“We never would’ve upset you if we knew you had superpowers.”
INT. HOSPITAL, NORTH CAROLINA, 1984 – NIGHT
The hustle and bustle of a busy evening in the maternity ward thrums through the ears of MRS. DUFFER, a woman deep into a long, painful labour. The MIDWIFE had told her this would be tough, but she hadn’t considered just how tough it could be.
(Through gritted teeth).
This is tougher than I’d considered it could be!
With a final push, Mrs. Duffer gives birth to not one, but two baby boys. Twins.
Two boys. Twins! What will you call them?
The Duffer Brothers.
Should they not each have a different na-
(Cutting off the Midwife).
No. Not by boys. They’re stronger together. I’ll call them The Duffer Brothers, and that way they will always know that friendship and family are the truest bonds of all. A lesson that might come in handy for them at a later date.
Mrs. Duffer cradles her twin boys. A light flickers in the ward.
INT. TED’S BEDROOM. PHOENIX, 1984 – NIGHT
Future Netflix Chief Content Officer TED SARANDOS – a broad shouldered man with slicked back hair in his early twenties – awakens from his slumber. A flickering from his bedside lamp, and a most remarkable of dreams has disturbed him. He sits upright in a state of shock and tries to recall his dream. It had appeared as though a vision of what was yet to come. A scattering of words from his dream are left whirring around his mind; though he can’t quite place together the pieces of the puzzle. The lamp beside him continues to flicker frantically.
Digital video…a web that stretches the world…the Upside-Down…Flicks and Pieces…
The lamp stops its incessant quivering, the light at last settling with a steady glow and a low hum. Ted lies awake, restless, staring at the light, pondering the meaning of his vision.
EXT. MOUNT RUSHMORE, 2015 – NIGHT
The roar of an engine signals the arrival of the Netflix Quinjet, piloted by the TV giant’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, now in his fifties. He’s immaculately suited and booted, his ensemble topped off with a pair of kick ass shades. He just looks too damn cool flying a jet with his shades on to let a lack of sun make him take them off.
The sculptured face of George Washington on the Mount Rushmore National Memorial shifts, its mouth opening to reveal a runway. Ted hurtles the Quinjet down the landing strip, Washington’s mouth closing behind him, and pulls to a skidding halt inside the Netflix headquarters.
INT. NETFLIX HEADQUARTERS, 2015 – NIGHT
Ted jumps down gracefully from the Quintet, his energy and nimbleness belying his years. He’s driven and purposeful as he strides towards a pair of ornate wooden doors, decorated with fine gold detail. He enters a vast room holding an excessively large boardroom style table, at which are seated the Netflix hierarchy. Surrounding them, countless 4K televisions adorn the walls, filling the room from floor to ceiling, screening films and shows from the company’s ever-growing library of Originals.
A Netflix drone pulls out Ted’s chair for him and motions him to sit. Ted shuns the drone, instead taking position at the head of the table, arms outstretched.
Ladies. Gentlemen. Many years ago I had a dream. A vision, if you will. A vision that has driven me in each and every major life decision I’ve made ever since. Everything that has led me to this point. Finding the meaning of the vision has been my focus. The words I heard on that fateful night led to my decision to join this very company. The vision spoke of digital video, the World Wide Web, the Upside-Down, and Flicks and Pieces. When Netflix came along I gained an understanding of what part of what the message had meant. I knew that it was fated that I would end up here. It began to fall into place. A year ago when browsing the Web, I stumbled upon a blog, Flicks and Pieces – one of the prophesied phrases – and knew what I must do. It was my mission, my meaning in life, to give a platform to a TV show made just for the Flicks and Pieces editor, Luke.
A still silence fills the room.
After all, if Luke were to see such a show, and then share his thoughts with the tens of Flicks and Pieces readers, then maybe…just maybe, it might help to push Netflix to the next level. The question I hadn’t been able to answer though was just what that show would be.
Now I had naturally done all of the usual research on Luke. I’d run the Netflix algorithm on his viewing habits, but no matter how much data it ran through it would always suggest that he watches The Ridiculous 6 because he watched Fargo. It just wouldn’t do. So I flew out to the UK to personally track his viewing habits. And I saw a pattern emerge: The Goonies, Alien, E.T., Stand By Me, Star Wars, Poltergeist, The Thing – ’80s science fiction, horror, and coming of age classics galore. But how to harness all of these influences into just one TV show?
The answer: two gentlemen who go by the name, The Duffer Brothers.
Ted clicks his fingers, the 4K televisions begin to flicker, totally badass synth-heavy music starts to pulse through speakers and smoke fills the room. From behind Ted, the now grown Duffer Brothers enter.
A mere day ago, the Duffer Brothers came to pitch their show to me. An amalgamation of vintage ’80s cinema. A homage to Spielberg, King, Carpenter. A scary, yet heartwarming tale of friendship and family, with some of the most ridiculously cool kids in the world starring in the key roles alongside Winona goddamn Ryder. The biggest selling point that they pitched to me though, was the Upside-Down. The alternate version of our world which plays host to the show’s villainous monster. The Upside-Down, the final piece of my vision’s puzzle. It’s then that I realised that this is the show. The one that will be made just for Flicks and Pieces: Stranger Things.
Maybe I am a mess. Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I’m out of my mind! But, God help me, I will help these men to make this show up until the day I die if I think there’s a chance that it will help us grow even stronger.
THE DUFFER BROTHERS
Netflix is good and all, but I’m afraid the world’s not seen anything until it’s seen Stranger Things.
INT. FLICKS AND PIECES HEADQUARTERS, 2016 – DAY
Flicks and Pieces editor LUKE fires up Netflix and loads the latest of its Original series, Stranger Things. Eight hours pass, seemingly without Luke having batted an eyelid.
It. Is. Awesome.
The performances. The references to one of the finest eras in science fiction and horror cinema. The music. Stranger Things has it all, and it is perfect.
Well…that’s a definite five stars!
He grins like Dustin, and all is right with the world.
Rating (out of 5):