There have been fewer signs of how the power balance has shifted between movies and TV than the success of “Stranger Things.” Winona Ryder aside (and it’s a while since she led a movie), the show didn’t have the A-list performers or even behind-the-scenes talent of some of the other Netflix shows, and debuted at the height of summer, when theaters are full of spectacle of the kind that the show aped. Indeed, just a few years ago, J.J. Abrams’ “Super 8” took on a similar vibe, to great box office success.
But “Stranger Things” didn’t just prove a Netflix hit, it arguably became a bigger talking point than almost every blockbuster last summer, purely on word of mouth, and the teaser for Season 2 got huge buzz when it debuted during the Superbowl a few months back. But the sequel won’t be softening things up on the horror front: according to the young cast members, Season 2 will make Season 1 look like “Sisterhood Of The Travelling Pants.”
“There are going to be some challenges the characters face that are real, that are disturbing,” Finn Wolfhard, who plays Mike, told Emmy Magazine (via Mashable). “This season will be a lot more dark, a lot more horror-oriented. I think people are going to like it better than the first season” (Wolfhard knows a thing or two about horror, as he’s also starring in fall’s “It.”) Co-star Galen Matarazzo (Dustin) elaborates, suggesting that the horror comes in part from the subject of the search in the first season, Will (Noah Schnapp), as suggested by one of the codas at the end of Season 1. “I think they’re all very emotionally scarred. They feel a little bad because their best friend is back and he’s not acting like their best friend anymore. He’s changed.”
It’s pretty common for people to describe their sequels as ‘darker,’ but in the case of “Stranger Things,” it would seem to be justified from a story and character standpoint, though we hope the buoyant tone that made the show so special remains intact. We’ll find out when the show hits Netflix again at Halloween.