“Stranger Things” Sci-Fi Series Isn’t All That Strange

Supernatural thriller lovers, get ready. Netflix’s original series Stranger Things Season 2 is airing one week from today. All nine episodes will premiere October 27 on Netflix worldwide, giving sci-fi junkies like myself the perfect opportunity to binge-watch the new Halloween-themed season before Halloween itself.

Set in the early 1980s, Stranger Things follows the lives of a group of boys in Hawkins, Indiana who stumble upon a secretive government research project and a telekinetic girl after their friend Will Byers mysteriously disappears. And of course, there’s a sinister alternate universe called the Upside Down that houses a predatory humanoid monster who uses a portal to change dimensions and infiltrate the small town in Indiana.

But what strikes me the most about this shiver-inducing storyline is the main villain: It’s not the monster from the dark, cold parallel universe but rather the force that unleashes this creature—the government.

I wonder if the show intentionally connected the monster to the government as a nod to Friedrich Nietzsche’s critique: “A state, is called the coldest of all cold monsters.”

The sci-fi drama takes its real-world parallels a step further. Beyond unleashing an evil monster, the government villain uses a shady scientific program called MK-Ultra to carry out mind control and hypnosis experiments—the coldness of the state at its finest.

Stranger Things, Season 1

Which is eerily similar to the real CIA’s MK-Ultra mind control research program that was created in the 1950s and used until 1973—”details of the illicit program didn’t become public until 1975, during a congressional investigation into widespread illegal CIA activities within the United States and around the world.”

I guess the possibility of government mind control doesn’t just exist in science fiction.

And apparently Stranger Things’s portrayal of the U.S. Energy Department exploring parallel universes has some real-world truth to it, too.

Here’s to hoping Season 2 will include more hair-raising adventures and other creepy revelations about real-life government programs.