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'Stranger Things' renewed for season 2: Can the show sustain its popularity?

The Netflix summer hit has officially been renewed for more episodes. Will the second season be as satisfying for viewers?

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    'Stranger Things' stars Millie Bobby Brown​, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, and Caleb McLaughlin.
    Courtesy of Netflix
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The Netflix summer hit “Stranger Things” will reportedly return for a second season. 

“Stranger” stars Winona Ryder, Finn Wolfhard, and Millie Bobby Brown and debuted in July, following the Netflix model of all of the show’s episodes (eight for the current season) debuting at the same time. The show centers on a small Indiana town in the 1980s, where a young boy has gone missing. 

The show quickly developed something of a cult following, particularly among viewers intrigued by the show's nostalgic nods to 1980s film and television, and generated quite a bit of buzz on social media. The question remains, however, whether the program will be able to keep its popularity high for a second set of episodes? That may depend on how well the show's creators are able to pivot to a new storyline while keeping the feel of the show that first enchanted viewers.

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Because the show airs on Netflix, TV watchers and critics alike know only that the show has been much-talked-about this summer, as Netflix usually does not release ratings for their programs. Symphony Advanced Media released ratings recently that reported “Stranger” was the third-most-viewed original show on Netflix to come out within the past year. (Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer, wouldn’t discuss whether the numbers from Symphony or Nielsen, which also released numbers that it said were Netflix ratings, were correct during a recent Television Critics Association press tour event but noted that Symphony and Nielsen reported two different numbers for the same show, “Orange Is the New Black.”)

According to Variety, the second season of “Stranger” will arrive in 2017 and be slightly longer than the first, with nine episodes coming viewers’ way rather than eight again.

One possible sign of hope for the creative success of a second season is that Ross and Matt Duffer, who created the show, say they’re inspired by movie sequels that “aspire to pivot and do something different,” Matt Duffer told Entertainment Weekly

Matt Duffer named well-reviewed movie sequels such as “Aliens” and “Terminator 2” as those that he and his brother are looking to. Both are directed by James Cameron. 

“I think one of the reasons [Cameron’s] sequels are as successful as they are is he makes them feel very different without losing what we loved about the original,” he said.

And critics seem to feel that season one of the Netflix show had various plotlines that could continue, rather than those behind “Stranger” dragging out stories for a second season. 

“Part of the reason we're so excited about the show is because of all the doors it leaves open for a potential Season 2,” IGN writer Terri Schwartz wrote of the program.

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