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I received a weird email recently. It wasn’t the usual LinkedIn request from somebody I spoke to once while inhaling free pizza at a college society AGM. It was from the creators of Netflix hit Stranger Things, the Duffer Brothers. (Yes, both of them. They share an email account.)
The gist of the message was that Netflix commissioned a second season of the show and the Brothers wanted me to write it. All nine episodes. You may ask why they wanted to hire me: a man that you, nor they, have ever heard of. I haven’t a fucking clue. But it would be way too awkward to actually ask them. So I agreed.
They wanted a detailed synopsis of each episode within a week. I put off writing anything until the last minute. I was tired and writing is hard. The following is all I had to send on to them. Netflix announced their renewal the next day.
Dear The Duffer Brothers,
Season two kicks off with one of those Terminator time travel bubbles and some of that Terminator synth music. A figure emerges from the bubble. It’s an older version of Jonathan from 2017 [aside: try to cast Kevin Eldon here]. The audience should ask themselves, “Why is he here? When can I buy the season two soundtrack?”
Eleven months have passed since the first season ended. The boys are now in eighth grade. Nancy, Steve and Jonathan are in their senior year. Joyce Byers has created her own business selling used Christmas lights.
The boys have started a band. Having immediately recognised David Lynch’s Dune as a cult classic, they named themselves Kyle MacRocklan. They have impeccable, almost anachronistic taste for a group of twelve year olds in 1984. Dustin plays drums and seriously rocks it.
The first episode ends with Will Byers disappearing once again. [Aside: We need to minimise his screen time. The kid is not as good as the other actors.] Everyone assumes he’s back in the Upside Down. The main focus of the season is tracking him down. The twist is revealed in the final episode: it was in fact a run-of-the-mill child abduction.
The teenage subplot involves a new character, Harry Saperstein. [Aside: Try to cast Henry Winkler here. Can you buy that digital de-aging technology from Marvel?] Harry has recently transferred to Hawkins High. He vies with Steve and Jonathan for Nancy’s heart.
Future Jonathan reveals that Nancy will one day marry Harry and move to Pawnee with him. However Steve will secretly be the father of their first child. [Aside: See attached image. Possible legal issues with NBC?]
Chief Hopper discovers the government’s secret plan for the Upside Down. They want to build a transnational monorail network. Routing it through the Upside Down means there is no need for compulsory purchase orders of private citizens’ land. The Reagan administration is a strong supporter of property rights. They believe this will guarantee victory over Walter Mondale at the polls in November.
An entire episode will be set at the town’s memorial for Barb. Most of the main characters give eulogies. Mr Clarke explains, using science, how Barb was the best humanity has to offer. [Aside: I assume this is what the additional episode you mentioned should be used for. Is this enough to placate viewers?]
Bully Troy has developed chronic incontinence from his run in with Eleven. [Aside: Shit, I forgot about Eleven! I guess she comes back somehow. And maybe she has a twin brother? Yeah. And he should also be the Monster via some sort of werewolf mechanism.] Troy’s mother sues Hawkins Middle School for exposing her son to a powerful psychic. She does this because she is a good parent who believes her son no matter how far-fetched his story sounds.
The climax of the season is a no-holds-barred cage match between Chief Hopper and Dr Brenner. If Hopper wins, the government leaves Hawkins alone forever. If Brenner wins, the town has to hand over Future Jonathan. What Hopper doesn’t know is Brenner is now part-machine since his run in with the Monster.
I have a few other miscellaneous ideas. I’ve yet to fit them into the story.
- Somebody drives a DeLorean now.
- Will’s father is embezzling funds donated to help find him.
- Mr Clarke has a public access television show about science.
- The boys go to see Ghostbusters and Mike says it would have been better if they were women.
- Everything that Mike and Nancy’s dad says is a Spinal Tap reference.
I’m sorry this isn’t the full episode-by-episode you were looking for. We can flesh it out more before Netflix announces anything.