(A just for fun look at season one, with a few light spoilers, but not too much. You’ve been warned.)
This is not to say they were similar shows, or that Peaks played a heavy influence on the Duffer Brothers in the same way that E.T., The Goonies, Stephen King stories, and Alien (among others) clearly did. But I noticed a few things that hearken back to another show that dealt with a monstrous being from another dimension, a dark and strange place that is much closer than we realize…
1. Eleven coming out of the woods that first time looks just a bit like Ronette Pulaski, the other missing girl in Twin Peaks, with both in torn rags walking barefoot through the misty morning back to civilization. And neither girl was able to say much to explain where they'd been or what they'd seen, not at first at least.
2. Wood paneling everywhere. Seriously, I love the 80s, but the one thing I don’t miss was everyone’s obsession with brown color schemes and wood paneling.
3. Good girl from a good family in a nice house dates a douchebag (Steve/Mike) at school, but starts to fall for the handsome loner (Jonathan/James) who gets picked on but has a line on the strange stuff that has been going on in town. With plenty of will they/won't they. Am I talking about Nancy from Stranger…or Donna Hayward from Peaks? Steve, at least, got more likable as Stranger Things went on.
4. Both shows feature a hidden portal to a very strange and dark place out there beyond the woods, and one must find a way through the (scabby, gooey Contra-like portal/scorched puddle of oil) to get to this other realm to track down the evil baddie. Black Lodge, meet the UpsideDown.
5. And in both we have the tough old-school sheriff with his big ol’ hat and a strong right hook who goes beyond the law to get to the bottom of all the shenanigans going on in town. Truman and Hopper might have gotten along very well, I think.
6. And let’s face it, nobody knows where the hell their kids are in either show. Teens and kids are just roaming around, fighting monsters, solving murders, facing interdimentional beings, the tyoical weekend in the 80s.
Anyway, there's probably a lot more, and both shows are pretty ace, no matter how similar or vastly different they may seem. If only Stranger Things had been able to incorporate a few ominous owls or talking logs, the link would have been so much clearer!