(Just for fun, and 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.
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?
4. There’s a 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 there.
5. Tough old-school sheriff with his big ol’ hat and a strong right hook goes beyond the law to sneak into illicit dens of sin/science to find a missing teen girl/pre-teen boy. Truman and Hopper might have gotten along very well.
6. And let’s face it, nobody knows where the hell their kids are in either show. But that was pretty common in the 80s, early 90s, so, maybe that one is up for debate.
Anyway, 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!