Here's the bare minimum you need to know about Stranger Things to make it through a Millennial brunch. Maybe you don't have Netflix, maybe you don't like spooky stuff, maybe you just don't care. Anyway, the excellent nerd explainer channel Alt-Shift X is here to save your too-cool-for-online-TV butt. The video is over 16 minutes long, but you really only need the first 10 to wing it. Scroll down for bullet points.
(Full disclosure: I am one of those people who does not care enough to actually watch. Here's my summary from watching this summary.)
1. The show is centered around a Big Secret Government Project, loosely inspired by the real world mind control experiments the government carried out in the mid-20th Century, known as MK Ultra.
2. The show takes place years after the original MKUltra-like program. One of the show's main characters, Eleven (you've probably heard of her, she's the shaved-head girl with powers) is the daughter of one of the original patients, who was given a mind-expanding drug while she was pregnant.
3. Dr. Brennan, the Big Secret Government Project's lead scientist, essentially kidnapped Eleven and has been raising her in the lab, perhaps posing as her father. She is very angry and has not been treated humanely.
4. Eleven can do a kind of psychic projection thing, listening to people far away by going to a kind of void-like realm, that the US Gov't uses to spy on Russians.
5. While there, Eleven meets an effed-up interdimensional monster. It has five outward-folding flaps full of teeth instead of a face. Dr. Brennan orders her to touch it. This opens up a dimensional portal through which the monster, known as the Demogorgon, can cross from its realm into the real world.
6. The Demogorgon's world is known as the Upside Down. It looks like the real world, and has all our buildings, but it's devoid of humans and seems to have been taken over by a gross fungus/disease/'Alien'-style biostructure. Also, it doesn't change when the real world changes, so it may have been created in the moment 11 touches the Demogorgon.
7. Unfortunately, though, the Demogorgon is out and hunting all kinds of stuff in the real world, especially Will. Will is a kid whom everyone seems to like.
8. Eleven escapes the lab through a drainage pipe and meets Will's friends who teach her about being a kid and stuff while she helps look for Will. Will is in the Upside Down and is being used as an incubator, probably for Demogorgon babies.
9. Will's older sister whose name I've already forgotten is at that horny age, but she hooks up with the jerk who looks like Ben Schwartz instead of Will's older brother Jonathan. Anyway, all these kids somehow get Will back from the Upside Down.
10. Barb is a prude who gets eaten and stuffed full of slugs. These slugs may be baby Demogorgons. Everyone wants to know how the slugs will pay off in season 2. Will also coughs up a slug when he gets home.
11. Eleven and the Demogorgon touch again and turn into a bunch of flies. The end.