Let’s just get this out of the way right now. This show is good. Really, really good. Stranger Things is a new 8-hour series from Netflix starring Winona Ryder and David Harbour and created by Matt and Ross Duffer (Wayward Pines, Hidden). Set in 1983 in Hawkins, Indiana, this show tells the story of a young boy who disappears and how his family, friends, and a strange young girl search to find out what happened to him.
This exciting quest is a “love letter to the 80’s classics that captivated a generation”. Think E.T. or Goonies or Gremlins. Stranger Things reads like it could have been from Spielberg himself. There are top-secret government experiments, supernatural forces, and even super powers. Told from the perspective of kids, teenagers, and adults, the show is filled with suspense from time you hit play right through to the conclusion in the final episode.
One of the reasons I really enjoyed this show was the missing boy’s friends, Mike, Dustin, and Lucas and the new girl who shows up with a dark secret. The child actors all do a wonderful job in each of their characters but Millie Bobby Brown, who plays the mysterious Eleven/El, is exceptional, as she conveys a lot, despite her limited dialogue, through body language and facial expressions. Another great thing about this thrilling 8 hours is that, apart from Winona Ryder and David Harbour, most of the cast is relatively unknown with each cast member only having a been in a handful of productions in the past. This makes it that much easier to get pulled into the show. The young actors manage to capture the feeling of being a kid and there’s a super cute moment half way through the season that involves a makeover for their strange new friend. It’s a moment that represents what makes this show so great – the innocence of youth in times of trouble. A signature of 80’s movies.
The 80’s feel doesn’t just end there. This show is carefully crafted with references to the films of that time, a synth-based soundtrack, and even an opening credit sequence that fits the theme. It couldn’t be more 80’s even if it had been filmed during the actual 80’s. It’s a strong cast with an intriguing premise and enough charm to hook you in. There’s a moment in one episode where the soundtrack, mood, and plot came together and gave me the chills.
Stranger Things was a lot of fun and I look forward to seeing where the show goes next (Please Netflix, give us a second season!). It’s already a critic favourite – with good reason. It’s all the good things about 80’s nostalgia and never felt fake or forced. I’m normally the kind of tv viewer who has a second screen going at the same time, looking stuff up or checking social media but, with this show, I was drawn in. One screen only and that screen was playing Stranger Things. This is definitely a binge-worthy show so I hope you didn’t have any plans this weekend because once you start, you won’t be able to stop, no matter how strange things get.
If you like these then Stranger Things might be for you:
Flight of the Navigator
Written by Kevin Joseph