While I have typically talked about books, I want to talk about something. It’s incredibly important and interesting to me, especially as we get closer and closer to October.
Stranger Things is a sci-fi TV show that embodies so much of the classic sci-fi movie structure that it seems both out of place and in place as a ‘TV show.’ The show is a great story. It’s got so many levels, so many plots working together that you could almost create different stories out of the different points of view.
In a book, that may not work, but in a television series, it does. It’s easy to layer in the visual and story elements together so that they link the viewer’s trip through the world. Like the string of lights, we are being led down path after path that eventually gets us to the full ending where we see all those threads twist together into a story that we cannot ignore.
Not only are the characters wonderful and deep and rich, but there is so much going on beyond them. But they are never merely just victims of that plot. They are actively fighting and participating in those stories.
That is where Stranger Things succeeds. There is an unfortunate move for plots in this day and age. There is a world where things are happening and our main character is caught up in this story. They make decisions but more often than not there is something beyond on them that negates their decisions.
That is not true of Stranger Things. Yes, there are things beyond their control, but characters are actively going out of their way to get involved in the story. Eleven does things that didn’t have to happen. She could have been swept up in the story and still would have met the same fate.
These characters move beyond that. Even when they are subject to the outside forces, they are doing something more. They are still exercising their autonomy within the story. This is why I am in love with the story. These characters are rich and active. They are part of the story, not defined it.
Some writers could really learn from the way that these characters are used. I hope they do.