SPOILER WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 1 of Netflix’s “Stranger Things.”
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably at least heard about “Stranger Things,” the Netflix original series about a missing boy, a small town harboring dark secrets, and a dimensional rift that threatens everything. A girl with strange powers teams up with the missing boy’s best friends to find him, and things just get crazier from there. The first season of “Stranger Things” was a much loved addition to the already top shelf archive of Netflix’s original programming. If not for the brief cliffhangers at the very end, the show would almost exist perfectly as a miniseries. But now, Season 2 has been confirmed and hopefully some of the lingering questions Season 1 left unanswered can be addressed.
There have been rumors about what Season 2 will bring but all we know for sure right now is that most of the Season 1 cast is confirmed as coming back and that we will have some new young characters added into the mix. We will get to see more of Joyce Byers chain smoking on the couch and possibly holding an axe. We will get to see more of the kids being precious ’80s nerd babies.
Executive producers Matt and Ross Duffer biggest confirmation was that the show would still be set in 1984. There is so much mythology in this show — the possibilities are nearly endless. But, there a few specifics we’d like to see in Season 2. Spoilers ahead for Season 1.
13. Actual Justice for Barb
Barb was Nancy’s BFF and the only person to die in the Upside Down. She and Nancy had a falling out just before she was captured by the Demogorgon and, you know… brutally murdered while stuck in the Upside Down. Nancy seemed to realize Barb was gone in maybe 2.5 episodes. Eleven found Barb dead, complete with a gross slug monster in her mouth, and Nancy gasped and that was that. Barb has since become somewhat of an internet hero. The misunderstood nerdy type, who gets forgotten by her BFF because of a dumb hot guy. Jimmy Fallon even gave Barb a hilarious and accurate parody skit. And, since it seems very unlikely Barb herself would come back, let’s have a funeral for her on screen or show what happened when Barb’s mother found out Nancy lied to her, and her daughter had been abducted and murdered. Something. Even if it’s just Nancy having a dream about Barb and apologizing to her.
12. More Eleven
While this seems like a big duh, the creators have yet to confirm her appearance in Season 2. And, if she is back (let’s be real, the show would seem really weird without her), let’s give her more depth and a lot more lines. Millie Bobby Brown did so much with the material she was given, it would be a shame not to push her as an actress and a character next season. In Season 1, she was the new awkward character thrown in the mix, so in Season 2 she should be more comfortable with the gang and a lot more chatty. Will the Byers adopt Eleven, or maybe the Wheeler family? Maybe she just stays in the Upside Down and drops into the real world every now and then? She’s been compared to Dark Phoenix/Phoenix a lot, and that comparison works, but let’s see the lighter, Jean Grey side of her as well. Maybe an episode where her and the kids have an Eggo waffle party and nothing bad goes down… Stranger things have happened.
The show has just one POC character in Lucas (who is wonderful), and then fills out its cast and the town of Hawkins, Indiana with lots of straight White people. All the characters given screen time on “Stranger” things are pretty damn great, and mostly quite dynamic, but they’re also very straight and very White. Let’s see the show get an LGBT character or two (there has been some speculation online about Barb’s orientation but that ship has likely sailed what with her being dead and all). Maybe in Season 2, we could see more than one Black kid at school with speaking lines? A Latino or Asian character, perhaps? Even just a sad ’80s goth kid, who maybe likes The Cure a little too much and wears all black would be nice. This show is great and still has so much more to explore story-wise, so let’s see the cast grow and become more diverse to make the show even better and more reflective of the real world.
10. More Monsters
The Demogorgon can’t possibly be the only scary monster creature thing lurking in the Upside Down, right? Well, it could be — but it shouldn’t be. Have the kids discover and name all the monsters after other popular sci-fi/fantasy characters. Maybe some of these monsters can actually see and have eyeballs? But, like, evil eyeballs. Maybe some of them have powers; maybe some of them are giants. Go bananas with monsters. Some scenes in Season 1 (especially at the beginning) were legit spooky, so do that, only a lot more often. The show itself plays on older fantasy/sci-fi tropes, so keep them coming in the upcoming season with more scary monsters and other things that go bump in the Upside Down. Give us monsters that Eleven can’t just destroy with her mind, the kind of monsters that might make us, the audience, lose some sleep at night. All the monsters!
9. Brenner’s Backstory
Maybe not Papa’s backstory per-say, but at least a backstory that elaborates on other awful things Matthew Modine’s character did along with the Department of Energy. Think “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Season 4’s The Initiative, but way better. And some clarity on if he is or isn’t her actual Papa (he’s not, right?). Her real dad could be Hopper for all we know. Regardless, there’s so much to explore with whatever was going on at the Department of Energy and Brenner’s specific program that dealt with Eleven. How did they even discover Eleven and the other test subjects? Were the test subjects created or born with their powers? Was that whole facility just a cover for them opening the gate or was there more to the place than just the sci-fi gate? The answer better be “there was more” and we need to see it all on screen at some point.
8. The Gate, Explained
The Upside Down seeped into the real world because of the gate housed in the basement of the Department of Energy. So, after the Demogorgon did away with Brenner and his evil cartoon pals, and Eleven did away the Demogorgon, what happened to the gate? Did the gate close with the death of the Demogorgon? Did the Department of Energy find a way to close it? Did they keep it open because they don’t give a damn and that’s just what evil bureaucratic organizations do? Is the gate even something they can close? Clearly Brenner was running things. but there has to be someone new to take over — or, maybe he’s not really dead. We didn’t actually see him die on screen, which leaves it open for next season. Either way, let’s see what happened with the gate. The Department of Energy trying to shut the gate could even be a major element of Season 2 if the world expands beyond the kids.
