Caleb McLaughlin, Millie Bobby Brown and Gaten Matarazzo

Caleb McLaughlin, Millie Bobby Brown and Gaten Matarazzo

Kevin Winter/Getty Images
September 18, 2023
In The Mix

Emmy Moments: Stranger Things

This year the Emmy Awards turn seventy-five! Get in the spirit with our series of time-defying flashbacks.

When Stranger Things debuted on Netflix in July 2016, more than 8 million subscribers streamed the series in its first sixteen days. So by September, it was no surprise to see the series' three young stars — Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo and Caleb McLaughlin (then 12, 14 and not-quite-15, respectively) — at the Emmys.

Because of its summer debut, Stranger Things was not Emmy eligible that year. But the kids still managed to steal the show. While guests were finding their seats in L.A.'s Microsoft Theater, the trio got the party started with a performance of "Uptown Funk." Later, they returned in their Stranger Things costumes — and on bicycles — to help host Jimmy Kimmel distribute brown-bagged snacks. "My mother made 7,000 peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches," Kimmel bragged, as his aproned mom appeared onscreen. "Is anyone hungry right now?"

Brown subsequently received two Emmy nominations — for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series — for her role as the telepathic teen, Eleven. And the show itself has been nominated four times for Outstanding Drama Series; it has won twelve Emmys in crafts categories.

Now fans are eagerly awaiting the fifth and final season of Stranger Things, which creators Matt and Ross Duffer teased before the fourth-season premiere.

"There are many more exciting stories to tell," they wrote at the time, "... new mysteries, new adventures, new heroes. We hope you stay with us as we finish this tale of a powerful girl named Eleven and her brave friends, of a broken police chief and a ferocious mom, of a small town called Hawkins and an alternate dimension known only as the Upside Down."

Last fall the Duffers teased fans again, posting a blurred-out image of their story grid for the new season and, later, the cover page of the first new script: Episode #501, "The Crawl." Nothing short of Eleven's superpowers could probably get the writers to reveal their season-five secrets.

Fortunately, no such powers are needed to relive the cuteness of the stars, circa 2016 — just YouTube. Now ages nineteen, twenty-one and almost twenty-two, they remain forever young on the internet.

See more Emmy Moments

This article originally appeared in emmy magazine issue #10, 2023.

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