Stranger Things (Have Happened)

It was only a couple of weeks ago I was in full on rant mode about Netflix and their lack of quality programming. It’s like they knew how dissatisfied I was with their usual offering. Last weekend, an old friend of mine posted on Facebook about this new programme called Stranger Things (trailer). He’s got a pretty consistently good opinion on most things so I thought “I’ll have to check this out on Monday”. Before the end of the weekend, at least two more people had said how good it was — I was sold. To sum it up, imagine Stephen King wrote a book, it was turned into a film and directed by Stephen Spielberg, then John Carpenter got called on board to score it, prior to which the three hollywood heavyweights had been playing the original Silent Hill for three days straight. Yes, it’s that good.

The crux of Stranger Things is that 12 year old Will Byers goes missing on November 6 1983. Over the series you see Will’s frantic mother (Winona Ryder) try to find him, alongside his three best friends and the town’s Police Chief (David Harbour). The three kids are joined by a telekinetic girl called Elle who has escaped from a shady government research centre on the outskirts of town, while Will’s Mother and Police Chief Hopper spend the whole series fighting their own demons at the same time they are trying to find the missing boy.

There’s no need to go into too much more detail about the plot — you’ll be hooked from the very first episode. The beautiful synth soundtrack intersected by 80’s punk hits (Atmosphere by Joy Division and Should I Stay or Should I Go by The Clash being two notable tracks), delivers levels of tension and atmosphere throughout every episode. The quality of acting from such a young cast is thoroughly impressive as well, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo and Caleb McLaughlin all make debut appearances as Will’s clique of friends but deliver their performances beautifully. Millie Bobby Brown (Elle) probably has the least lines of all the main characters but manages to captivate your interest perfectly.

In short then, if you’ve got a Netflix membership and you’re not watching Stranger Things — you’re wasting your money each month. A second season is almost certainly on the cards and let’s hope they can deliver it with the same level of perfection as the first.

Originally published at on July 24, 2016.