Remember those eerie phone calls?
Remember those eerie phone calls?

What you need to remember about Stranger Things

STRANGER Things is back but if you can't remember what happened the first time around, we don't blame you. It has been over a year since we first met Eleven.

Here's a handy refresher on everything you need to know before you binge on the second instalment later tonight.

HAWKINS

Stranger Things is set in Hawkins, Indiana, a fictional town in the US where nothing ever happens except an occasional rogue magpie swooping on an old woman's head.

Of course, it's always the underbelly of these seemingly perfect places that provide the richest storytelling possibilities - in this case, a government-run "energy" facility that performs tests on telepathic children and functions as the gateway to the "Upside Down", a parallel demon dimension of sorts.

EIGHTIES BONANZA

The first series takes place near the end of the 1983 - a time when parents happily let their kids loose and unsupervised, roaming around town on their little bikes.

The series is jam-packed with references to the era, designed as homage to the likes of Stephen King and Steven Spielberg. It also effectively flashes back to the eighties with its killer soundtrack featuring the likes of The Clash, Joy Division and The Bangles.

THE KIDS

The core group in Stranger Things is Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Will (Noah Schnapp) - four prepubescent besties who stay in constant contact through their walkie-talkies. At the beginning of the series, Will is abducted by a supernatural being and his disappearance is the mystery of the series.

Mike, Lucas and Dustin form a search party, determined to find Will. Instead, they come across Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), a shaven-head girl their age with little speech or sense of the world but with kick-arse telekinetic powers (ie. she can move things - like a van - with her mind). Mike hides Eleven in his basement and he slowly falls in puppy love with her. Eleven really likes Eggo's, a brand of frozen waffles.

No adult supervision.
No adult supervision.

THE SHADY GOVERNMENT LAB

Eleven, nicknamed El, was the subject of inhumane government experiments carried out by Dr. Martin Brenner. He took a young Eleven from her mother Terry Ives, who was presumed to be a part of MKUltra, a CIA-mind-control program.

Brenner had Eleven call him Papa even though his experiments on her were sometimes akin to torture. Brenner and his cronies were killed by the Demogorgon, a demonic monster, during a climax at the school at the end of the first season.

SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT

Nancy (Natalia Dyer) is the older sister of Mike and friend of Barb (Shannon Purser). When Nancy and the disapproving Barb were hanging out at Steve's (Joe Keery) - Nancy's boyfriend - house, Barb disappears after the sinister sound of leaves rustling is heard in the background.

Her vanishing is kind of captured in a photo taken by Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), the older brother of Will (the missing kid). Jonathan is regarded as a freak by his classmates but we all know he's actually cool because he's into The Clash and Talking Heads, a sign of coolness if there ever was one. He's also got a thing for Nancy. The two pair up to look for Barb and the monster they both think they saw and end up wandering into the Upside Down before being rescued.

Barb dies and barely anyone notices. Oh well.

Minor character turned viral sensation.
Minor character turned viral sensation.

T HE GROWN-UPS

When Will's mum Joyce (Winona Ryder) receives phone calls from Will after his disappearance, she's convinced he's still alive, even after they find his body in the local quarry, which is later discovered as a fake.

Joyce thinks Will is trying to communicate to her through the electricity and she builds a complicated wall of light, a kind of colourful Ouija board. It's pretty effective, even when the Demogorgon is threatening to come through her walls.

Joyce is aided in her quest by the town Sheriff, Jim Hopper (David Harbour), a grizzled cop who lost his own young daughter to cancer a few years ago. She's dogged and smart.

Mike's parents are clueless and seem to have no idea what their kids were up to, even when the government comes knocking on their door.

EPILOGUE

After Eleven destroyed the Demogorgon with her powers, she disappeared along with the monster.

A month after the perilous events, the four boys are back playing Dungeons & Dragons in Mike's basement but Mike is missing Eleven. Nancy is still with Steve and the townsfolk think Barb just ran away.

Hopper is seen getting into a government car and he also leaves Eggo's waffles in a box in the wood - maybe for Eleven?

Then, dun dun dun, we see Will cough up a gooey slug-like creature, a souvenir from his time in the Upside Down.

Stranger Things 2 drops tonight on Netflix from 6pm AEDT.

For geek-outs about movies and TV, follow @wenleima on Twitter.



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