I think we're all familiar with director's cuts in films. It seems like even when the movie is done, you can always go back and tinker.
But director's cuts in TV are something new. Usually, when an episode airs, there's not enough money or time or even control to go back and change things. But that's exactly what's happening now with Stranger Things. The Duffer brothers have been quietly going back to seasons one and two and changing things.
Some viewers who have the DVDs of those seasons noticed that they cut out a peeping Tom scene in the first season where Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton) spies on Nancy (Natalia Dyer) from a bush, snapping photos. Now, in the story, the two are together. And that moment seemed lewd, so they nixed it.
The same goes for a small season two plot hole, where they mention Will's birthday when it was already his birthday. That has been removed too.
'Stranger Things'Credit: NetflixThe Duffers mentioned in Variety that they were going back and tweaking, but you have to wonder when this stops and if it hurts the integrity of the show. The first season felt like it was shot out of a cannon, and it wasn't afraid to show the messiness of life and love. Going back to sanitize a character because of a written romance in later seasons takes the complications out of a character. It also retcons the narrative on him, one that the viewer may not actually know was rewritten if they never went back.
When it comes to tweaking a birthday, I think that matters less, but it's the action of just going back into seasons and changing things that we think is questionable.
Filmmaking is art, and actively changing the art that has already been set and presented will always feel a little backward. We saw it and we loved it, so why are we changing it now? But I also see the allure in retroactively tweaking once you have hindsight and even foresight for where the show is going.
It's a really tough call. I prefer to see people live and learn, but I can't say I would be able to resist that.
What do you think about it? Let me know in the comments.