Stranger Things: Season 1 Review

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Did you grow up in the 80’s, or a fan of the 80’s films?  I sure am and if you haven’t seen Netflix’s new series Stranger Things then you are just flat missing out.  This show was so satisfying to watch, I honestly could watch it over and over again.

Stranger Things Season One Trailer

Set in the early 80s, the show is an 80’s influence and nostalgic throwback of the good old days when I grew up.  The series centers around a mysterious disappearance of a young boy, Will (Noah Schnapp), and the finding of a young girl known as Eleven (Millie Brown). Will is one of a group of four friends who make up a very tight knit and adventurous bunch.  When Will’s friends Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) find out he’s missing they go on a desperate quest to find him.  They are also the ones who discover the young mysterious girl only known as Eleven and quickly find out she’s not a normal girl.

Will’s friends aren’t the only one’s looking for him as his mother, Joyce (Winona Ryder), and older brother, Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), are also trying to find him.  Along the way both Will’s friends and his family discover some very dangerous and disturbing moments that this small Illinois town has potentially been hiding.

As soon as Stranger Things begins it sucks you right into the story line, nostalgia of the 80’s and drops you right into a very familiar place with the 80’s films we once enjoyed. The creators of the show Matt and Ross Duffer bring the 80’s influence to this show brilliantly and bring us something new we haven’t seen in a long time…originality!  The depiction of these young kids and the way they speak, interact and, yep, ride bikes together when it’s dark outside, feels just like an old Spielberg movie!  As soon as I saw the kids on their bikes after dark it sparked the childhood memories of E.T. and the adventure scenes of one of my favorite films to date The Goonies, which was also produced by Spielberg.

Stranger Things doesn’t just bring an influence of the 80’s like Spielberg moments, but a much larger cast of our favorite childhood influences!  My favorite thing about the show is the overall feel they gave it with the opening credits, music, and vibes!  You get to see a John Carpenter mash-up of intense suspenseful music and opening scenes which brings a scariness to the show.  This show brings the horror fans of us out as we do get to see some gore and very intense scary moments for one unfortunate soul in the opening.  The Duffer Brothers have even said that Stephen King, Carpenter and Spielberg were very much a primary influences on them and it sure shows in all it’s magical Stranger Things glory!

What I like the best about the show is that it’s not just a copy cat of famous 80’s script writers and directors as the show creates a very intriguing and eye catching world of it’s own.  Well written and thought out, the show is centered around a great group of likable characters which is in part to how well the kids themselves interact and work as a group. The Duffer brothers did a fantastic job of finding a cast who wasn’t a polished set of actors, but brought a realness to the show which helps draw the audience even closer.

So this is showcasing the great 80’s right, well you can’t do that without having some teen drama in the show.  Nancy (Natalia Dyer) is the older sister of Mike who is one of Will’s friends and she also brings a very real feeling to the screen.  The one person who I felt stand out in performance was (Wynona Ryder) as Joynce, which plays the single mother who through the eight episode season grows worrisome, estranged at times, and very volatile with her emotions, understandably of course.  One of my favorite roles in the show is (David Harbour) which plays the local arrogant tough guy police chief.  He’s a very complex character once you get to see his part unfold in the story.

If the show had one area it’s lacking, I would say tying things up from a story standpoint was the only minus I’d give the show.  The show had so many mysteries that unfolded in this season it kept you on edge most of the show, but I just wish it felt more fully formed! But I’m not a director and this may have been done on purpose so they could pull that story line into season 2 if Netflix decides to pick them up for season 2 that is.  This show had so much going on, and they came from all sorts of angles it always kept you guessing as to what was coming next, just like a good horror / suspense film would have.  Some of those things included government and scientific conspiracies, to the growth of relationships the boys had to go through while looking for their friend. All in all at the end of the show I felt we were left with an unsatisfied question of what just happened, but at the same time enjoyment and awe of what comes next.

Overall this series get’s an A+ in my book as the love for the works of all the great 80’s directors that brought us so much joy and excitement in the horror, science fiction realms. The Duffer Brothers have done an amazing job combining all of these different tones and genres together to make us feel right at home.  The show goes from moments of questionable actions to moments of absolute terror all set among a very curious bunch of of kids and does it without making you feel like it’s a knockoff 80’s horror film!

Go check it out and let me know what you thought of the show in the comments.  Would love to hear your feedback on the show, and what you did or didn’t like about it.

Until next time!


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