‘Stranger Things 4’ is already the most watched English series on Netflix. But his success has a dark side

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In the absence of releasing the second half of the fourth season, which will arrive on July 1, Netflix can already consider that the return of ‘Stranger Things’ has been a resounding success. In just 17 days since its premiere, it has become the most watched English-language series in the history of the platform. And this is both a success and a certificate of some problems.

The figures of fame. 781.04 million accumulated hours is the amount of time that platform customers have spent watching the series, a figure that has never been achieved so quickly before. The series of the Duffer brothers thus surpasses ‘The Bridgertons‘ whose second (656 million) and first (625 million) seasons drop to second and third place in the Netflix ranking.

It is not the only record that the series has broken: it was the best premiere on the platform in its first weekend, with 286.79 million hours on those days. In its first week, another record: 335.01 million hours in its initial seven days. At the moment, in the general ranking it is only surpassed by a non-English series, ‘The Squid Game’, still far from being reached, with 1.65 billion hours watched.

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The drag effect. Also, there is an added effect on success. The serial character of ‘Stranger Things’ creates a knock-on effect on previous seasons: in the week of June 6 to 12, the entire series took over the top four positions in the ranking of viewings: ‘Stranger Things 2’ was the second With 52.42 million hours, the first season was third with 5.3 million hours and ‘Stranger Things 3’ remained fourth with 47.6 million hours.

These data make us think about the dilemma that Netflix has before it: ‘Stranger Things’ boasts overwhelming figures, but it does not generate new successes. And it cannot be said that it does not try: just today, Netflix announced that it launches a contest inspired by ‘The Squid Game‘. And his second season, which a few days ago showed a first teaserwas not planned with the filming of the first one, so it can be considered almost a spinoff continuation, more than a second classic season.

And they are not the only ones. It is noted that when Netflix has something in its hands that provides good audiences, it makes an effort to produce new content. The international success of the Spanish ‘The paper house’ has led to the filming of remakes adapted to the idiosyncrasies of each country, such as ‘The paper house – Korea’. And formats that work, like reality couples or Bollywood movies, encourage similar releases in short periods of time.

The consequences of success. However, the success has not had a similar effect on ‘Stranger Things’. The series has not generated spin offs direct, and it will not be because the imprint of the success of the series, six years after its premiere in 2016, has not been noticed. To begin with, he can be blamed almost alone for the crazy rise in subscribers that the platform had that year at an international level, reaching 158.33 million, something amazing in times prior to the total domination of the streaming in the audiovisual.

And not only that: ‘Stranger Things’ bears much of the responsibility for certain elements of the series becoming fashionable again. The clearest example is Stephen King (the Duffers wanted to make an adaptation of ‘It’ but couldn’t get the rights), who a year later released, precisely, a new film version of ‘It’. In general, ’80s nostalgia had been at work for a few years now, but the series massed it, as it massed synth soundtracks, ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ and ’80s teen movies.

A scant echo. But as we say, that effect has hardly been specifically reflected in Netflix. Some ’80s nostalgia documentary series, like ‘The Toys that Made Us’ and ‘The Movies that Made Us’, and series and shows with protagonists straight out of Stranger Things and an appropriately dark tone. For example, Millie Bobby Brown in ‘Enola Holmes’, Gaten Matarazzo in ‘Chamber of Terror’ and Sadie Sink in ‘Fright Street’

A very limited echo, beyond the fact that the results of proposals such as ‘La calle del terror’ were very interesting. There are no spin-offs, there are no direct continuations, and although it is a relief in these times of continuous saturation of franchised products, as competitors such as Disney + demonstrate, it is also proof that, in a certain sense, Netflix does not know what to do to extend the success of ‘Stranger Things’.

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Any possible solution. At the moment, it has divided season 4 into two blocks to cushion the possible pernicious effect on its final viewing figures that the binge-watching. And in the not too distant future we will see a season 5 that may serve to open new plot doors, with the actors already having left far behind the childhood age with which they began.

In the meantime, Netflix has to find an exploitation strategy that allows it to prolong these successes. Disney+ has a hat with two openings, Marvel and Star Wars, from which you can extract infinite rabbits. And DC has some strong franchise (DC heroes) and a lot more muscle when it comes to producing series. Will we see with the end of ‘Stranger Things’ notorious changes in the status quo of streaming?

In the absence of releasing the second half of the fourth season, which will arrive on July 1, Netflix can…

In the absence of releasing the second half of the fourth season, which will arrive on July 1, Netflix can…

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