Is Stranger Things just nostalgia porn? Creators refute criticisms

The public’s craving for all things vintage has been around for a while. Both ’80s and ’90s retro has become popular in everything from music to video games, meaning Stranger Things came along at the perfect time. However, while creators the Duffer Brothers have acknowledged how steeped in ’80s culture their show is, they don’t think it’s why Stranger Things is so popular.

With Stranger Things 4 ready to drop on Friday, the Duffers spoke to The New York Times this week. The paper recalled how the show was called “little more than ’80s karaoke — a greatest-hits collection that charms but lacks the genius of original art.” Some have criticized the show for being derivative of Steven Spielberg, theorizing that it can’t have resonance with modern children because of it’s geared at people who are already nostalgic for a time gone by.

Matt Duffer, however, pointed out the fallacy in this argument: Stranger Things is populary with people too young to have been around in the 1980s. “If the show was only working because of the nostalgia you feel for bringing back that particular piece of music or referencing that moment in a film that you love, then yeah, it wouldn’t be working with a 10-year-old,” he said.

The Duffers believe that Stranger Things is greater than the sum of its references, with Ross adding that “at a certain point, you just have to figure out how to tell this story and tell it well.”

The Sixth Sense director M. Night Shyamalan, a mentor to the Duffer Brothers, thinks the show is successful in capturing the essence of childhood, not just childhood in the ’80s. And he thinks they have a lot more left in them. “I think their style is going to continue to evolve,” Shyamalan said. “I think they became super successful by doing this story, but it wouldn’t shock me if we see something after this that doesn’t sound like this.”

Stranger Things creators team with Steven Spielberg for Talisman

If the likes of Spielberg are offended by Stranger Things, they certainly aren’t showing it. Following Stranger Things 4, the Duffers are set to executive produce the upcoming Netflix series The Talisman alongside Speilberg. That’s fitting, given that their original Stranger Things pitch described the show “as if Steven Spielberg was directing a long lost Stephen King novel.”

In Talisman, 12-year-old Jack sets out on an epic fantasy journey to save his dying mother. His quest requires the recovery of a powerful talisman with the power to heal. To recover the object, he must cross between two realities: the America we know and its dark fantasy twin known as “the Territories.”

The first batch of Stranger Things 4 episodes will be released this Friday on Netflix, with the final two released on July 1. As of yet, there is no release date for Talisman.

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