“Stranger Things” Live Video Chat with @BrentonDana & @TolkienProf

Stranger Things is one of the hottest new series on Netflix this fall. My wife and I don’t always overlap in tastes, but this show drew us both in. We zoomed through the series in late night sittings, and I honestly can’t wait until my son is old enough to watch it with us.

stranger-things-dvdWe are not alone in loving this show. There are a few reasons for its massive popularity, I think. The hero–I think she’s a hero–is a scientific experiment gone bad, a young girl we know of as “Eleven” who has significant telekinetic power. The group of friends she makes–an awkward Scooby Gang or Crew of Light–are an endearing and awkward set of bumbling pre-teen heroes with a strong sense of morality and loyalty but with very few weapons. The mystery runs through a narrative arc of 8 episodes, and though it was a rushed ending, I was left wanting more.

It isn’t just the tale, though. The entire show is designed as a second baptism in 1980s popular culture. Set in 1983, the design of the show is brilliant, from its Lucas-Spielberg posters, to its creepy theme song and faux-future lettering, to every little detail of technology, music, and fashion. This thriller is designed for anyone who once played Dungeons & Dragons, collected comic books, saved up their money to see pants-wetting thrillers at the Drive-in, and who read Stephen King with a flashlight underneath E.T. sheets while mom and dad ate Jiffy Pop in front of The Twilight Zone.

stranger-things-boys-groupNot everyone has seen the entire series, so I won’t give anything away. But I’m pleased to be doing a Live Video Session (like a webinar or video podcast) with Dr. Corey Olsen (@TolkienProf). The session is part of Signum University’s 2016 Fall Campaign Webathon, which will take place on Saturday, Oct 30th. Our live podcast is part of a whole day of fun, starting at 11:00 am EDT (see the schedule below). SignumU President and expert of all things fantastic, Dr. Corey Olsen will serve as host to a variety of fun and exciting events taking place throughout the day. They are asking for donations–it is a fundraiser after all–but it is free to sign up (just click here and pick your event).

To get to the Stranger Things webinar, you can sign up for free here. Corey and I will chat for a bit, pulling out themes, key moments, and fan responses. One of the great things about these sessions is that everyone listening in can pop their thoughts into the chat window and add to the discussion. I hope to see you on Saturday!

Brenton Dickieson

Here’s a preview of the day’s events (all times are EDT):

Part 1 (Register)

11:00 – 11:30: Intro and Signum Updates (Corey Olsen)

11:30 – 12:00: Guest Lecture: Tolkien and Alchemy (Sara Brown)

12:00 – 12:30: Mythgard Academy Trivia! (Corey Olsen)

12:30 – 1:30: Thesis Theatre (Penelope Holdaway, Sørina Higgins)

1:30 – 2:00: More Mythgard Academy Trivia! (Corey Olsen)

Part 2 (Watch Live

2:00 – 4:00: LOTRO Stream: A Gryfflet Special  (Corey Olsen and surprise guests)

Part 3 (Register)

4:00 – 6:00: Mythgard Academy Special: Stranger Things (Corey Olsen, Brenton Dickieson)

Part 4 (Register)

6:00 – 7:00: A Special Tolkien Q&A (Corey Olsen, Maggie and Sophie Swerda)

7:00 – A Later Time: A SilmFilm Special: Mapping the Frame of Season 2 (SilmFilm executive and script-writing teams)


About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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11 Responses to “Stranger Things” Live Video Chat with @BrentonDana & @TolkienProf

  1. L.A. Smith says:

    Hubby and I are just getting into this series – it is a lot of fun, and I agree, the 80s setting makes it even that much more so! Kinda spooky and yet so far it seems to have a bit of a sweet heart at the core. It reminds me a bit of the Goonies, which was a 1985 Spielberg film of a cast of misfit kids discovering a spooky secret.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. wanderwolf says:

    You’re not the first person to praise it highly! But the question I have is: can someone who is freaked out by scary movies and paranormal activity watch this alone and living alone?


  3. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Interesting! Never heard of this – or the Duffer twins – till you just got me looking things up – and note an “M. Night” Shyamalan connexion (someone else I have basically not yet caught up with yet, though I have heard enough partly to get the reference on my ‘I see dead Inklings’ tee shirt): first thought about that “1980s popular culture” (and “M. Night” Shyamalan’s work, except for Stuart Little) – it is not immediately prose-narrative-based, not film versions of existing works, so, strictly ‘literary’ (or ‘written fictional’) science fiction, fantasy, horror ‘references’, etc., must be in the background, at the closest.


    • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

      (When in doubt where best to put the ‘yet’, leave ’em both in? – well, not exactly: sloppy proofreading!)


      • Actually, I never heard of the Duffer Bros before, but love this work. I also like M. Night Shamyamanalayanaman. I can see the genre connection (minus the bad cameos).


        • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

          What will be being spun off, I wonder – if much? I see a Companion volume at Amazon, but no novelizations, for example. In and following on from the late 70s and 80s, there was quite a variety of that – I’ve got a novel with only George Lucas’s name on the cover corresponding to the first Star Wars film, but also some sort of Darth Maul’s autobiography, analyses of ship design, and a lot of the Galaxy of Fear series (quite possibly somehow never ‘canonical’). (And, of course, my Chewbacca onesie.) Then again, I had some Monty Python scripts-in-one-volume (till I gave ’em away to a bigger fan student-housemate). Meanwhile, Bill Watterson resisted ‘merchandizing’…


  4. Pingback: “Capes and Classes Optional” Guest Blog by Adam Mattern (Signum Series) | A Pilgrim in Narnia

  5. Pingback: “Friendship over Family in the Lord of the Rings” Guest Blog by Trish Lambert (Signum Series) | A Pilgrim in Narnia

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