Stranger Things Review
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Stranger Things, the Netflix original series, premiered July 15, and was instantly met with rave reviews and audience acclaim. Five months after its release, Stranger Things sits at 95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a nine out of ten on IMDb. Season two was announced less than two months after the series aired.
The show focuses on the small town of Hawkins, Indiana, in 1983. The story picks up when Will Beyers, a 12-year-old boy, mysteriously disappears. His mother, Joyce, played by Winona Ryder, and police chief Jim Hopper, played by David Harbour, launch an investigation into his disappearance, unravelling mysteries involving secret government experiments, horrifying supernatural beings, and an extremely odd little girl.
The success of the show can be attributed to a multitude of factors.
The first reason is what’s known as the Netflix model. Netflix has been changing the way people watch tv for years by introducing binge watching, watching egregious amount of TV in a single sitting. We no longer have to wait an entire week between episodes because Netflix starts the next episode immediately. The downside of this is clear. Where do you stop?
Since 2015, Netflix has been releasing original series based off Marvel superheroes. Each season has thirteen episodes and each episode is roughly 50 minutes long, entirely too much TV to watch in a short amount of time if you value your sanity. Stranger Things, however, only has eight episodes.
Cutting down from eleven hours to six and a half may not seem like it makes much of a difference, but it allows for easier viewing and forces writers to only include the necessary pieces of the plot. Reaction to the shorter season was so positive that Netflix has decided future original series will adopt the eight episode format.
The show has also gained rave reviews due to its multiple storylines, which appeal to all age groups. Stranger Things follows three storylines based off popular genres of film from the 80’s. Chief Hopper and Joyce become wrapped up in a conspiracy, where the government has been conducting sinister experiments and need to be exposed. Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) and Nancy’s (Natalia Dyer) storyline is based off the horror genre of the 1980’s, the evil monster lurking in the shadows is hunting them and their friends. Will’s friends are in an E.T. style feel-good romp, in which they look after a strange new creature, Eleven, played expertly by Millie Bobby Brown, and overcome the problems of childhood and learn about growing up.
The multiple plot lines allow viewers of any age to latch on to the characters they connect with. All three factions come together in the final episodes, putting together the pieces of the puzzle that no one could solve alone.
Finally, the show includes child actors who truly know what they’re doing. Child actors generally are not great at their job. The cast of Harry Potter couldn’t carry a movie until the fourth film in the franchise. Macaulay Culkin has filled me with a desire to throw him into a river since I first saw Home Alone.
However, the kids in Stranger Things break the mold. Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven shines as the psychic child who’s spent most of her life as a lab rat and is just now discovering what it means to be a real person, and Finn Wolfhard (Mike), Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin), and Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas) are all on par with their adult counterparts.
Simply put, Stranger Things is one of the best television shows on right now. It perfectly blends horror, humor, romance, suspense, and drama. The story enthralls, the actors captivate, and you’ll be craving more.