Stranger Things star David Harbour recalls how The Vampire Diaries’ Paul Wesley told him Netflix was trying to bury the series before it even debuted.
The Vampire Diaries star Paul Wesley told David Harbour that Netflix was trying to bury Stranger Things. Premiering on Netflix in July 2016, Stranger Things was created by The Duffer Brothers. Season 1 takes place in late 1983, when researchers for the Hawkins National Laboratory open a rift to an alternate dimension called “The Upside Down.” When a monster from the Upside Down escapes, it starts by abducting a boy named Will Byers (Noah Schnapp). The cast of Stranger Things season 1 also included Harbour, Winona Ryder, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Cara Buono, Matthew Modine, and Joe Keery.
Upon its release, Stranger Things turned its ensemble of actors into overnight sensations and re-vitalized the careers of veteran performers such as Ryder. In the case of Harbour, the actor garnered plenty of praise for his performance as police chief Jim Hopper. The same is true for the horror series as a whole, which continued to build on its buzz and find critical acclaim. Looking back, however, Harbour says he doubted the success of Stranger Things. So did Paul Wesley, who is known for portraying Stefan Salvatore on The Vampire Diaries.
Appearing at a panel during New York Comic Con (via People), the Stranger Things star joked that he was going to throw Wesley “under the bus” by revealing one of their past conversations. Harbour said that, while appearing together in an off-Broadway play, he admitted to Wesley that he was nervous about the fact that, two weeks before the show debuted, there wasn’t a big promotional push for the upcoming series. Apparently, Wesley wasn’t very comforting in his response, saying he thought the streaming service was trying to “bury” the project. Read Harbour’s full comments below:
“So about two weeks before the show I was like, ‘There’s still no ads, man, like buses and phone, there’s no ads,’ and [Paul] was like, ‘Sorry man, they’re trying to bury it.’ It was clearly a terrible show. I was like, ‘Oh no, man. I blew it. I had like one of the leads on a Netflix show, and I blew it, we all blew it.”
Harbour went on to say that the show’s advertising department later claimed that the promotional delay was on purpose and that they were “geniuses,” but admitted he’s still not sure if that’s true. Ultimately, however, viewers only need to consider the massive success the series has enjoyed since its release, and the high anticipation for Stranger Things season 4, to see that Harbour had nothing to be concerned about. The excitement for the Netflix original is still alive and well. The upcoming installment will premiere in 2022, and is set to continue Hopper’s story as he’s imprisoned in Russia. Back in the U.S., it’s been teased that a new horror story will emerge that “connects everything.” Fans have already pored over teaser trailers and sneak-peeks for season 4, debating the significance of the recently revealed Creel family’s former home in upcoming episodes.
Looking at Netflix’s most recent breakout hit, Squid Game, in addition to other popular titles that seemingly gather momentum by word-of-mouth alone, there is a phenomenon occurring that’s worth noting. Many of the streamer’s most successful originals have managed to find a massive audience without a significant advertising blitz, and Stranger Things is another impressive example. In more recent years, once a series is proved to have legs, Netflix then throws its full promotion weight behind it, and Stranger Things was perhaps an early example of this strategy. Whatever the approach was, however, Netflix is sure to have another huge hit on its hands when season 4 debuts.
More: Stranger Things Theory: Season 4 Will Be A Time Travel Story
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