'Stranger Things' Was Originally Supposed to Be an Anthology Series

Wednesday, 02 August 2017 - 8:10PM
Netflix
Stranger Things
Stranger Things 2
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Wednesday, 02 August 2017 - 8:10PM
'Stranger Things' Was Originally Supposed to Be an Anthology Series
Netflix
As Halloween draws nearer (we just have to get that pesky summer out of the way first), fans of Stranger Things are gearing up for the return of the show, and the continued adventures of all our most beloved characters.

Apparently, though, we should count ourselves lucky that we even get to see Eleven, Sheriff Hopper, Joyce Byers, and everyone else again. According to showrunners Matt and Ross Duffer, the original plan for the show wouldn't have seen a return to Hawkins, Indiana at all. Instead, Stranger Things would have been an anthology show with a different cast, setting, and story each season, similar to American Horror Story.

Speaking to Screen Rant, the pair was asked about whether the show was originally supposed to be an anthology. They explained:

Opening quote
"There is some truth to that. Yeah. That was when we were pitching it. That was true. Cause we looked at Stephen King's IT, and we liked that time jump that they made, so we kind of pitched that. Then Netflix was really interested in it as a series, because rightfully so. They were like, 'I think people are going to fall in love with these kids. We are going to invest so much time with them, we're going to want to continue our journey with them'. And they were right. Once we started building a writers room and working on the show, we started to develop it and plan a multiple season arc."
Closing quote


In retrospect, it's pretty clear how the first season of Stranger Things would have worked as a one-and-done tale. It tells a very tightly focused story, provides all its main characters with satisfying story arcs, and allows us the catharsis of seeing the show's major villains defeated by our triumphant heroes. The entire series is the story of Will Byers' disappearance and subsequent rescue, and audiences get nice closure when (spoiler alert) Will returns from the Upside Down.

That said, the final episode of the first season shows how the creators' vision had expanded, as the story leaves plenty of dangling plot threads to be picked up later - from Will Byers' nightmares and slug vomit, to the ambiguity over Eleven's fate after defeating the Demagorgon. These are points that perhaps wouldn't have been left so ambiguous if the original plan of an anthology show had been maintained.



This news is all the more interesting in the context of Bryan Fuller's revelation last week that Star Trek: Discovery was originally envisioned as a similar anthology series, telling smaller stories set in different periods of Trek history.

In both instances, while lots of different stories would be a fun way to broaden the universe, it's clear why the studios prefer ongoing serials instead - anthology shows don't grip audiences in the same way that long-form storytelling does. A big part of the excitement surrounding Stranger Things 2 is the opportunity to spend time with the various characters that audiences have grown to know and love. This is especially important for a show where the characters' survival is foremost in the sense of tension within the narrative.

Similarly, while it would be nice to see some Star Trek that's set further in the future, the fact that we get to keep Sonequa Martin-Green as a lead star indefinitely (or, at least until CBS panics and cancels the show) is a fantastic draw for anyone who loved her in The Walking Dead, or who is simply excited to see a woman of color leading a big budget television show.

It definitely feels like the Duffer Brothers' decision to make Stranger Things an ongoing series is definitely the best choice - the show is full of fun and engaging characters, and it would be a shame to lose them simply in order to give us something fundamentally different.

So when you next see Millie Bobby Brown eating an Eggo, take a moment to appreciate her. If the Duffer Brothers had stuck to their original plan, neither Eleven nor the audience would ever return to Hawkins again.

Via: /Film
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