This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The latest Netflix series to catch the imagination of subscribers is all about "Stranger Things." The 10-part sci-fi show revolves around the disappearance of a young boy, after he encounters a strange creature, and his friends' search for him. A whole lot of very odd things happen along the way.
Otherworldly would be one way to describe it.
The show features familiar adult faces, like Matthew Modine and Winona Ryder. But the younger actors take center stage. And they encountered some "Stranger Things" that had nothing to do with the supernatural.
To 13-year-old Gaten Matarazzo, who stars as Dustin Henderson, the 1980s seem like something from another world.
"Nowadays, you don't see kids riding their bikes," he said. "You don't see kids hanging out in each other's houses anymore," he said. "They're always, like [staring at their cellphones, saying] 'Hey, look! I caught a Pikachu.' 'I'm gonna text my friend.' "
And he's astonished at how teens communicated in the 1980s.
"Holding the giant walkie-talkies was crazy," said Matarazzo. "The antennas would go up to the ceiling. It was, like, 'Whoa. Look at that!' "
Millie Brown, the 12-year-old who stars as Eleven a girl with psychokinetic abilities was amazed by the way kids listened to music in the 1980s.
"I had no idea what a record player actually was," she said. "It had, like, a stick. It was so weird."
(It's not inaccurate to refer to the phonograph arm as "a stick." Just sort of weird.)
Brown got a record for Christmas, "And I got to play a ton of records on it. So I now know what that is."
Caleb McLaughlin, 12, who stars as Lucas Sinclair, was astonished by "the big hair" and was quite taken with the parachute pants which he found particularly, well, airy during filming.
"It was hot outside, and they would still feel really comfortable," he said. "I'm, like, 'Why am I not sweating?' "
Matarazzo agreed that the wardrobe was cool specifically, it was "cool to be in the shoes of a kid that was in the '80s. It's cool to be in the shoes my dad used to [wear] when he was a kid.
"I just thought it was, like, really fun to be a kid in the '80s when I was shooting."
Yes, 30 years have passed since the 1980s. And, if you're a 12- or 13-year-old, 30 years seems like a very long time.
Still, if you were a kid in the 1980s, it's somewhat jarring to hear Brown refer to "Stranger Things" as "a great period piece." C'mon, it's not as if they're wearing petticoats and waltzing, right?
The kids in "Stranger Things" weren't criticizing that long-ago 1980s era. They were just amazed at how quaint it seemed.
Matarazzo said it was "great" to spend "a whole half a year" filming "in a different decade."
And almost as strange as the supernatural elements in "Stranger Things."
Scott D. Pierce covers TV for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.