The moment I first viewed the trailer for the Netflix original series, Stranger Things, I knew it was something that I absolutely needed to watch. A sci-fi horror that takes place in the 1980s? Yeah, sign me up.
Can I just say that Netflix has been kicking some serious ass? I have loved almost every single original series or film that they have released. I wasn’t even a little mad when the monthly subscription fee went up in price. At this point I don’t think I’ll ever stop paying for this incredible service that brings me amazing content such as Stranger Things.
Stranger Things opens with a group of four young boys gathered around a table in a basement playing Dungeons and Dragons. Once it starts to get late, three of the boys venture home where one, Will, strays from the path and ends up in a strange section of the woods where some sort of secret US military-like base is set up. While there, he sees a strange alien-like creature and begins to flee. Will makes it home, but only to find that his mother and brother aren’t there to protect him. The creature catches up to him and the scene goes dark. Will has gone missing, and while the town presumes the worst, his mother (Winona Ryder) refuses to believe that anything terrible has happened to her son. A strange young girl, known only as Eleven due to a tattoo of the number on her arm, shows up a short time after Will goes missing and claims to know where he is.
I can already tell you that I’ll probably be re-watching this series for a second time very soon. (Edit: It has been a week since I wrote this review and I have indeed watched it a second time.) I’d love to re-watch knowing the things that I know now. I like doing this once in a while, especially with shows like Stranger Things, that way I can pick up on things that I may have missed the first time around. (Edit: I definitely picked up on things I missed the first time around!)
One major thing that I absolutely loved about this series was that it gave us answers. As the episodes progressed, we gained more information and things started to make sense. There are too many shows that avoid answering questions and then they get cancelled and we all sit here upset that we’ll never truly know why an event occurred or who the murderer was, etc. As I continued on to each new episode of Stranger Things, questions were answered, things were explained and I was left feeling content after I reached the end of the available eight episodes. There was a bit of a cliffhanger ending, don’t get me wrong, but it isn’t one that has me pissed off. It sealed the season while leaving a little crack open for the possibility of more seasons to come.
I absolutely loved the relationships within Stranger Things. The friendship between the three young boys who only want to find their missing best friend was amazing. Mike was probably one of my favourite characters throughout the whole series. He unintentionally becomes the “leader” of the group and rallies his friends together on the search for their missing friend. The way Mike openly accepts the strange girl, known as Eleven, into his friend group when the others aren’t so sure about her was wonderful. The overall relationship between Mike and Eleven was probably one of my favourite elements of the show. I loved the way that Jonathan, Will’s older brother, and Nancy, Mike’s older sister, were included in the story. I didn’t think that their characters would play as big of a role in the story and be as important as they were. Also, I ship it.
Winona Ryder did a phenomenal job in playing the paranoid mother who can’t possibly accept the fact that her son is missing, or maybe something worse. She starts seeing things and hearing things that can’t possibly be true, but somehow she knows that they are. She never gave up in the search for her son, not even once.
The cinematography was absolutely stunning. It definitely captured the look and feel of a horror/sci-fi and it actually felt like it took place in the 1980s. It almost felt at though it was even filmed during that time period. The added bonus of the synthesized theme song and the 80s musical score throughout each episode sealed the deal. I watched this series not too long after reading Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan and it felt as if these two stories could go hand in hand. Like the events taking place in each story could be taking place in the same world. I also was reading The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel while watching Stranger Things, and again, I felt as though they fit together perfectly. The 1980s seems to be a time period that I really enjoy reading about/watching.
I am praying with all my might that there will be a second season of Stranger Things. I just want so many more things to happen and I still have a few questions that need answering. All I want is more of this amazing story, so please Netflix, can I have some more?