The hype machine for season 2 of Netflix's smash hit Stranger Things is already running full steam ahead. Just recently, a well-timed trailer during the Super Bowl sent the internet's pop-culture speculation industrial complex into overdrive, pulling apart second-long snippets for details on what the kids of Hawkins, Indiana will face as their misadventures with (and possibly in) the Upside Down continue. The promise of the series going darker and bigger in season 2 made the trailer something of a double-edged sword, as it afforded fans their first look at what's to come, but also told them they'd have to wait several months before the binge-watching could commence.
Reaction to the trailer was in stark contrast to promos for season 1, which teased a slightly unnerving, overtly Spielberg-inspired homage to films of the 80s. It was very much a curiosity for viewers, another experiment for the streaming giant and its never-ending torrent of original content. But now, Stranger Things season 2 is Netflix's next big thing, with a Halloween premiere that likely has viewers clearing their calendars to facilitate the inevitable binge. Subscriber expectations are running high, but the eagerness coming from inside the Netflix offices may be just as high.
"I have just seen the first episode of season two. It's fantastic – it delivers on everything that every fan wants. We have a sense that it's going to be really big."
It's already clear by the way the streaming service premiered the season 2 trailer during the Super Bowl that Netflix is aware the cultural footprint its spooky series has left behind. The company could easily have dropped a trailer online or promoted it directly to its subscribers, but instead chose to run an advertisement for the series during the biggest sporting event of the year, one that has become synonymous with advertisements for upcoming summer blockbusters. With that level of attention surrounding the various movies being promoted during the big game, the addition of a streaming television show like Stranger Things is a bit like Netflix throwing down the gauntlet.
That kind of confidence is great, especially when it's associated with a show that has such immensely high expectations as Stranger Things does. With any luck, this Halloween will prove Sarandos right.