7. Give Karen Wheeler Something to Do
Aside from Barb, the biggest and weirdest missed opportunity in “Stranger Things” Season 1 seemed to come in the form of Nancy and Mike’s mom, Karen Wheeler. Karen tried to help nearly every one of the characters she came into contact with during the season and literally all of them rejected her help. Joyce nearly pushed Karen out the front door (because Joyce was worried about Karen’s youngest child, but still). She asked Mike and Nancy countless times (okay, like maybe three times) if they needed help but they both rebuffed her. The season felt like it was setting her up to have a bigger role in the story — but it never came to pass. She showed up at the end to hug her kids but never once actually did anything during the season. But now that we know there will be a Season 2, there’s a chance for Karen to get in on some of the Upside Down shenanigans.
6. Other Test Subjects
Eleven got her name from the “011” tattoo she has on her arm, a mark no doubt put there by the Department of Energy. There were likely at least ten other test subjects before her — and maybe even some after her. Let’s see more creepy kids (possibly as teens or adults by now so we can see what it’s like to survive this kind of ordeal) with powers. Maybe only a handful of the other experiments survived; maybe they all died. Did they all have the same kinds of powers? Whatever the answers to these questions are, let’s see what happened to them and introduce them into this world. Give us flashbacks of Brenner being a jerk and the test subjects going crazy and possibly revolting against him. Maybe Joyce Byers and Chief Hopper dig deeper to find out what happened to Eleven and the other subjects — that is, if Chief Hopper isn’t working for the other side come Season 2.
5. How the Hell Did Will Survive
Yes, Will said he was good at hiding. So we’re supposed to believe he played a really terrifying game of hide and seek with the Demogorgon for an entire week? Let’s call a spade a spade — that is all total bull. Barb, a teen, died immediately upon being brought into the Upside Down yet Will, a literal child, survived in there for the entire first season of the show. Why didn’t the Demogorgon feed off Will right away? Why would it even hunt Will if it wasn’t to feed off of him? Did it have an ulterior motive in kidnapping Will? Did we just answer our own question? Maybe Will spitting out weird Upside Down worm was all part of the Demogorgon’s master plan. Or someone else’s master plan? Even if it’s not, give us specific flashbacks that prove Will is this extraordinarily good at hiding and not just a gaping pothole from an otherwise stellar season of television.
4. More Awesome Music
Give us all the damned ’80s songs and all the sad, slow covers of ’80s songs that fit into a season. Trust us, we can handle it. And then when it’s all said and done, make sure that soundtrack is available on iTunes. Season 1 did such a good job not just making “Stranger Things” look like it took place in the ’80s, but also made it feel like it took place in the ’80s. Much of that was thanks to the show’s stellar soundtrack. Everything from the original synth-y score, to the songs they played and had the kids listen to. When they needed a song to play over a more emotional moment, they played that slowed down cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes” by Peter Gabriel. The soundtrack for Season 1 is basically a perfect, darker sister to the “Guardians of the Galaxy’s” Awesome Mix: Vol 1. And while Netflix was a little slow to realize there might be a demand for an OST of Season 1, they shouldn’t underestimate the awesome power of the ’80s come Season 2.
3. Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes for Will Byers
He was spitting out Upside Down slug/worm things at the end of Season 1, so clearly he’s come out of his week-long tour of the Upside Down with some baggage (and not just the emotional kind). It’d be pretty stellar if he ended up having some kind of powers like Eleven — but, at the very least, he must be having some serious PTSD/anxiety issues to deal with. Season 2 could show us Will learning to control whatever he brought back with him, and Eleven could go from being Jean Grey in Season 1 to Professor Xavier in Season 2. She could teach him how to control his powers or just deal with the PTSD of being trapped in the Upside Down. The show could turn into the ’80s movie “X-Men: Apocalypse” should’ve been. Will shouldn’t be fully recovered from that awful week in 1983, no matter how much time has passed between seasons.
2. Joyce Taking No Shit
Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) had a blast in Season 1. Her son Will was kidnapped by a literal monster and kept prisoner in another dimension called the Upside Down. Then, after receiving weird messages from said other dimension and watching a monster try to push through her wall, everyone thought she was crazy. And, to be fair, she did go a little crazy — but who wouldn’t have gone a little bananas given the circumstances? Give Joyce a break for Season 2. She’s proved to herself and everyone in her life that she can handle a disaster, no matter the odds stacked against her. Let’s see a Season 2 Joyce that’s confident and doesn’t let people talk down to her. And a Joyce who has no problem going into the Upside Down and facing whatever monsters might be there. Or, at the very least, let’s see her get a promotion at work.
1. More Nerdy Stuff
The kids love Dungeons & Dragons and they read “X-Men.” They literally name the Demogorgon after a monster of the same name from Dungeons & Dragons. Keep the ’80s nerd stuff coming. These kids would absolutely own more “Star Wars” toys than the infamous, levitating Millennium Falcon. One of the episode titles teased for Season 2 is “Mad Max” — which is probably a reference to the already announced new character Max, but who wouldn’t love to see some actual references to George Miller’s post-apocalyptic action franchise? A crazy car chase through an apocalyptic landscape might not work within the world of the “Stranger Things,” but maybe the kids have a movie poster or a way the show could recreate it for the Indiana setting. Maybe they take Eleven to see the movie in theaters. Do the kids read Batman, too? Do they get excited for Marvel’s “Secret Wars” (the first one from the ’80s, that is)? Do they own any of the super cool Mego figures and what crazy plots do they come up with when playing with them?
“Stranger Things” Season 1 is now streaming on Netflix. Season 2 will air in 2017.
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