Stranger Things is one of the best science fiction shows ever made, and a big part of why people love it so much is because it transports them back to the world of the 1980s. That process is no simple task. Every single shot has to be planned from the ground up to reflect the time period, and we shudder to think how many thousands of hours were spent tracking down shag carpet and old beer cans for that authentic look.
Netflix obviously wants Emmy voters to keep that in mind as voting for this year’s television awards show comes to a close. In 2017, Stranger Things was nominated for 18 Emmys, winning five. This year, Netflix has submitted the show for 21 categories, and this new video puts the spotlight on why they deserve the award for production design.
“They found these neighborhoods that seem completely unchanged from the 80s,” Matt Duffer said. “And then [production designer] Chris Trujillo takes those houses, uses them for inspiration, and then builds these incredible sets.”
“A big part of the initial process is location scouting,” Trujillo explained. “To create an authentic period world requires thousands of specific decisions. That sheet. That cassette tape on that bedroom dresser. That’s when it gets really nitty gritty with references and drawings. I get together with my set decorator and we talk about wallpaper and floor finishes and paint colors. It’s a really elaborate process from start to finish and it involves so many people.”
One of those people is set designer Jess Royal, whose job is to track down or recreate the massive list of 80s items being demanded.
“So you’re looking for old newspapers and packaging and paper cups and cans and things that are old,” Royal said. “I keep a Sears catalog on my desk for whatever year we’re shooting in and I have references, like a bible.”
All that effort really shines through in the finished product, with Stranger Things nailing that nostalgic vibe that anyone who’s watched movies from the era can feel. Hopefully, the show gets recognized when the Emmy nominations are announced, but if not maybe the third time will be a charm? Stranger Things season 3 is set to come out sometime early 2019.