Category Archives: Stranger Things

Stranger Things Fuels Dungeons & Dragons Resurgence

Netflix is arguably now as big than almost any cable network, garnering a staggering 54 Emmy nominations this year. Among their most popular shows is Stranger Things, a homage to Steven Spielberg movies that features plucky kids, flashlights at night and weird alien creatures. The show’s popularity has fueled a resurgence of ’80’s nostalgia, and even people like Jessie Pinkman are marking out over Eleven, the girl with the psychic powers.

Stranger Things has revived interest in another ’80’s item as well: Dungeons & Dragons. One of the first scenes in the show depicts the kids playing D&D in an intense showdown with “The Demogorgon.” This has sent flocks of people to stores to pick up the D&D Starter Set. It seems apparent that there are a lot of people who had heard about Dungeons & Dragons but didn’t understand how it was played. Once they got a look at it on Stranger Things, they decided to try it out.

Dungeons & Dragons has been exploding in popularity for over two years now. The Player’s Handbook is currently #67 on the Amazon top 100 list two years after its release.

The game has benefited greatly from the 5th edition revisions, which make the game simpler, more accessible and more familiar to those who played AD&D in the ’80’s.

On top of that, there has been a flood of “actual play” shows on youtube such as Critical Role and Harmon Quest (yes, created by Community’s own Dan Harmon). The trend of video game streaming has now carried over to tabletop roleplaying games, and it is fueling a boom in the RPG industry.

Parents have found it to be an ideal way to spend time with their children, which is quite amusing to those old enough to remember the “satanic panic” that almost killed the game 30 years ago.

‘Stranger Things’ and the Influence of Steven Spielberg

The new Netflix binge-watch ‘Stranger Things’ is attracting quite a bit of attention. People from all walks of life are raving about the series, including people such as Stephen King and Guillermo del Toro.

The show stars Winona Rider and clearly draws influence from Steven Spielberg films of the 1980’s. The plot is quiet and simple. A boy has gone missing and a group of friends set out to try to solve the mystery. The kids are quite like the Goonies or the children from E.T. The show involves a number of sci-fi elements, including strange creatures and psychic powers.

There has been a steady trickle of Spielberg tributes over the past decade but frankly, you’d think we would be seeing more. Some may think this to be blasphemous, but let’s face it: Steven Spielberg is probably the greatest film director of all time.

His movies have been both commercial and critical successes. Some of his movies, like Jurassic Park and E.T. are classics that defined childhood for entire generations.

Films like Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan are simply great films that are universally lauded. They hold up jut as well today as they did when they were released.

J.J. Abrams paid homage to Spielberg with Super 8, but he is one of the few to do so. Perhaps the hesitancy comes from the fact that few people could do what Spielberg does. It could be that they simply appreciate him from afar rather than try to simulate his work.