The Stream Queen & Stranger Things
I’m an 80s kid. Ain’t nothing gonna change that. Give me glam rock, big-hair, shoulder-pads, leather jacket, thriller-dance, preppy-too-cool-for-school attitude! What does this have to do with the Netflix original: Stranger Things? Everything. This series is pure 80s nostalgia. I can barely contain myself. It tittered on the edge of the 80s, waiting to bring back every childhood movie memory and pop-culture reference for the true believers. The plot is simple: strange shit is happening in an unimpressive small town in Indiana. Some characters are who you would expect from such a small suburban town, cue the monsters and blinking lights and you got yourself a goosebumps story.
Anyway, I digress. This small town isn’t used to strange happenings. There is a weird medical lab just down the road that everyone tends to ignore. Kids prank each other to get close but on a scale of Casper to Shyamalan movies, this town is a solid 5. Boring? sure. Creepy? absolutely. The disappearance of a young boy changes everything though, opening the door to all sorts of crazy-weird-out-of-this-world nonsense that is just scary enough for a teen but not quite to the point where a grown man would shit himself. You feel me? This is good because I like my horror/thriller on a light-side with a dash of wit. The story continues with the best friends of this young kid, running around time trying to find him; suspecting something nefarious but not being able to figure it out. Of course, more people go missing, as thirsty monsters don’t just stop for one pint. They binge. In just 9 episode, the plot thickens and different pieces come together to an ultimately show down of good vs. evil. Though evil may not necessarily be the monster we have nightmares about. Evil may just be right next door: Yes, you…Mr. Mad Scientist!
Let me not spoil the plot, as I know my friends hate it when I accidentally reveal the fate of characters from GoT. With Stranger Things, you are dealing with pure unadulterated homage to some of the best sci-fi-horror-thriller that ever came: E.T., Akira, The Goonies, Firestarter, Nightmare on Elm Street, Close Encounter of the Third Kind, and my personal favorite, Aliens! Don’t even get me started on the soundtrack. It’s pure 80s mixtape porn! I kid you not. What also gives Stranger Things its nostalgic appeal is that the heroes are young middle school nerds that we can all identify with from our awkward years. The underdog wins. The best part for me is seeing a young girl not just play a damsel but also be the badass hero while rocking a military buzzcut (Yes, Yes, we both pictured G.I. Jane). She is complex and us modern girls just love that!
So should you find yourself craving something new and re-living your fantastical childhood when you pretend you could fight aliens with your laser blaster (ahem, yeah… you*) and maybe had superpowers, I would most definitely recommend this show. It doesn’t pretend to be more than it is. Despite her hysteria, it’s great to see Winona Ryder back where she belongs, on screen, giving us that 90s girl hyperbole! Finally, I look forward to shows and films that dare to use new actors. I probably recognized 3–4 actors just from past films. The choice to cast newbies shows that having household names doesn’t make for an outstanding show. And let’s give the show runners a round of applauses for having a black “wannabe Rambo” kid that does NOT live up to stereotypes. I am here for this and so should you.