Stranger Things' recent second season not only (successfully) returned in the face of more hype; the show had more resources to account for, too. Varietyreported the budget increased by at least 25 percent, taking Stranger Things from surprise hit into prestige drama budget territory.
While some of that certainly helped shape another iconic '80s soundtrack, Stranger Things 2 ultimately delivered more overall spectacle. More characters visited the Upside Down, demogorgons suddenly ran in packs and appeared in their adolescent forms, and our heroes got to have one final action movie-quality sequence to shut everything down in the end.
"The ultimate goal of acting is to have your actual blood and flesh respond to something imaginary, to live truly in an imaginative circumstance," David Harbor (aka Chief Hopper) told us at San Diego Comic Con last summer when we asked about his increasing CGI experience. "So it's a similar process whether it's a scene partner or a demogorgon."
But when you reflect on Stranger Things, rarely will your mind go first to some giant set piece or otherworldly visual. The show boils down to a character drama set in a distinct period of time many viewers fondly remember (or read about/watched as a kid)—nailing the feeling of nerdy small-town life matters more than monster mayhem.
Which is exactly why, for our second edition of Tech on TV, we focus on the tiny technical details that make Stranger Things truly sing. From old-school gear leading to old-school aesthetics in that iconic title sequence to getting the right RadioShack AV Club fodder no matter how many garage sales it took, the show's staff made the extra effort in all the right places. Everyone appreciates a good Mind Flayer ominously looming over suburban Indiana, but here's hoping Heathkits factor more heavily into the next adventures in Hawkins.
Listing image by CNE / Netflix