“Stranger Things” Review

In recent years, Netflix has been stepping up their game. Not only do they continue to provide hit movies and TV shows, but they are also releasing a heavy stream of quality original content. Last year, they released Stranger Things, which quickly became one of the most popular Netflix originals to date. Stranger Things is a 1980s science fiction drama, that is also a coming of age story. What is unique about this show is how it pulls from the influences of several other films, such as The Goonies and Super 8.

For those of you unfamiliar with how Netflix works, they release entire seasons of their shows at once, giving the user the uniqe ability to “binge watch” their shows. This is a great show to binge watch, with a seasons on 8 and 9 episodes, and episodes around an hour long. While this can seem like a lot, the quality and flow of the episodes almost makes the users need to watch the episodes back to back to back.

Plot:

Stranger Things takes place in Hawkins, Indiana in the 1980s. In the town, the Hawkins National Laboratory is in charge of conducting scientific research into energy, but is performing supernatural experiments in secret. After making a discovery that cannot be contained in the lab, peculiar occurrences begin happening throughout the town. The story follows a group of children as they begin to uncover some of the mysteries behind the Hawkin’s lab. Without giving anything away, here are some of the highlights from the first season of the show:

There’s a monster on the loose. The show opens with some sort of monster escaping from the Hawkin’s lab. This monster is like no other creature roaming the Earth. Where did it come from? And more importantly, how can we get rid of it?

The disappearance of Will Beyer. On his way home from a competitive night of Dungeons and Dragons, Will Beyer goes missing. The town begins to turn upside down in an attempt to find where Will has gone. We follow his mother Joyce as she attempts to cope with his disappearance and we see how his friends try to find him.

The introduction of Eleven. Shortly after Will goes missing, a strange girl with a shaved head appears in a diner. She doesn’t speak, and their is something different about her. She seems to have powers that no one around her can understand.

Character Development/Acting:

The primary focus of the show is on a group of children: Mike, Dustin, Lucas, Will and Eleven. We also follow around teenagers Nancy (Mike’s brother), Barb (Nancy’s best friend), Steve (Nancy’s boyfriend), and Jonathan(Will’s brother and Nancy’s friend). In a classic “coming of age” story, we get to see these children and teenagers grow up very quickly. We can even see changes in perception of characters throughout the show (I’m looking at you Steve). Aside from the children in this show, we also get to know Joyce Beyers (Will’s mother) and officer Jim Hopper.

While this show does feel like a movie at times, the best thing about this show is the character development we get that we couldn’t in a movie. We really get to know these characters and fall in love with (some) of them.

Soundtrack/Score:

Since this show is set in the 80s, we get some of the best of 80s rock and roll. We are also treated to a great theme that has a distinctly 80s feel to it. The theme also sticks with you, and you can identify it any time you hear it.

Overall Impressions:

This is quickly becoming one of my favorite shows. When the second season was released, I watched the entire thing in 3 days. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. The Duffer brothers do a great job of bringing the best elements of 80s science fiction, while creating something unique at the same time. I highly recommend this show for anyone who enjoys science fiction, mystery, thrillers, or coming of age stories.

I give this show 9 out of 10 Stalactites.

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