Stranger Things and other series based on real events you didn’t know

One of the biggest hits on Netflix, Stranger Things launched its 4th season in 2022. Dark, exciting and full of twists, the new episodes have become a true platform phenomenon. While waiting for the premiere of the final chapters, fans of the series are surprised to discover that the plot is inspired by real events.

Stranger Things 4 ends with an apocalyptic scenario. In addition to bringing the deaths of beloved characters, the episodes offer important clues to the series’ conclusion – from Vecna’s plan to the villain’s connection to Will.

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It is worth remembering that the Netflix already renewed the series for the 5th – and final – season. Still without a premiere date, the next episodes promise to bring a bombastic ending to the story of Eleven and her friends.

We’ve listed below everything viewers need to know about the real inspirations of Stranger Things and 4 other famous TV series.

Stranger Things

Though marked by terrifying entities, fantastical creatures, alternate dimensions and superhuman powers, Stranger Things is inspired by real events. Originally, the series was going to be titled “Montauk”, and would be based on a famous conspiracy theory. Widespread in the 1980s, the “Montauk theory” accuses the US government of conducting experiments on mind control and time travel.

Additionally, other aspects of Stranger Things draw on real-life elements. Eleven’s plot, for example, is inspired by Project MKUltra, a sinister scientific experiment that was carried out by the CIA between the 60’s and 70’s. Finally, Eddie Munson’s story is based on the trial of the “Memphis Three” and the ” Satanic Panic”, a mass hysteria that dominated the US in the 70’s and 80’s.


One of HBO Max’s biggest hits, Succession is the darling of specialized critics. For its biting and well-constructed plot, the series also stands out in the most important awards in the entertainment industry. Succession follows the story of the Roys, a powerful family that dominates a popular media and entertainment conglomerate. The plot begins when Logan Roy, the clan’s patriarch, decides to choose his successor.

Many fans do not know, but the plot of Succession is inspired by the story of the Murdoch Family – owner of a media empire formed by broadcasters such as Fox News and newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal, as well as film studios, websites and magazines. In addition, Succession also finds inspiration in the Redstone (ViacomCBS) and Sulzberg (The New York Times) clans.


One of Netflix’s most praised series, GLOW follows the story of a wrestling show produced and starring women. To create the plot of the series, showrunners Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch were inspired by the documentary “GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling” (GLOW: The Story of the Beautiful Women of Luta-Livre), originally released in 2012.

With the series, the creators also portray important aspects of the 70s, such as the feminist movement and the sexual revolution. To ensure the show’s fidelity to real events, Netflix hired Ursula Hayden, the owner of the GLOW company, as a consultant. Although the series’ plot is inspired by real events, the characters – such as Zoya the Destroya and Liberty Belle – are completely fictional.

Friday Night Lights

Little known in Brazil, the Friday Night Lights series is very successful in the United States. The production is based on the book “Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, and A Dream” (Friday Night Lights: One City, One Team, and One Dream), which in turn follows the story of the Permian High School Panthers football team from Odessa, Texas.

The book focuses on the Panthers’ trajectory, from humble training in a high school, to the journey to the Texas State Football Championship in 1988. In the United States, the series became a true phenomenon by addressing some of the aspects best known in small towns: the public’s appreciation of football games. However, the production is set in a fictional city, named Dillon.

The Goldbergs

The sitcom The Goldbergs is based on the family and childhood of showrunner Adam F. Goldberg. The series is described as “a love letter to life in the American suburbs of the 80s”. The town of Jenkintown (Pennsylvania), where the story is set, is also Goldberg’s hometown. The series explores the everyday life, confusions and adventures of the Goldberg family.

Using his own experiences, Adam F. Goldberg manages to adapt his entire childhood for TV. The series even uses home videos of Goldberg’s parents. The characters, in turn, are also inspired by real figures from the producer’s life. That’s why the series is so successful with American audiences.

All seasons of Stranger Things are available on Netflix.

About the author

Alexandre Guglielmelli

Alexandre Guglielmelli

Graduated from PUC Minas, I specialize in horror films, reality shows and pop culture. In my spare time, I like to write and offer movie and series recommendations to friends.

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