Going into Stranger Things cold I didn’t know what to expect from the much talked about series. The only thing I knew was that “shit gets weird”. Sounded like my type of show. So after binge watching it (like there’s any other way to watch shows), I’ve got to say that I walked away pleasantly surprised. Netflix is on a roll and may have just found their next big series.
The only thing I knew was that “shit gets weird”. Sounded like my type of show.
The basic premise of the show is about a small town looking for a young boy, Will, who mysteriously goes missing. Weird shit starts to happen, a girl with “abilities” shows up, suspicious government figures start running around town, a monster starts snatching people up, and Will’s three best friends (along with the aforementioned girl) find themselves in the middle of it all while trying to find him themselves. If the premise sounds familiar, it should, because everything about this movie is straight from a classic 80’s genre flick.
Aside from the movie actually being set in the 80’s (D&D and synth soundtrack included), it pulls from all the great movies of that era. Movies like E.T., The Goonies, Short Circuit, and Stand By Me. At it’s heart it’s a story about 4 young friends who get thrust into larger than life situations and against all odds manage to triumph over everything. It even manages to pull in elements from other genre films of that time like Alien and The Thing. Stranger Things finds that great balance of paying homage to the great films that paved to way, while still managing to carve out it’s own identity and appeal to newer generations.
At it’s heart it’s a story about 4 young friends who get thrust into larger than life situations and against all odds manage to triumph over everything.
While I enjoyed the overall season, there were still some things that bothered me. Like plot holes that never get filled, jumps in logic, and pacing issues, especially towards the end. It would have strongly benefited from a full 12-13 episode season like most Netflix series. And while most of the main characters were well thought out, there were some that definitely needed more fleshing out, and others that downright should have never made the story. The main antagonists were also a weak point, as they never evolved from anything more than obstacles standing in the way. Particularly Dr. Brenner, who I thought would become a complex antagonist, never got fully fleshed out like he should have. While characters like Will’s dad should have been left out completely. The overall acting was strong though, with Winona pulling off the worried mom who’d do anything to get her child back, and all the child actors held down their respective roles on the show. My absolute favorite though was David Harbour as Jim Hopper, the Sheriff of the small town. He pulled off the flawed hero on a path to redemption perfectly.
What’d you think about Season 1? Did it pay too much homage? Did it have a strong story? Let us know what you think in the comments below and rate Season 1 of Stranger Things. For more spoiler and theory specific reactions click below. You’ve been warned!
* SPOILERS *
First, why was Lucas such a little b*tch at first. I don’t need an answer, just had to get that off my chest. Ok, a few things that didn’t make sense to me. How could Dr. Brenner possibly have known Eleven would have abilities if he took her at birth? Does that mean her mom showed signs of abilities or were there other babies? If the monster hunts by blood scent then how’d it find Will at first? I don’t remember him bleeding. Speaking of Will, wasn’t he in the upside down for over a week? I don’t know how he survived with no water for that long but whatevs, TV logic. Also, why TF weren’t they freaking out when Eleven found the monster in the first place!?
I think that since everything is almost a mirror image of each other in the upside down world and ours, then Eleven is in fact the mirror image of the monster living in that world except she hasn’t reached that level of power yet. They can both reach into each others’ dimensions and they both have telepathic abilities. Like when the monster unlocked the latch from the outside when it was first chasing Will. Eleven is still alive and Sheriff Hopper is now working with the government in some capacity. He’s probably also in contact with Eleven since they never closed the initial breach in the first place. Will is harboring a monster(s) inside him (a la Alien) and they will make a comeback in the next season. At the end of the series the boys are playing a new game of D&D but this time fighting a new monster. A possible hint at what’s to come? Now I don’t know if it’ll be true, but I don’t think Dr. Brenner is actually dead. I say that because they never actually show his death and it just seems like a waste of a potentially good character to have him die in the weakest possible way.
What’d you catch in the series and where do you think it’s headed? Let me know in the comments below.
Season 1 of Stranger Things left a strong impression and felt like that old favorite toy that you didn't know you missed until you found it. Full of nostalgia, mystery, and the supernatural, it managed to blend old with new and bring on a whole new band of memorable characters worth talking about.