Stranger Things is a catchall vision of the 1980s in which the government is conducting freaky mind experiments on children and creatures from a parallel dimension are running amok in Hawkins, Indiana. The clothes, props, and sets look amazing, and they’re good enough to inspire nostalgia in viewers who weren’t even alive in the greatest decade - but how accurate is Stranger Things to the '80s?
The crew behind the series puts in a crazy amount of work to make Stranger Things look as period-accurate as possible, including the Starcourt Mall where the kids hang out in Season 3, but sometimes anachronisms slip through. Don't let this ruin the show for you - it's still a lot of fun and there's nothing wrong with jamming to the Smiths a year before their first album was released. Whether it’s cars, songs, or toys, these items shouldn’t exist in Stranger Things.
Don't forget to also check out our list of shows like Stranger Things when you're done!
This anachronism feels off more so than many of the others collected here, specifically because it's so blatantly incorrect. In Season 2 of the series, a periodic table can be seen behind Mr. Clarke, and it's full of elements that had yet to be discovered.
The periodic table contains nine elements that weren't discovered until 1994 or later, including Darmstadtium (Ds), Roentgenium (Rg), and Copernicium (Cn).
The most glaring, in-your-face anachronism comes in the form of Barb's Rabbit convertible from 1988. The car is definitely a great ride for a suburban teenage girl, but it didn't exist in 1983.
Gearheads will notice that Barb's car features a plastic-covered bumper and small, inner headlights - features that weren't available until the end of the decade. The rest of the cars in the series are spot-on, so it's odd that this car slipped past inspection.
Season 2, episode 7 takes a trip to Chicago, where Eleven finds a whole family of misfits and another girl genetically altered by Hawkins Labs to hang out with. While some fans of the series found the narrative detour mind-boggling, it was fans from Chicago who were the most upset.
Citizens of the Second City were up in arms over the Chicago skyline and the inclusion of period-inaccurate buildings, including Trump International Hotel & Tower, the Two Prudential Plaza building, and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower. The oldest of these buildings is from the early '90s.
It's not just the skyline that got under the skin of Windy City residents - it's the mind-boggling geography used in the episode. Chicago lies west of Lake Michigan; however, when Eleven is seen on the roof of a building, the skyline is to the east, which means she should be in the middle of the Great Lakes.
In Season 1, episode 4, Sheriff Hopper notes that Joyce Byers takes Prozac for her anxiety; however, the antidepressant wasn't avalable until 1987, four years after the events of the series.
It's likely that this anachronism is just to keep the dialogue moving without having to stop and explain that people suffering from anxiety issues used different medications than what's available now.