To pay homage to some of their favorite works!
The Duffer Brothers developed the series as a mix of
investigative drama alongside supernatural elements portrayed with
horror, science fiction and childlike sensibilities. Setting the
series in the 1980s, the Duffer Brothers infused references to the pop
culture of that decade while several themes and directorial aspects
were inspired primarily by the works of Steven Spielberg, John
Carpenter, and Stephen King, as well as anime and video games. They
also took inspiration from strange experiments that took place during
the Cold War and real world conspiracy theories involving secret
And as a matter of opinion, the following article attempts to point out why they think it was strategically brilliant move.
One of the most unique aspects of the series is its detailed
commitment to the 1980s setting. But the '80s context presented is not
merely an artistic throwback -- it is, in fact, strategically critical
to the storyline and the success of the show. Having watched “Stranger
Things”, one may consider the many reasons why creators did not set
the story now in 2016:
Let’s address the main issue that definitely would have thrown the
“Stranger Things” writers for a loop: cell phones. Today, it is so
easy to get in contact with someone -- a quick phone call would have
saved the characters of “Stranger Things” a lot of trouble. With
iPhones, you can send a text and know the second that someone gets it
thanks to read receipts. Family and friends would know immediately
that something was wrong when all phone contact was dropped, or if
they used a GPS mobile cell locator. If the series was set today,
writers would have constantly had to pull their hair out over finding
new ways to say the cell phones died or got left behind to make the
plots plausible and suspenseful.
It appears that parents today are much more overprotective than the
parents in “Stranger Things”. In the show, a child not coming home
after school one night is not a cause for immediate alarm. Not being
in constant contact was simply expected during the '80s (see above).
Other authorities were also presented as more relaxed compared to
today’s standards -- kids were able to ditch classes all day without
the school notifying parents. Families were well-intentioned but
completely oblivious to the young kids’ actions, which allowed for the
storyline to progress as it did. The level of freedom the main
characters have are far beyond what any child is accustomed to now.
The Impossible is Possible
Something about our everyday life seems so, well, ordinary. However,
taking the era back just a few decades can make it more easy to
believe the extraordinary is possible. “Stranger Things” has a touch
of fantasy to it that would be hard to equate to our present world.
Even though the storyline is based off what would have been normal
reality for these characters, to us with our 21st century
perspectives, it almost seems like another world.
The Importance of Nostalgia
There’s a reason Millennials will always have a soft spot for Finding
Nemo, Rihanna, Facebook, and skinny jeans. The pop culture of today
will forever be associated with glowing memories of your childhood and
young adult lives, which is why the creators of “Stranger Things” were
so ingenious. They seamlessly incorporated '80s references, from the
rockin’ tunes (The Clash, anyone?) to the actors’ clothing (shoutout
to the vintage Nikes and those high, high-waisted jeans), all the way
to the Star Wars toys in cluttered bedroom sets. “Stranger Things”
appeals to a much wider audience because the story connects to us as
much as it does to older generations, including our parents, something
that might not have been possible if it was set as a modern childhood