Albuquerqueans, especially graduates, students, faculty, staff and parents associated with Eldorado High School, are in for a special treat this Friday when the fourth season of the hit Netflix show “Stranger Things” premiers.
With Mike, Dustin, Eleven and the whole Stranger Things gang heading off to high school, and (as rumor has it and the trailer suggests) the whole cast of characters looking for a fresh start after the happenings of the first three seasons, EHS is getting a starring role. The famed Eldorado Eagle, with its proud orange and white colors, will now be forever imprinted in the annals of television history.
Of course, Eldorado got a makeover for the filming, going from Eldorado High School to Lenora Hills High School in the fictional town of Lenora Hills. (Hawkins, Indiana, the setting for seasons 1-3, is also a fictional town.) According to the trailers, a few of the kids (now teens) have been moved by the mysterious government scientists to a “safer” place.
“I moved you guys far away from Hawkins because I thought you would be safe,” says Dr. Owens (Paul Reiser) in a trailer voiceover.
That new place just happens to be Lenora Hills, a.k.a Albuquerque.
Though the larger through-plot of “Stranger Things” lends itself nicely to a reset in a place drastically different than the show’s previous setting, Eldorado High School offers other locational benefits.
Most importantly, Netflix announced in November 2018 that it had purchased Albuquerque Studios, located at Mesa del Sol in southeastern Albuquerque, and would be creating a new headquarters and studio. Since then, the company has quickly expanded the studio.
“This is going to be their main production facility in North America,” said Alicia Keyes, New Mexico Economic Development cabinet secretary in a news conference last October. So be on the lookout for a near constant ABQ presence on the streaming giant.
The new Netflix studio is still being expanded, with some documents predicting a completion sometime in 2023.
This isn’t the first time an area high school has been immortalized on screen. Rio Rancho High School was famously the site of Walter White’s classroom (when he was still a high school science teacher and not the most feared criminal kingpin in the meth game) in the AMC series “Breaking Bad.”
Stranger Things season four premiers on Netflix May 27.
This story was written by Neighborhood Journal contributor Taylor Hood.