As far as executive producer Shawn Levy is concerned, the strangest thing about “Stranger Things” has nothing to do with the mysteries that lurk in the Upside Down or the monsters that terrify townsfolk. It’s that a series about all of those things has been embraced and celebrated.
“I have to tell you, we had a sense that the show was unique and that it was cool. We had no idea whether people would watch, whether it would be embraced by the fancies, if you will,” Levy told CNN at a recent event at Netflix’s FYSee space, where it highlights its Emmy contenders.
To date, “Stranger Things” has walked away with honors from the Producers Guild Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Now it has the Emmys in its sights. Levy called the possibility of Emmy honors “the top of the mountain top.”
“It’s not what’s on our mind when we’re making the show, but it sure would thrill us for sure,” he said.
Levy thinks the secret to the show’s success has been honoring “character first.”
“Stranger Things” might exist in a world where things go bump in the night, but that means nothing if the stories don’t “service the warm-hearted center of this show above all else,” he said.
In the year since “Stranger Things” debuted, stars Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Noah Schnapp, Finn Wolfhard and Millie Bobby Brown have particularly been praised for their portrayals of their young characters.
“If you didn’t root for these kids the way all of us do, we wouldn’t be where we’re at — either commercially or critically,” Levy said.
Season 2 will give viewers even more reasons to root for the friends, as they will face “more and darker threats” while recovering from Season 1’s events.
“Trauma is a major theme and frankly the return to normalcy,” Levy said. “Is normal ever possible again in Hawkins [,Indiana]? In the Byers family? In the Wheeler family? … That’s a big question that looms over Season 2.”
Season 2 of “Stranger Things” will release on Netflix on October 31, 2017.