Stranger Things may have been the breakout show of 2016, but it didn't quite snag the accolades to match. With a new season behind it, however, it has a chance to change the tides, and Stranger Things' 2018 Golden Globes nominations offer a promising start — even if the competition is quite stiff. On Monday, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association nominated the series in two categories: Best Drama Series and Best Supporting Actor In A Series, Miniseries, or Television Film for David Harbour's performance as police chief Jim Hopper. That's right on par with last year, when it was also nominated under two categories: Best Drama Series and Best Actress for Winona Ryder, who stars as Will and Jonathan's mom, Joyce Byers. Ultimately, though, the series lost out to The Crown for both.
This time around, Stranger Things is once again up against major contenders including Netflix rival The Crown, Hulu standout The Handmaid's Tale, HBO mainstay Game of Thrones, and timeline-hopping tear-jerker This Is Us. Stranger Things' second season, released in late October, was arguably better than its already strong freshman run, managing to up the ante while still keeping its nostalgic charm intact. The plot was more elaborate, the stakes more dangerous, and the performances just as brilliant.
Still, that might not be enough to beat out its competitors. By now, Stranger Things has established itself as much more than a cult hit, but its 2017 nominations — and its success in general — have been a bit unexpected. As a sci-fi meets horror meets '80s period piece, it's a rather niche show, and though Season 2 helped solidify it as a mainstream contender, it could still be considered an underdog against its peers. The Crown, The Handmaid's Tale, Game of Thrones, and This Is Us are all large-scale dramas, while Stranger Things — despite its controversial sidestep to Chicago — tells a distinctly small town story. Harbour, meanwhile, is up against Alfred Molina (Feud: Bette and Joan), Christian Slater (Mr. Robot), Alexander Skarsgard (Big Little Lies), and David Thewlis (Fargo), all of whom were on similarly heavyweight shows. Amid such a crowded field, there's a possibility Stranger Things could fall short — at least in the eyes of the HFPA.
Also noteworthy is the lack of acknowledgement for the show's core young cast, who, while critically celebrated, have yet to snag awards show recognition. The only exception is Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven/Jane), who nabbed a Best Actor win at the the MTV Movie & TV Awards last spring, as well as an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama, though the latter ultimately went to The Handmaid's Tale's Ann Dowd. Brown wowed again in Stranger Things Season 2, so it comes as a surprise not to see her name somewhere on the list. Noah Schnapp (Will), who took on a much larger, weightier role this time around, is noticeably absent from the running, too, as are the rest of the demogorgon-fighting AV team: Finn Wolfhard (Mike), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas), and Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin). Much of Stranger Things' appeal is owed to its talented young actors, so it's unfortunate to see them yet again overlooked.
That being said, the fact that Stranger Things landed two nominations — including one in the coveted Best Drama slot — is worth celebrating, and could signal more awards nods down the line. The Golden Globes have a limited number of TV categories, and it's likely Stranger Things will fare better in a bigger arena like the Emmys. So, all in all, it's still a hopeful start to awards season for the Netflix favorite.