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Stranger Things "Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers"


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:mac_alert:  SPOILER WARNING: This is a discussion on the first episode of Stranger Things. It contains spoilers for the series through S1:E1. Do not read this page if you do not want to know what happens through the end of Chapter One.




Stranger Things "Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers"


"Something's coming"


Season 1, Episode 1   48m









On his way home from a friends house, young Will sees something terrifying. Nearby, a sinister secret lurks in the depths of a government lab.


Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Matthew Modine

TV Sci-Fi & Fantasy

Director: The Duffer Brothers


Soundtrack: White Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane), Africa (Toto)






:Howard_Scott_Warshaw: For those of you who haven't seen Stranger Things, you can check out the show's first eight minutes, subtitled "The Vanishing of Will Byers" on YouTube right now. I recommend watching this with the lights off.



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What knocked the wind out of me like a sucker-punch to the gut, beyond that incredible opening scene, was just how often I found myself thinking back to E.T. throughout the entire episode. It's hard not to feel just how deeply Stranger Things is connected to E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. The show draws from the many works of Spielberg, Stephen King, John Carpenter, and others for inspiration, but the connection with E.T. feels at the forefront in the series' first episode.  :et_elliott_bicycle:

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I think there's a lot of "X-Files" in there too. 


But yep, ET seems like a huge influence right from the opening.  They should have had someone call someone "Dick breath" during the opening game of D&D.  :)


Any beyond any influences...I think they did a great job in casting.  It is horribly hard to find kids that can act...but it seems like every kid here does a wonderful job. 


And one more thing...while this show is set in the early 80's...I love that they aren't hitting people over the head with that fact.  It's a setting, it's authentic.  And that's it.  Bravo!

Edited by RickR
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I think there's a lot of "X-Files" in there too. 



Absolutely! I feel that more and more in episodes to come. Particularly makes me think of the "Eve 6" episode.




They should have had someone call someone "Dick breath" during the opening game of D&D.  :)



:rofl:  The kids do swear quite a bit, which made me think of E.T.




Any beyond any influences...I think they did a great job in casting.  It is horribly hard to find kids that can act...but it seems like very kid here does a wonderful job. 



The cast are incredible actors, especially the kids. And the casting feels authentic, these don't feel like perfect Hollywood people, they make the characters feel like real people that would have been my friends or friends' parents.




And one more thing...while this show is set in the early 80's...I love that they aren't hitting people over the head with that fact.  It's a setting, it's authentic.  And that's it.  Bravo!



I couldn't agree more! 1983 isn't a gimmick in the show, I think they recreated the early '80s really well without overdoing it. It's just wonderful.

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You just get reeled in immediately with this one.   I was hooked from the kids playing D&D (although their rules were...questionable?).  They give you enough time to get attached to Will, right before they yank him away.  Then your attention is drawn to the mystery kid.   She doesn't speak, but you feel sorry for her.  You can tell she's in scared, in pain, and/or hiding.  Whoever she is, poor Benny hit a spot of bad luck when she wandered into his diner.    The show doesn't mess around, and lets you know from episode 1 not to get too attached.

I see SOME X-Files, but not from an narrative perspective.  In other words, it's not about some agents investigating.   The subject matter, definitely.   It reminded me of Super 8 initially, and without spoiling too much, started reminding me of Poltergeist quite a bit by Ep2.

It would be SO easy for me to hit play on the next episode immediately, but if I get too far ahead I'll have a hard time remembering what happened in each episode.

We'll be starting episode 4 tomorrow night!

EDIT:  I had to also add in a bit about the science teacher.   His character was perfect, and I hope he ends up being a go-to for the kids.   He reminded me a lot of one of my English teachers in High School.

Edited by Rowsdower70

"For you - Rowsdower from the 70 - have been appointed Omnivisioner of the Game Grid."  ~ Atari Adventure Square

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I'm loving this show so far. It reminds me of Super 8 a lot. Gonna watch episode 3 today probably. 


Netflix is working on some great things right now. The Death Note movie, A Series of Unfortunate Events, MST3K (That was announced just last night), and all the Marvel stuff coming from them. I can't wait.

young Atari lover

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Amazing series!

It plays out like some of the best Stephen King horror novels, blending the 80s movies and pop culture that molded my geek brain.


The King angle is especially strong as the the many characters are sketched out progressively in a captivating narration.

