Whether it’s a hit film or a TV series, the thrill of success is often both a blessing and a curse. Case in point – the recent rave reviews and massive following of Netflix's Stranger Things have brought expectations for a second season to such a high level, the pressure is truly on for series creators/directors the Duffer Brothers. The first season of the paranormal/adventure-thriller lured curious initial viewers in with its 1980s throwback style and once in, few were disappointed.
The first season of any series however, has its work cut out for itself in using that one chance to build a dedicated viewership. While Stranger Things clearly succeeded in doing this, the sort of pressure that exists in building a fanbase is an altogether different one from maintaining said fanbase. With TV competition ranging across a multitude of platforms – not to mention the substantial degree of lingering questions a new Stranger Things season will have to answer - season two just might be the biggest challenge yet for the Duffer Brothers.
It should come as no real surprise then, that the Duffer Brothers as well as Stranger Things producer Shawn Levy are well aware of what they’re venturing into with a second series of the hit show. In fact, during a recent interview with Southern California Public Radio, Levy acknowledged the pressure that the Stranger Things team faces and how they plan to take things to the “next level”, but without sacrificing the aspects that audiences have already come to love. Said Levy:
Yes, the pressure is on. It would be so blatantly disingenuous of me to say differently. It’s scary to have people love something this much. It becomes impossible to banish all thoughts of not wanting to disappoint. This has been the challenge of it: on the one hand as we’ve see in the movie world, to do a follow-up that feels like the same thing is disappointing to an audience; to abandon things or change things [from the original], that disappoints the audience.
A lot of Season 2 is next-level, some crazy stuff, but we must service these characters who are now beloved, who are known to the audience.
Of course, another challenge that Levy and the Duffer Brothers face with a new season is the fact that children visibly age in a short period of time and when a series is based around them, dealing with this becomes a key component of how a story is organized and told. Once again, Levy and co. are taking this challenge head on and growing with the children.
We had dinner with the kids. We could see it right in front of us. They are not the same. They are still, thank God, charming and authentic, but it is a different form of those things.
I think we’re going to stay honest with these kids by growing with them.
Though it’s still relatively early in the development process of season two, Stranger Things simply feels like a series that has a clear vision of what it wants to be. Yes, a common complaint after the first season was that a lot of questions were left unanswered, but there’s ample reason to believe that this wasn’t done by accident. Even Levy’s modest degree of commentary on the second season instantly reveals a focus that seems to be straight in line with what fans are also thinking.
It’s very possible that all unanswered questions from the first season can and will be fuel for future episodes. If this is indeed the case, the Duffer Brothers have already built two different universes that will gradually be revealed to audiences in what could possibly be a long running and highly successful series.
Stranger Things season 1 is available now on Netflix. Season 2 arrives in 2017.