The cliffhanger in ‘Stranger Things’: the utopia of entertainment

Why do we want to see more ‘Stranger Things’? (Source: Netflix)1Y1Fi woVMsVi5bSR2hp1jQ 2

have you eaten the last season from stranger things? Well of course I do. How not to do it. And how do you feel now, knowing that you won’t see Mike, Eleven and company again for a while (or maybe forever)? That feeling of emptiness is a bummer, yes, but it’s also a powerful weapon for companies that, like Netflix, they live from the series and they need you to want to see more. And that’s where the game comes into play. cliffhanger.

The cliffhanger is, literally translated, something hanging from a cliff: a final detail that leaves you with some irrepressible desire to see the next episode or season. It is not just a plot that is left open, but something that has immediate effects for the world of fiction: either we return with the next season or we will miss how this continues. And with something that plays both to the formula of the addictive and stranger thingsit is literally about hanging the viewer from a ravine.

These endings on hold (even the second, just as weak as the season itself) help generate expectation for the premieres, which since the peach of the first installment have been set on dates such as Halloween or the 4th of July. However, its meaning is something that goes far beyond mere commercial strategies. Because, ignoring the astronomical figures, stranger things It continues to be a series that handles genres and pop culture with ease, that excites and connects with people. Let’s review, to begin with, the cliffhangers of each season.

1QJr LLl plQykTkGBR7g AIt seems that Millie Bobby Brown also enjoyed filming. (Source: Netflix)

Season One: The Slug

After retrieving Will Byers from captivity, we saw Detective Hopper get into an unknown car, perhaps a government one. A month later, the main gang returned to their daily lives and Hopper left Eggos in a box in the woods, inviting us to think that Eleven had not died and that he was somewhere in the Upside Down. Will, for his part, was throwing up a slug that looked like a Demogorgon larva and escaping down the drain. In the end, the boy had visions in which he felt transported to the Upside Down World. In short: several open lines of argument and concrete signs that the thing was not over.

Season Two: The Mind Flayer Lives On

season two of stranger things came with a conclusion that left a much firmer sense of closure. Also after a time jump of a month, the Duffers took us to the emotional sequence of the high school dance, with Hopper and Joyce chatting in a parking lot and the children discovering part of their adolescence. In the end, in a way much more crude and ambiguous than in the first seasonthe camera literally turned around and entered the Upside Down, to show that the Mind Flayer was still alive and lurking, and to suggest that we might be hearing from him soon.

And finally, the damned Russians

In this last season, after the great battle in the Starcourt shopping center, the ellipsis has been not one but three months. While Steve and Robin were doing their thing, we have seen the Byers family say goodbye to their friends and Hawkins. with the glasses cliffhangerthe signs emerge and tell us that this is a fond farewell, but not a see you never: The truck in which the Byers are moving passes by while we are left with a sign that reads “Leaving Hawkins. come again soon”.

1O8dt8WmQD599DQzgvzKAkQThe gang has problems again with the Upside Down World. (Source: Netflix)

This is maybe the cliffhanger plus cliffhanger of the series, in the sense that it leaves us in a more awkward position. When the credits roll, the main song of the series does not play and the usual background is replaced by a black image with snow that we later discover is a camera flying over the night of Kamchatka, Russia. There, at a military base, two soldiers drag a prisoner to feed him to a white Demogorgon in a cage.

Also, we hear one of them say to the other “No. The American no” when he approaches one of the gates. There is, then, an American locked up in those facilities. It could be Hopper, who we didn’t actually see die; but also Dr. Brenner, one of the children with powers in the second season or the paranoid Murray Bauman. But the crumb here is not who will bebut how the Duffer brothers have managed to make us all excited for the arrival of a fourth season that, to this day, has not even been announced.

1udlmQqN Q 0a8l zpnmgvQ‘Stranger Things’ makes entertainment a utopia. (Source: Netflix)

Richard Dyer: the utopia of entertainment

The series has the habit of closing with epilogues that occur some time after the fact, but never before had it placed a post-credits scene in a season finale. With this, this third installment of stranger things it enters even more into what the theorist Richard Dyer calls entertainment as utopia. According to him, entertainment (content produced to generate profit) mainly seeks to produce pleasure to the public, and it does projecting images of ‘something better’. Fictions like stranger things they offer us an escape route, a utopia, where there are always alternatives and hopes.

Within popular culture (and, of that, stranger things knows a little), entertainment works based on those tensions between reality and pleasure that exist in escapism. And that pleasure is what these cliffhangers: the promise that the series will return. Morphine to endure the wait. Thus, its suspended endings do not mean anything other than the sincere promise that there is something to return to. That we will meet again with that scent of blockbusters summer, with that safe space, with that childhood culture. Because, whatever happens, we will always have stranger things.

The third season of ‘Stranger Things’ is available in full on demand on Netflix.

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The cliffhanger in ‘Stranger Things’: the utopia of entertainment


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