Stranger Things is a television show that was released on Netflix recently and there is a lot of hype over it so I decided to write a review . I hope you enjoy my dubious opinions!
Stranger Things is a supernatural thriller created by Matt and Ross Duffer. It has a fairly large ensemble cast including, Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, and Natalie Dyer, but also a lot more. The show, set in 1983, centers on the disappearance of Will Byers, a 12-year-old boy from Indiana. Throughout the show many characters are introduced and as they all start to investigate Will’s disappearance, their stories start to intertwine and meet.
One of the first things I noticed about the show is its title card, which has red neon lettering on a black background, it’s simple but very stylish and it matches the essence of the show.
What really pulls you in is the structure of the narrative. The show is an ensemble cast and so each group of characters get their own story. The three boys who set out to find their friend, Will’s mother and brother, The town sheriff investigating Will’s disappearance, Nancy Wheeler, one of Will’s friends sister, who at first is only occupied with her boyfriend, but then gets sucked into the investigation of Will’s disappearance. All of these characters start so isolated from each other, but as the story unfolds and each character finds out more about Will’s disappearance the stories merge and the characters begin to work together.
These intertwining stories are done well, they are paced in a way where at the end of every episode you just can’t wait to watch a new one.
One of my favorite characters in the show is Eleven, or ‘Elle’ for short. Elle is a very unique character and I enjoyed watching her character develop from a quiet and mysterious little girl into a superhero of sorts. Another facet of her character that I loved was that her existence in the show implied the existence of a very devious conspiracy.
I also loved how the Nancy Wheeler, Jonathon Byers, Steve Harrington love triangle worked out. In the beginning of the show Nancy begins dating a boy named Steve Harrington. After Steve tries to fight Jonathon, Will Byer’s older brother, and Nancy and Steve break up it looks like Nancy is going to fall in love with Jonathon after they face off against the monster together and it’s seems like their’s going to be this clichéd romantic ending to their stories. But then at the end of the show, Nancy an Steve are back together and Shawn is this sort of third wheel, I though that was a good choice and showed a little realism.
There is one part of the show I am not to sure about how I feel. The ending. After the climax when the story is wrapping up a couple of hints are dropped to the audience that the story isn’t over. When the sheriff leaves the food in the forest and when Will see’s the Upside Down World in the bathroom. These scenes felt a little predictable, but I don’t think we’ll really be able to judge them until we see what they do with the next season
One let down was that the monster in the show wasn’t very scary, but I find that most movie/television monsters are pretty average. What was really impressive about the show is how they used the fear of the monster to build suspense. For so long the audience has no knowledge of who kidnapped Will Byers or where he is and as the story unfolds the suspense builds as the characters get closer to figuring out where he is.
Another part of the show I enjoyed watching was the ensemble cast. Every actor in the ensemble was great but there was one clear standout, Winona Ryder, who plays Joyce Byers, Will Byers mother. She had a tough job playing a grieving, at times hysteric and terrified mother who is on the edge of a nervous breakdown. I feel like this could have been played poorly and unrealistically but Winona Ryder nailed it.
Lastly the score and the soundtrack were phenomenal. I loved how they mixed punk and eighties hits with the very dark, electronic-synthy score. It made you feel like you were watching a creepy eighties movie and the soundtrack really set up the child and adolescent characters quite well, and the two sides balanced each other out perfectly.
Stranger Things isn’t the best show Netflix has put out, but it is thoroughly entertaining and the lighter tone of the show that mixes with the dark atmosphere makes it an enjoyable watch.
If you enjoyed this blog please like and follow False Ambitions and feel free to leave a comment.