From Themes and Memes:
On this episode, we welcome special guest Pearse Redmond from Porkins Policy Review to discuss the new Netflix Original series, Stranger Things.
Comprising one season of eight episodes thus far, the show is one of many recent productions that are made exclusive to on-demand platforms, and has fast become a sentimental sensation among its thirty-something target audience; thanks to its pastiche of 80’s pop culture references and nostalgic plot devices.
We start by establishing the beginnings of the story, where strange events begin to unfold in 1980’s small town America. Set against the backdrop of a secretive Cold War experiment at a local government facility, the series blends real world references to geopolitics and conspiracy culture with a heavy overlay of fantasy, horror, and science fiction – staying true to the aesthetic and screenplay of the classic 80’s sub-genre.
We also explore one of the most interesting aspects of the series, in looking at the target marketing of customised entertainment, where tools like analytics and meta-data seem to be driving the production of on-demand, niche-marketed TV series. Is a merge between Hollywood and Silicon Valley going to be the next big tech revolution?
Finally, we discuss some of the archetypes, roles, and cultural dynamics being presented in the show, and explore the question of how mass culture can influence our perceptions of history, where memories are continuously filtered through an emotional overlay of sentimental entertainment.