There are a lot of factors that have to be decided for a story when utilizing a setting. The choice is a lot more than just a location or even a time period. When setting a story in another era, a decision has to be made as to what kind of tone should be presented. A great example of this is the Netflix movie Enola Holmes. Although the story occurs in stuffy Victorian England, the movie takes a modern, punkish approach to its tone. This is in contrast to a series like Stranger Things, which coincidentally also stars Millie Bobby Brown.
Stranger Things obviously takes place in the 1980s. The pop culture of that era plays a heavy role in creating the atmosphere. Even the score leans heavily into the style of the times, creating a truly immersive 80s experience for the viewer. But this is all window dressing compared to the actual bones of the show’s production. Movies of the 80s approached their characters much differently than films of today. And the actors of the decade had to portray characters that fit with the times. So it’s equally impressive that the actors of Stranger Things try to embody similar styles and performances rather than a performance that might be seen today.
Obviously, CGI and special effects have come leaps and bounds from what was possible 40 years ago. But that is perhaps the only element of the show that has any sort of fingerprints from the modern era. The setting does a lot of the typical things to re-create the 80s — the decor in houses to the costumes the characters wear, etc — but when combined with the actual editing and acting, which seeks to embody the 80s sensibility, the show truly becomes a product of a different time period that is difficult to pull off.
Stranger Things is now streaming on Netflix.