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.
We 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.
Not 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!
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)