beyond stranger things

AMC’s ‘Talking Dead’, the post-‘Walking Dead’ chat show, is a certified hit all on its own and has led to a similar program ‘Talking Saul’ that compliments their other big buzzy hit ‘Better Call Saul’.  Clearly fans enjoy getting an inside look at their favorite water cooler shows, learning new tidbits and even getting a few teases to upcoming events.

But those chat shows come on directly after new episodes of their parent shows.  How could that format work for Netflix?  While Netflix doesn’t release its streaming information, we do know that ‘Stranger Things’ has a huge and passionate fanbase, so the streaming service has concocted ‘Beyond Stranger Things’, hosted by Jim Rash, featuring executive producer/director Shawn Levy and creators The Duffer Brothers, and a rotating roundtable of series stars and even a guest-star in one episode– Bill Nye, whose own chat show ‘Bill Nye Saves The World’ is also available on Netflix.

Chief content officer Ted Sarandos explained the rationale behind creating ‘Beyond Stranger Things’, saying:

“With the level of fandom on Stranger Things, it’s a nice way of extending the series and giving people that extra level of connection with the show when they’re all done but want more.”

But in one way, ‘Beyond Stranger Things’ varies from the likes of ‘Talking Dead’.  Instead of one episode following each episode of the regular show, all seven episodes were designed to be watched (or binged) after completing all of ‘Stranger Things 2’.

“We didn’t want to interrupt the show with the aftershow.  We knew early on that that’s not the way people consume Netflix and it’s definitely not the way people consume Stranger Things.”

Although a viewer could watch an episode of ‘Stranger Things 2’ followed by one episode of ‘Beyond Stranger Things’ if they wanted to, it doesn’t make sense, as the episodes of ‘Beyond’ aren’t designed to complement specific episodes, but the season as a whole.  Plus ‘Beyond’ is chocked full of spoilers if a viewer hasn’t seen all of Season Two.

While The Duffer Brothers appear, they had to be convinced to do it at all, since they aren’t accustomed to appearing in front of the camera.  Matt Duffer said that it was the selection of Rash as host that helped convince them.  “It went from me being wary about it to, ‘This is actually a lot of fun.'”

Netflix previously created a single episode post-show for ’13 Reasons Why’ called ‘Beyond the Reasons’, aimed at suicide prevention and Sarandos said that Netflix could potentially do additional chat shows for other hits.

“I think [it’d work for] shows like The OA that are super layered, where people can really tear apart what they think they just saw. And Black Mirror would be fun, too.”

‘Beyond’ was a fun watch, filled with creative insights (why did they choose The Police’s ‘Every Breath You Take’ for the final dance scene?) and other revelations (Jonathan is British?!).  Unfortunately, most of the adult cast members didn’t appear in person, but some submitted video commentaries.

Did you watch ‘Beyond’ after ‘ST2’?  Did you think the format worked for a Netflix show?  Or does this format only really work for shows like ‘The Walking Dead’ which air just one new episode a week?

Source: The Hollywood Reporter