Befitting the unexpected blockbuster launch of Stranger Things last year, the series from twin brothers Matt and Ross Duffer pulled 18 Emmy nominations this morning, including nominations for Directing, Writing and Outstanding Drama Series.
Even with the TV Academy love today, the brothers still don’t know exactly what it was that launched their series into the stratosphere. “I don’t think anyone really was expecting it. I think everyone involved with it was very passionate about it. I think that comes through, and I think the ensemble in general—and particularly, the kids—I think everybody really connected to them,” says Matt Duffer. “I think that’s really what it was. I think people fell in love with these kids.”
Currently in the process of editing the second season, the Duffers teased a bit of what’s to come in the highly-anticipated, October-premiering second season. “We just did color and mixing on the first few episodes, so we’re over halfway through, really. It is a bigger season in some regards, but a lot of it is just new to us, sitting and going through visual effects shots. We had some last year, but we have many more this year, so that’s a new experience for us,” Ross Duffer says.
“But it’s all coming together. This is our favorite part, honestly, when you have the score in there, the color gets done, and it’s suddenly like, ‘Oh my god. It’s a finished show.’ ”
“It’s tricky,” Matt adds, commenting on the challenging job of the secrecy-tinged series. “I love that there’s so much interest, but I think part of the reason the show did well is because people knew nothing about it, going in. You want to preserve some of that.
Touching on David Harbour’s impassioned, indirectly political speech at the SAG Awards this year, the Duffers discussed the effect the ’80s-nostalgic show is having in this current moment, and the way it functions in relation to the world we live in now. “There’s one aspect of it that’s an escape, but I also think it’s a time politically where there’s a lot of conflict, and people are very divided.” Ross Duffer says. “What we’re trying to do in this show is that different people can come together, outsiders can come together, and they can make the world a better place.”
“It’s a simple message. It’s not trying to be too much. It’s just like, with your family and your friends, you are powerful. You may think you live in a normal house in Everywhere, U.S.A., but I think you can make a difference. When we were growing up in the suburbs of North Carolina, that’s the kind of stories that really resonated with us,” he adds.
Says Matt: “There’s a lot of really great television about anti-heroes, or bad people who are fun to watch, so for us, we wanted to do something about good people.”