Stranger Things Season 1 | Explain, Story, Scenes

The first season of Stranger Things premiered on Netflix on July 15, 2016. It consists of eight episodes ranging from forty-two to fifty-five minutes in length.

Set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana in 1983, the season is about the disappearance of Will Byers and the ensuing search for him by family, friends and the local authorities.

Imagined by its creators as an eight-hour blockbuster film, it was inspired by and pays homage to classic genre films of the 1980s — in particular the films of Steven Spielberg and John Carpenter, as well as the novels of Stephen King.

The season received critical and audience acclaim and was praised for its directing, acting performances, title sequence, and synth-heavy score.

When a young boy vanishes, a small town uncovers a mystery involving secret experiments, terrifying supernatural forces, and one strange little girl.

Stranger Things Season one poster

Season 1 Summary Stranger Things

Young Will Byers is cycling home from a disappointing “Dungeons & Dragons” campaign at a friend’s house when a terrifying figure suddenly appears… Will tries to escape and hide, but he is abducted…

Will‘s friends Dustin, Lucas and Mike begin investigating his disappearance; while looking for Will in the local forest, the boys find a girl with a shaved head in a hospital gown, who they let stay in Mike’s basement. They learn her name is Eleven and that she has psychokinetic abilities.

Will’s mother Joyce becomes transfixed by supernatural events affecting the house electricity – she’s convinced Will is communicating with her. As these strange events continue, she witnesses the same monster that took Will, which threatens her on numerous occasions.

Meanwhile, police chief Jim Hopper grows suspicious of the nearby national laboratory after he finds a torn piece of hospital gown outside the lab grounds. Mike’s older sister Nancy attends a pool party hosted by her new boyfriend Steve, begrudgingly accompanied by her best friend Barb. Jonathan, Will’s brother, witnesses the events of the party, taking photos. While alone, Barb is abducted by the Monster.

Hopper researches Dr. Martin Brenner, the laboratory, and a woman, who claimed her daughter was taken by scientists. Steve discovers Jonathan’s photographs and destroys them, but an anxious Nancy retrieves the fragments of a photo showing Barb. She goes back over to Steve’s house, to look around for Barb – she briefly sees the Monster run through the woods, scaring her and prompting her to flee.

What appears to be Will’s body is discovered in a quarry; however, Eleven proves Will is still alive, manipulating several radios to project the sound of Will‘s voice. Examining Jonathan’s photo of Barb, Nancy realizes the monster is also visible.

Jonathan realizes that Nancy’s description of the creature matches his mother’s: a humanoid figure with long arms and no face. They team up to learn more about the creature, in the hopes of saving Will and Barb. The two teens look around Hawkins, hoping to find the creature and potentially kill it.

A suspicious Hopper finds and cuts open Will‘s body, discovering it to be fake. He heads to the laboratory and breaks in, finding Eleven‘s bedroom and a huge, sprawling gate to an alternate dimension before being knocked out by agents.

He wakes up in his own home and finds it bugged. After pulling together all their knowledge and speculation on the supernatural events, the boys search for a hypothetical Gate to the other world, which they’ve now nicknamed the Upside Down.

The boys eventually realize that a fearful Eleven – afraid of the lab and the Upside Down – has been misguiding them while exploring through Hawkins. A fight breaks out, resulting in Lucas being injured by Eleven and the group splitting up.

Throughout the season, Eleven experiences a series of painful flashbacks to the experimentation conducted on her by Dr. Brenner at the laboratory. This culminates with a flashback to an experiment in which she was placed in a sensory deprivation tank. Within an altered psychic state, she accidentally opened the Gate to the Upside Down after making contact with the creature.

After sharing what they know, Hopper and Joyce track down Terry Ives, learning more about Eleven and Dr. Brenner. While Lucas attempts to once more find the Gate, Mike and Dustin find Eleven, who saves Mike from falling off the cliff. The trio then reconciles with a hug and return to Mike’s house. Lucas sees agents leaving the laboratory, realizing they are on their way to capture Eleven. Mike, Dustin, and Eleven narrowly escape, reuniting with Lucas.

Joyce and Hopper return to Hawkins, sharing their knowledge of the creature with Nancy and Jonathan. Joyce, Hopper, Nancy and Jonathan contact and eventually find the kids, formulating a plan to make a sensory deprivation tank to enhance Eleven’s powers – this way, she can psychically view Will and Barb without entering the Upside Down.

The group break into Hawkins Middle School and set up their makeshift tank there. Using the tank, Eleven discovers Barb to be dead and Will alive, hiding in Castle Byers, his makeshift fort. Hopper and Joyce break into Hawkins Laboratory to pass through the Gate and save Will but are apprehended by security. Nancy and Jonathan resolve to kill the monster. In the Upside Down, the monster breaks through Castle Byers, taking Will.

Interrogated by Brenner, Hopper gives up Eleven’s location in exchange for access to the Gate. Hopper and Joyce enter the Upside Down, discovering the creature’s nest, where an unconscious Will has been strung up with a tendril extending down his throat.

After detaching and killing the creature, Hopper and Joyce attempt to revive Will, and Hopper remembers the moment his daughter died – he’s determined to spare Joyce from the same grief. Will is eventually found and revived, and the three return through the Gate. Meanwhile, Nancy and Jonathan set up a trap at the Byers house before cutting their hands to attract the creature with their blood.

Steve arrives, intending to apologize to Jonathan and Nancy following a previous argument. The monster attacks, and although Nancy, Jonathan and Steve successfully injure and trap it, it escapes to the Upside Down.

At the school, Dustin attempts to find food as Mike and Eleven share an intimate moment. However, agents arrive and storm the school, but Eleven kills many of them, crushing their brains.

As Brenner recovers a weakened Eleven, the wounded monster, attracted by the bloodshed, enters the school and attacks Brenner. The boys escape with Eleven and hide in a classroom with Mike trying to calm her, but the monster finds and attacks them.

However, before it could harm the boys, Eleven pins the creature against a wall, looks back and says goodbye to Mike. In a painful and self-destructive act, Eleven dissolves the creature into a thick mist in which she too vanishes. Mike is left in tears as Eleven vanishes. Will is hospitalized and reunited with his family and friends. Hopper is reluctantly picked up by a black government car.

One month later, Nancy has gotten back together with Steve, and they’ve both befriended Jonathan. The four boys play D&D in Mike’s basement, where Mike has kept Eleven’s pillow fort in perfect condition in regards to her memory.

Hopper leaves eggos in a concealed box in the woods. Will coughs up a slug-like creature in his bathroom sink and has a momentary flash into the Upside Down, though he doesn’t reveal the event to his family.

Season 1 All Episodes

Season one of Stranger Things Cast

Main cast

Recurring cast

  • Joe Keery as Steve Harrington
  • Rob Morgan as Officer Powell
  • John Paul Reynolds as Officer Callahan
  • Joe Chrest as Ted Wheeler
  • Anniston and Tinsley Price as Holly Wheeler
  • Noah Schnapp as Will Byers
  • Mark Steger as The Demogorgon
  • Randy Havens as Scott Clarke
  • Catherine Dyer as Connie Frazier
  • Peyton Wich as Troy Walsh
  • Cade Jones as James Dante
  • Ross Partridge as Lonnie Byers
  • Chester Rushing as Tommy H.
  • Chelsea Talmadge as Carol
  • Shannon Purser as Barbara Holland
  • Chris Sullivan as Benny Hammond
  • Aimee Mullins as Terry Ives
  • Amy Seimetz as Becky Ives

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