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How Stranger Things Season 4 Compares to the Other Seasons, Using Classic ’80s Movies

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David Harbour as Hopper holds a flashlight in Stranger Things

Since May 27, it is impossible not to talk about Hawkings and the dangers that lurk in the dark corners of the small town now that volume one (which consists of seven episodes) of the fourth season of Stranger Things is available to stream. The series broke Bridgerton‘s season two record, becoming the most-watched English-language series on Netflix. The audience will have to wait until July to watch the final episodes of the story. It was recently announced that season five will be the final season of the Netflix sci-fi tale. A series that captured the audience because of its compelling story and even a more compelling throwback and tribute to the 80s, Stranger Things won viewers’ hearts from episode one.

Set in the 1980s, the show has a nostalgic feeling that is impossible not to like. From the characters wearing Ghostbusters costumes to re-popularizing great songs from that period (Running Up That Hill

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by Kate Bush hit #1 on iTunes after season four aired, 27 years after it was released), the Duffer Brothers took setting the atmosphere of the story really seriously.

Stranger Things tells the story of a group of friends who are outcasts. After one of them disappears, they will have to face the unimaginable horrors which begin infiltrating their small town of Hawkings; government secret projects and monsters straight from nightmares are only a few things they have to deal with.

The setting and aesthetics of the story is extremely important. It sets the tone, mood, and overall feel the audience will get when watching the episodes unfold. The 80s references are deeply embedded in the storytelling, and being able to compare different seasons to different movies from that time can be an interesting way to track the growth of the show and its referential, postmodern use of touchstones to develop its plot. Here are all four seasons of Stranger Things compared, using 80s classic movies.

There is no denying that season one of Stranger Things was an instant success. The series became Netflix’s biggest hit for quite some time, and has now regained its spot as the most-watched original English-language series by the streaming service. In season one, the audience got to know a group of outcast boys, Will, Lucas, Dustin, and Mike, thrown into the unknown once Will mysteriously disappeared after a night of fantasy role-playing games. When they encounter Eleven, a powerful young girl, they try to help each other. It becomes unmistakable: a group of kids riding their bikes in a small town, looking for someone while hiding somebody else with near-supernatural powers, was reminiscent of one of the biggest movies of the ’80s and one of the best of all time, E.T.

Related: Stranger Things Creators Are ‘Super Excited’ About Potential Spinoff Idea

Just like in the Steven Spielberg movie, in season one the kids have to deal with their problems on their own, feeling they’re not able to trust any grown-ups that live around them; government forces are out to get their friend, and they don’t know who to turn to. But the resemblance goes beyond the most apparent similarities between the two stories. The core of them is the same: true friendship, especially between outsiders or misfits. The innocence of their actions and words speaks deeply to what makes this season so special, having to come up with intense solutions to even more intense problems at such a young age. Their childlike vision of the world and others around them made this story have such a powerful beginning.

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