I’ve long believed that Netflix’s secret sauce is nostalgia. Consider how many of their popular original shows trade on concepts from the recent past (specifically between the 1970s-1990s): Stranger Things, Glow, The Get Down, and Narcos… even Marvel’s superhero shows feel reminiscent of 70s genre classics like Serpico, Death Wish, and The Warriors.
Netflix has dodged the “nostalgia” label for years; Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos, recently told the Washington Post:
“We’re looking, always, for the great stories. We’re not setting out to find nostalgic projects, but sometimes in the hunt for great stuff, somebody has a great take on something that is hugely familiar.”
Fair enough, Ted, but the aforementioned evidence is pretty overwhelming. Case in point, the marketing trailers and teasers leading-up to this October’s return of Stranger Things, which focuses squarely on that once-great relic of the 80s: the video arcade. Is there possibly anything more retro than the bleeps, glonks, and synthesized sounds of Pac-Man, Zaxxon, Donkey Kong, and Asteroids blasting out of the corner party store or your neighborhood strip mall?
Netflix has released the absolutely amazing “Level Up” trailer we’ve linked above, which brilliantly summarizes the events of Stranger Things Season 1, via a video montage that’s essentially an homage to Super Mario Bros., Ultima, and Castlevania (with maybe a little Street Fighter thrown in for good measure). It’s exactly the kind of clever, offbeat, and pitch-perfect storytelling that made this series such a massive, breakout hit summer. It’s totally making me daydream about lining-up quarters on the top of Defender, Joust, and Centipede machines at my neighborhood bowling alley everyday after school!
Ted Sarandos can duck and dodge these accusations of nostalgia all he wants, but it’s pretty clear from this “Level Up” trailer that the folks behind Stranger Things Season 2 know exactly who they’re talking to.
What did you think of the Stranger Things “Level-Up” recap trailer? Let us know in the comments down below!
Stranger Things Season 2 hits Netflix on October 31, 2017.