Stranger Things - Review
What happens when you combine The Goonies, X-Files, E.T., Stephen King and John Carpenter? You get a magical cocktail called Stranger Things. And it's the hot new Netflix Original series that you need to watch.
Stranger Things Trailer
An innocent night playing Dungeons & Dragons takes a tragic turn for a group of friends in Hawkins Indiana when Will Byers disappears. The year is 1983 and this small town is abuzz with conspiracy theories behind the missing boy's circumstances. As friends, family and local police search for answers behind his disappearance they are drawn into an extraordinary mystery involving top-secret government experiments, terrifying supernatural forces and the discovery of a mysterious girl known only as Eleven. Her appearance and powers appear super human and the boys begin to understand that she might have a sinister connection to their missing friend.
What makes Stranger Things so awesome?
First of all lets start with E the character Eleven played by Millie Brown. Millie deserves an Emmy for her performance. She's a complete bad-ass who can out-act anyone she's on screen with. Millie seems to have a natural empathy and depth to her character that we don't often see these days.
The fact that she's only 12 years old (IRL) is mind-blowing. I'm sure we can expect to see her starring in a lot more shows over the coming years.
Also, the next time someone asks me what is my preferred superpower is I'm choosing 'telekinesis' - Eleven has shown me the light!
Secondly, I would have to say all of the 1980's throw backs. The show is literally jam-packed with pop cultural references - and it's not just the big ticket items like dress and language. It's the bikes the kids use, it's the movie references, it's the posters on thier walls. They've really gone the extra mile!
What's really at the heart of Stranger Things is the great characters.
The main characters - Mike, Dustin and Lucas have an epic friendship and will stop at nothing to save their best friend Will. The banter, and friendship code that these guys share is incredible. It speaks to a time before Facebook friend requests and the 1000's of acquaintances we all seem have these days. As a child of the 80's myself, it's really made me reflect on the fact that "we" were some of the last to grow up without easy access to technology.
Then you have a whole cast of additional characters like Will's Mum played by Winona Ryder. She provides a performance of a lifetime as a 'crazed-mother' desperately looking for her lost child.
There's also a slew of other characters that help bring this cocktail to life - the school bullies, the red-headed best friend and the town cop who hasn't really cared about his job in a while. They all have this amazing backstory to share that quickly comes to life over a relatively short first season.
I also have to give a special shout out to Mike's Dad - he's the classic stereotypical 1980's Dad. The character is hilariously token in everything he does. From fanning a passive interest in his children's lives, to just wanting to enjoy his dinner in peace. We've all got those friends with parents that demonstrate these behaviors and it's captured brilliantly here.
There's a lot to enjoy in Stranger Things and if you can push past the jump scares in the first couple of episodes I think there is something here for everyone.
If you're a child of the 80's then you could have stopped reading a long time ago as you have a new show to binge watch and geek-out over.
The only way this series could be better is if you watched it from the safety of your couch fort which you've specially made to binge watch all eight episodes in a row. In fact, that's how I'm going to re-watch this series in the years to come.
- Millie Brown as Eleven - Her performance was incredible
- All of the 1980's references - toys, posters, clothing. It was on point!
- Dustin's lisp and the term #MouthBreather
- The title animation
- The killer soundtrack
- The wait for season two!