Supernatural Mystery The Boroughs Coming To Netflix From Stranger Things And Dark Crystal Creators

After the huge success of "Stranger Things," it's no surprise Netflix would want to stay in business with the Duffer Brothers. And as that show heads toward its highly anticipated conclusion, the duo is revving up future projects for the streamer.

When Netflix signed Matt and Ross Duffer to a nine-figure deal last year, one of the projects they were attached to was a mysterious science fiction series from creators Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews, the guys behind Netflix's beloved, canceled-too-soon fantasy epic "The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance." Today, we finally have more information about that project.

The eight-episode series is called "The Boroughs," and it sounds like it could be tonally similar to "Stranger Things" despite having a completely different setting and group of characters. Here's the official logline:

In a seemingly picturesque retirement community in the New Mexico desert, a group of unlikely heroes must band together to stop an otherworldly threat from stealing the one thing they don't have ... time.

The Duffers are executive producing alongside Hilary Leavitt for their new company Upside Down Pictures, which focuses on telling "stories that take place at that beautiful crossroads where the ordinary meets the extraordinary, where big spectacle co-exists with intimate character work, where heart wins out over cynicism." Addiss and Matthews will executive produce and serve as the showrunners. 

"While the heroes in 'The Boroughs' have a few more years on them than the kids from 'Stranger Things,' they are a similarly lovable bunch of misfits, and we can't wait for you to join them on an adventure that is at turns scary, funny, and deeply touching," the Duffers said in a statement. Meanwhile, Addiss and Matthews said they couldn't wait for the world to "unlock the dark mystery buried beneath the sunny facade of 'The Boroughs.'"

Could The Boroughs be a secret Stranger Things spin-off?

The surface-level similarities this project shares with "Stranger Things" are obvious — unlikely heroes, an otherworldly threat — but I'm wondering if there might be some actual connective tissue in the narrative as well. We know it's only a matter of time until a "Stranger Things" spin-off series materializes, and the Duffers have said they want to "pass the baton" to someone else to run that spin-off (whatever it may be). They've also said they have a "very, very different" idea for the spin-off, and what could be more different than jumping to the opposite end of the age spectrum with a sci-fi story set in a retirement community? Could that "otherworldly threat" somehow tie in to Vecna and the Upside Down? The Duffers, who are clearly obsessed with their pop culture idols and try to take pages out of their playbook whenever possible, also grew up in the shadow of mystery box storytellers like J.J. Abrams, so I wouldn't put it past them to announce a new show like this and surprise viewers by having it tie into their mega-hit series.

Then again...

While it's fun to speculate, thinking about the practical business aspects to this brings me back down to Earth a little bit. Instead of generating buzz by surprising the world, Netflix would likely benefit much more by openly announcing this as a "Stranger Things" spin-off ahead of time, hoping to goose its viewership numbers so the streamer can release a statement crowing about how many people watched in its first several days on the service.

Still, Netflix has already officially announced an animated "Stranger Things" show, so maybe — just maybe — the folks in charge over there would be willing to do something cool like have a secret connected universe that is only revealed when audiences start watching on the day of release. Audiences were hooting and hollering at the end of M. Night Shyamalan's "Split" back in 2016 when they realized that movie was connected to "Unbreakable," and in an entertainment landscape that's too often full of eye-rolling announcements, I'd love to see Netflix try to recapture that sense of genuine surprise and excitement.