I’m not even sure where to begin with Stranger Things. It’s the newest Netflix Original series, which was produced by the Duffer Brothers. When a 12-year old boy goes missing in a small Indiana town, a frantic search begins to find him. Unknown to the adults, the children and friends of the missing boy embark on their own search and rescue mission. What they stumble upon is a young psychic girl, a government testing facility, and something deeply sinister lurking in the shadows.
I won’t give anything away about the plot because this is a series that deserves to be watched. Imagine a series that feels like The Goonies mixed with The Twilight Zone, done by Stephen King and Stephen Spielberg. Well, that’s Stranger Things. That’s it. That’s the review. Go watch it. We’re good here. Good night everyone!
But in all seriousness, it’s been a long times since I’ve seen something as well-crafted as Stranger Things. It takes place in 1983 and hearkens back to an era before cell phones and technology; when home video game systems were still a serious luxury; and when kids could wander aimlessly about the neighborhood on bikes without fear of dying every 10 minutes. Everything about these 8 episodes just oozes 80s goodness, and to the point that it manages to do the 80s better than the actual 80s did. That’s likely because it’s very clearly set in the 80s, whereas, movies from the 80s were trying to be a little more timeless. Everything from the costumes, set designs, down to the filters used on the camera feel like they were pulled straight out of 1983. The soundtrack that was used is perfect. I can’t even say any more about it other than that. Heavy synths? Yes please!
The setting, plot, and characters might be a little cliche, but Stranger Things is aware of this. How it chooses to utilize those cliches and develop them really helps make the series shine. Every single character that has a speaking line is fleshed out, including the minor characters and supporting roles. The way these actors emote and express everything makes them feel human. They’re flawed, but you can’t help but relate with every single one of them. This is especially true for the kids. I don’t know where they came from, or where Netflix found them, but I’m damn near convinced they were ripped straight out of a time portal from the 80s. Their performances are so on point, you’d never be able to tell they’re millennials who were born with their heads buried in electronic devices.
Hollywood has been on this, “revive the 80s” kick lately… and none of it’s really sticking like they want. It’s because no one is trying to craft something with substance. You might be able to see the plot twists from a mile away in Stranger Things, but that doesn’t detract from the execution when everything’s said and done. It knows its lore and expands to create something familiar, without feeling like a cheap hollow copy of what came before. Seriously, take note Hollywood– THIS IS WHAT WE WANT. Play that nostalgia fiddle all you like, but at least give me something worth watching in the process.
Stranger Things is, by no means, perfect. I can’t discuss my issues because I don’t want to spoil anything, but if you really want to know, then drop me a line. Otherwise, it’s a fantastic watch that wraps up in a nice little open-ended bow. There’s no way you won’t be thinking about this for weeks after either.