“Stranger Things” feels familiar. Since we first caught the trailer for the brand new Netflix series, there were multiple aesthetic details that jumped out and grabbed our attention. Immediately, the Internet reacted to the promotions for the upcoming program, making apt comparisons to early Steven Spielberg. And while there are definite parallels to the likes of, say, “E.T.,” we’ve discovered many more delightful Spielbergian goodies.
Thursday (July 14), Netflix released the first eight minutes of the series. For any child of the ’80s — or fan of pop culture from said decade — take note … because we did. Instead of recapping the above clip for you, we’ve pulled the six biggest tidbits from the preview that spark our interest. But really, they had us at the title card …
- That title card: As we mentioned above, the Duffer Brothers’ choice in title card font grabbed us immediately. When the viewer sees the words “Stranger Things” pop up on screen, the lettering brings to mind fond memories of old school Stephen King faire. Seriously, compare the title card with any old paperback copies of King’s work from the ’70s and ’80s you have lying around. Trust us on this.
- That “The Thing” poster: While the majority of references thrown at the viewer in the above clip are obvious homages to Spielberg, it was a nice surprise to see a poster for the John Carpenter classic adorn the wall of Dungeon Master Mike’s (Finn Wolfhard) basement nerd cave. That alien theme in “The Thing” seems to be a nod to the story going down in the new series as well.
- Dungeons & Dragons: Look, we all know D&D has surged in popularity over the past decade. Big name celebs — we’re looking at you, Vin Diesel — have admitted their undying love for the game. What makes this clip all the more nostalgic is watching Mike and his friends trade verbal assaults as they try and battle the feared Demogorgon. This almost makes us want to break out our 20-sided dice!
- “Knight Rider”: While the kids’ world is steeped in Spielbergian nostalgia, it looks like Mike’s dad is all about cars. Talking cars. Okay, we’re talking about KITT, really. We just get a glimpse of the program he’s trying to watch on TV but one look and it’s not hard to tell that’s Michael Knight (David Hasselhoff) behind the wheel.
- The “E.T”/”Goonies” flair: Again with the Spielberg-ness. We know, but it needs to be discussed. The ’80s was a time when children rode around on their BMX bicycles. It’s a fact, people. But there are really no better works of cinematic art that portrays this wondrous aspect of growing up in suburbia, than the likes of “E.T.” and “Goonies.” Once again, the Duff Brothers send a visual shoutout to the classics with these shots of the boys riding home.
- “Close Encounters”: Maybe that “The Thing” poster was a bit of foreshadowing. Heck, maybe the “E.T.” references were, as well. But “Stranger Things” is obviously turning out to be a throw-back alien invasion story. And while “Close Encounters” ended up portraying the space visitors as peaceful beings, something tells us the creature barely shown in the above clip has more sinister motives in store.
“Stranger Things” premieres Friday, July 15 on Netflix.