Stranger Things

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I am writing this post just a few hours before the official release of Stranger Things 2, and I am not the only one who is excited. I don’t watch “TV” much (sorry for failing to find a more suitable term for a platform that’s anything but TV), but watching Stranger Things a year ago was such a great experience that a second season is a good enough reason for a small celebration.

I am not a TV (here’s that term again) critique. Far from it. Like many others, I just like what I like. So, you might wonder what makes Stranger Things so special that I am writing about it? Well, I think the reason I (and probably many others) got hooked on it from the first scene just happens to be a great example of how creativity works. Let me explain…

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you already know how much I love the idea of collecting (and then using) raw material. Any creative act is based first and foremost on having diverse raw material. Creativity depends on having such a pool of fragments, collected over time, not even knowing how and if they will be used. The magic happens when some of these ingredients create a new surprising dish.

Sometimes, when examining creative results, whether it is in the context of art, science, business, tech, or any other domain, we can trace at least some of these raw materials. We can identify them and realize how they affected the result. They are not always apparent. The connection between the raw material and the final result can be very vague – but it is always there, even if no one (not even the creator) can articulate it.

The craziest thing about it is that the result is unlike any of the fragments used to create itClick To Tweet

One of the reasons I loved to watch Stranger Things is that almost every scene brought back memories of something from the 80s. The raw material used to create this original series was all over the place. If you grew up in the 80s, watching this series was like entering the ultimate 80s museum. From the logo design to the soundtrack, from the photography to the references to classic 80s movies, from the props to the colors – everything was directly inspired (or even taken) from a cultural piece of that era. And the craziest thing about this jigsaw puzzle is that its creators managed to bring to life something completely fresh and different – something unlike any of the fragments used to create it.

This is the essence of any creative act. But Stranger Things is a beautiful example of that because it is so clear. The raw material is not just hidden under layers of adaptation. It is practically part of the experience, without taking anything of the originality of the final product.