This week we take a look at Beyond Stranger Things, which marks Netflix’s first foray into after show programming. It’s produced by Embassy Row, the production company behind Walking Dead after show, Talking Dead.
Available since the same day season two landed, Beyond Stranger Things is hosted by writer, producer, actor, super fan, and most importantly, Dean Pelton from Community, Jim Rash. Joining Rash over seven episodes are creators Matt and Ross Duffer, executive producer Shawn Levy, and the cast — Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin and Noah Schnapp, amongst others. There are also special guests – an episode featuring Bill Nye, explaining the science of the Upside Down to the young cast is a particular highlight.
Beyond goes fully in on spoiler chat, so be warned you definitely need to make sure you’ve watched the entire second season of the main show before you dive in. Once you do though it’s a really enjoyable and interesting watch, as it explores inspiration for the series, behind-the-scenes stories, and analyses every aspect of the second season whilst answering all the burning questions you likely have. Unfortunately not ‘why did episode seven feel like the shoddy pilot of a completely different show that you just shoehorned in?’, though.
Filmed on a set made to look like the basement Mike and the gang play D&D in, one of the most enjoyable parts of the show is seeing just how much of a family the cast and crew are. You can tell everyone genuinely likes spending time with each other, and there are some really funny natural moments throughout, especially watching some of the main cast reacting to their original audition tapes.
Beyond is also a show that embraces fan interaction – each episode opens with a series of quick graphics inspired by what fans have created online along with the distinctive text of the series. The opening visuals were also designed by a Stranger Things fan, graphic artist Wahyu “Pinot” Ichwandardi, and the opening theme music is a remix composed by another self-proclaimed super fan, Daniel Rosenfeld.
This concept is obviously not a new one, as Stranger Things is just the latest series to get the after show treatment. AMC is perhaps the network most known to use the format, with Walking Dead (Talking Dead), Breaking Bad (Talking Bad) & Better Call Saul (Talking Saul) all being pretty successful. HBO tried its hand at the trend too, with After the Thrones, a Game of Thrones post-show. Although that’s pretty widely disliked. Other series to attempt after shows with varying degrees of success, are Mr. Robot, Bates Motel, Orphan Black, Doctor Who, Nashville and Bachelor in Paradise.
So Beyond Stranger Things is in no way original, but it finds it’s success in the enthusiasm of Jim Rash, the genuinely interesting behind the scenes insights and the obvious chemistry the cast and crew share. If you’ve binged season two and aren’t quite ready to leave Hawkins behind, this is a must watch.
Check out our review of season two here.