This summer, Netflix released Stranger Things, an eight-episode season that became one of the newest overnight obsessions.

“It was very nostalgic because it felt like a lot of TV programs and movies of the 80s,” said third-year PhD student, Ashley Hufnagel. Hufnagel also compared the show to Stand by Me and Twin Peaks, which are just two productions the Duffer Brothers, the show’s creators, paid tribute to.

Among some other 1980s tributes were The Goonies, Steven Spielberg’s E.T., and a variety of Stephen King novels. Stranger Things successfully blends horror, romance and the paranormal into one show, which takes place in a rural Indiana town in 1983.

Throughout the first season, the main characters try to find Will Byers, who went missing after a game of Dungeons & Dragons in the pilot episode. It is revealed he was taken by a monster, dubbed the Demogorgon. The monster also takes Barbara, a girl in town whose disappearance goes virtually unnoticed. As the season progresses, the audience learns more about the monster and the parallel universe in which it originates.

A girl called Eleven, who has telekinetic abilities, is befriended by Mike, Lucas and Dustin, who are looking for their friend Will. Eleven’s powers aid the group in finding Will in the Upside Down parallel universe.

The search for the missing boy is hindered by the state government when it tries to convince members of the town that Will died and Barbara ran away. The government is also looking for Eleven because she is the key to their psychological experiments.

In the season finale, Will is rescued from the Upside Down, Eleven destroys the Demogorgon and most of the “bad people” she was running away from are dead. The episode was action-packed and thrilling.  I was surprised and heartbroken when Eleven disappeared with the Demogorgon because it meant the end of the beginning of her friendship with Lucas and Dustin. Even more heartbreaking was the end of a possible relationship with Mike, after he asked her to the Snow Ball — the school’s winter formal.

Despite being absolutely terrified throughout most of the show — I scare easily — I was disappointed that the season had to end. I wanted to know more about the characters, how their lives changed and the gate that seemed to still be left wide open. I felt I was left with more questions than answers — and I wasn’t the only one.

“What happened with Eleven?” Jenna Abrams of Frederick, Md., asked. “How is Hawkins Lab connected to the Upside Down? Why is Will coughing up slugs?”

One theory that Hufnagel considered was that the slugs Will is coughing up are monsters and he is now the host.

Another question that fans, like freshman Audrey DeMaso, have is, “What about Barb?” This sub-character disappeared early in the first season and was found in the Upside Down, but she was not rescued from the parallel universe.

Netflix announced on its Twitter account that a second season of Stranger Things will be released sometime next year, taking place during the fall of 1984. In the trailer posted on Aug. 31,  the names of the nine upcoming episodes were revealed. The producers and cast have not released more details on the next season, leaving viewers without answers until next year.

Featured Photo Credit: Featured photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Talia Dennis is a freshman multiplatform journalism major and can be reached at tdennis1@terpmail.umd.edu. 

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