Feels like The Stand, It and Firestarter dropped into blender and baked into a delicious cake of nostalgia.

And the flashbacks are like a visual call to an inner dialogue. Like what King self-deprecatingly called his writer's 'elephant-itis', expanding on a character's history and psychology.

It's a gutsy approach that works very well.


The first episode grabs you from the get-go and I agree with Row - I had to keep myself from bingeing (which I rarely do) cuz it's more fun to let the story sink in gradually.


A perfect piece of work.

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I just watched the first two episodes. They hit it out of the ball park with this one. This is an incredible show! Thanks to all of you who recommended it.


The music makes me think they've listened to The Retroist Podcast, it sounds a lot like the music Peachy makes for the show. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, click on our 2600 page and scroll down to the 2600 episode of The Retroist Podcast. That opening monologue of the show has that same viby synthesizer score as Stranger Things has)


I see so many nods to my favorite movies and TV shows from the past. The nods to E.T. are really obvious, especially with the shed in Will Byers' backyard, Mathew Modine's parallels to Peter Coyote in E.T., and the agents monitoring the area like E.T.'s eavesdropping van. I see references and influences from Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Poltergeist, Firestarter, Jaws, Halloween, The Goonies, Stand By Me, Mad Max, The Thing, Nightmare On Elm Street, X-Files, Twin Peaks, Lost, and so many more.


All the references to Dungeons & Dragons, Lord of the Rings, John Carpenter, Richard Donner, and Steven King really brought it home for me. I love that the password to Castle Byers is Radagast.


This show says so much about Atari I/O culture without even mentioning Atari! My only real complaint about the show is the lack of Atari so far :) but it is nice to see kids riding their bikes and playing board games again!


This is an outstanding show, we really enjoyed watching this and plan to continue with more episodes this week! I'll post more thoughts as I have them.

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The Stranger Things Soundtrack will be released in TWO volumes starting this week!


Netflix announced today that Stranger Things will release two volumes of its synth-y soundtrack. Stranger Things, Volume 1 arrives digitally August 12th, with a CD release planned for September 16th. Volume 2 is out digitally August 19th followed by a September 23rd physical release. 


Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, two members of the Austin synth act Survive, composed the Stranger Things score. "The directors were previously fans of Survive. They used a song from our first LP in a trailer they made to pitch their concept to Netflix," Dixon said in a statement. "Once the show was picked up, they reached out to see if we were available to score the show."


In an interview with Rolling Stone, Dixon further detailed how they linked up with the show's creators the Duffer Brothers. "They're fans of Survive somehow and it's kind of a mystery... like, they don't really know how they found us," Dixon said. "But they did, and then they emailed us and asked if we were available. They put our song 'Dirge' from our last LP in their trailer for the show. Like, they made a little mock trailer to pitch their concept to Netflix, and they had the song 'Dirge' in there. They were like, 'Oh, shit. That works pretty well for the trailer. It kind of got the vibe across.'"


Stein added in a statement, "We discussed having a classic tone and feel to the music for the show but being reserved enough that it wasn't '80s cheese, while offering a refreshing quality so that felt modern. This was one of the qualities that drew them to our music in the first place. Having a familiarity with classic synths worked, but with an overall forward thinking approach."



Stranger Things, Volume 1 Track List


  1. "Stranger Things"
  2. "Kids"
  3. "Nancy and Barb"
  4. "This Isn't You"
  5. "Lay-Z-Boy"
  6. "Friendship"
  7. "Eleven"
  8. "A Kiss"
  9. "Castle Byers"
  10. "Hawkins"
  11. "The Upside Down"
  12. "After Sarah"
  13. "One Blink For Yes"
  14. "Photos in the Woods"
  15. "Fresh Blood"
  16. "Lamps"
  17. "Hallucinations"
  18. "Hanging Lights"
  19. "Biking to School"
  20. "Are You Sure?"
  21. "Agents"
  22. "Papa"
  23. "Cops Are Good at Finding"
  24. "No Weapons"
  25. "Walking Through the Nether"
  26. "She'll Kill You"
  27. "Run Away"
  28. "No Autopsy"
  29. "Dispatch"
  30. "Joyce and Lonnie Fighting"
  31. "Lights Out"
  32. "Hazmat Suits"
  33. "Theoretically"
  34. "You Can Talk to Me"
  35. "What Else Is There to Do?"
  36. "Hawkins Lab"





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