The summer of 2016 saw the premiere of Netflix’s hit show Stranger Things‘ become one of the streaming service’s biggest and most profitable series of that year. Some were initially unsure of how far the show would go. David Harbour who stars as Chief Jim Hopper is one of those people most surprised by the success of ‘Stranger Things” as he originally thought the series would end shortly after its debut.
His initial apprehension is understandable, stemming from the series’ featuring a young cast that lacked major stars, virtually unknown creators, and the fact that the series came almost out of nowhere. Harbour spoke of his original trepidation on the fate of the show at an appearance on ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.’
“I was sure it was gonna be a complete disaster and a big failure, because, before it came out — I remember when we were shooting, too, we would all sit around talking about how terrible it was gonna be, mainly because of my performance. I thought I was tanking the whole show. And then, before it came out, you normally see things on buses. I live in New York. I’m wandering around, buses, phone booths, there’s ads for shows. Not a single ad. Three weeks before the show, a week before the show, and I was doing a play with a friend of mine who’s on a very successful television program, and I said to him, ‘No ads, no ads. I guess they’re doing some kind of new campaign.’ He said, ‘No, they’re burying the show.’ And I said, ‘What does that mean, burying the show? I don’t understand your television lingo.’ And he said, ‘They hate the show, they’re trying to make sure no one watches it.'”
Not too long after Netflix released the series, Harbour had countless acquaintances from his past reaching out to him to show their support, proving his theory about the show to be wrong.
The actor recalled:
“And then the show came out and it was an overnight zeitgeist success. My phone, I have a bunch of telephone numbers in my phone for people that… like… I’ll have a driver, five years ago, say, ‘Put my number in your phone,’ and I put it in the phone. And then I would get texts from drivers from the last 10 years, ‘I saw ‘Stranger Things.’ It’s so good!’ That’s when I kinda knew that it took off, but before that, I really thought it was gonna be nothing and then people sort of embraced it and it became this grassroots event and it’s very gratifying.”
You can catch the first three seasons of ‘Stranger Things’ on Netflix now. Season Four is set to shoot next year.