed it with all the headaches of the anti-contamination protocol. But the producers did not save on the funds – and we know that special effects cost a fortune: each episode asked for $ 30 million, making this season 4 one of the most expensive stories in the series.
As a reminder, three years ago, we left this enigmatic character deprived of his extraordinary powers. Eleven had left Hawkins with the Byers family to return to a normal life in California.
This season 4 plays on two main axes:
The Duffer brothers had fun entertaining their audience. They give a cinematic twist to their universe. The aesthetic patina is even more refined. Each episode is in itself a feature film that lasts more or less an hour and a quarter. Well, it gives time to install the atmosphere. And Upside Down is even more enveloping and terrifying. The creators hang another great reference here, namely “the claws of the night”. Also, who do we see in episode 4? Actor Robert Englund, who played Freddy, shows up. There is clearly an increase in mutilation and imagination.
The kids have grown up! Here they are in full teenage years, in a different environment, and with all the problems that this bubble of hormones presents. So we left Hawkins (but not its horrors, because the consequences of the secret lab experiments make their effects noticeable) for the California sun and for the college years and the famous “Spring Break.” You need to find a place in a clan, tame your puberty, make new friends on the basketball team. Fortunately, there are also nerds and Dungeons and Dragons fans at this school. And then the Student lost his extraordinary powers. The script digs deeper into the characters’ psychology, they become more fleshy than their acne, thank God! They are similar but different. Instead of playing a variation of the same theme, the creators intervene in the veins of change, and that’s interesting.
In short, one piece of advice: equip yourself with torches! Season 4 is divided into two parts, the second starts on July 1st with the last five episodes!