Did Stranger Things rip off a 1997 episode of Walker Texas Ranger?
When I first encountered Boots, an old polydactyl stray cat who lived under a car near my old house in Hackney, I made a promise that one day I would show him what it meant to have a family and a safe home.
At the time I didn’t realise that he would also be showing me a few things, mostly that I can survive on a few hours of sleep thanks to his incessant afterdark mewing; that cats with no teeth still think they can boss you about; some cats eat cucumber; and to never underestimate a 20-year-old street cat’s ability to shred a bin bag if he has his mind set on retrieving half a sandwich at 3am.
But earlier this week, thanks to his strange/annoying ability to change the channel on the TV remote with one press of his freaky cat ‘thumbs’, Boots showed me something I never would have imagined… Stranger Things might just be an extended episode of Walker, Texas Ranger.
I remember it vividly, I was opening a bag of emery boards* - to an old permanently peckish feline any rustling noise equals treats - when he staggered over like a furry AT-AT and stomped on the remote control.
The TV flicked on to CBS Justice and an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger. Now, I won’t lie, it was time for EastEnders*, and knowing my cats (or at least my idea of them), they were probably anticipating half-an-hour of Walford misery and cuddles, but tonight I didn’t change the channel.
The episode, dubbed Brainchild, follows the story of a 12-year-old called Chad Morgan who has spent the last eight years living in a shady scientific research institute lab as a human guinea pig. Here they test and expand his “paranormal abilities” to make him move objects with his mind and throw grown men against walls. Oh, and when he does it, he gets a nosebleed.
Chad has no friends just a computer system that his mum designed and implemented before she died. However, ARTY, the kind-natured OS, has discovered that she isn’t dead, and he escapes the lab to go looking for her… with a bit of help from a kindly local cop.
Be honest, what does this remind you of? It’s Stranger Things lite, innit? It’s like ST is the 20-year-old echo of a pop culture whisper that has been forgotten, bar for this Reddit post.
Here’s the basic elements of this episode:
Child with special abilities kept as human guinea pig in lab
Befriends friendly childless cop
Takes down baddies with one glance
Likes breakfast foods
Fed lies about their mum
Mum was employee of sicko doctors who kept him locked up
Bad docs get comeuppance
The only real difference is that Chad Morgan gets to enjoy a normal childhood with his mum, while Eleven is stuck with unhinged but cute Joyce, and there are no Demogorgons.
TBH if there was a Demogorgon in the mix the episode would have been over by the first ad break as Chuck Norris would have kicked their ass (without splitting his too-tight trousers which always amazes me).
Similar to when I asked if Edwin Starr was a Satanist, no one else seems to have questioned the connection between Chuck Norris and the Duffer Brothers.
I’ve uploaded all the most ’Stranger Things’ bits to YouTube, watch the playlist above and tell us if you think this might be evidence of of some serious pop culture plagiarism by voting in the poll below.
*Yes I know my life is high-octane
**It’s OK, most people can’t keep up with our pace of life