Strangely Good: A ‘Stranger Things’ Review

Hawkins, Indiana. November 6, 1983. Four pre-teen boys innocently play Dungeons and Dragons in a dimly-lit basement unaware that their lives are about to change forever. Netflix released the first season of Stranger Things, created by the Duffer Brothers, this past July and it is already a nation-wide phenomenon. Not only is the spine-chilling story incredible, but the cast members behind the magical series have incredible stories too.

The show is scary. Not gory or disturbing scary, just scary in the sense that the events seem very real. It is thrilling and creepy and yet you cannot bear to shift your gaze from your TV or computer screen. I would not recommend watching alone, though. Half because it is scary, half because you are going to want to fangirl/boy with someone after each installment.

The first episode begins with the four boys – Mike, Dustin, Lucas and Will – concluding their weekly hangout in Mike’s basement. Dustin, Lucas and Will grab their bikes and pedal home. Will’s house is the furthest away and he soon finds himself biking in the dark alone. Some creepy noises are heard – twigs snap, lights flicker, intense music plays quietly in the background. Will tries to remain calm as he continues his ride home. Suddenly, the headlight on Will’s bike clicks off without warning. A large being is definitely visible in the woods where Will is now biking through. Could it be an animal? A person? Or…

A noise is made now, loud and unlike any noise ever made by human or animal. Will abandons his bike and makes a break for his house. He bursts in but nobody is home. Will throws open the back door and runs into the dingy shed in his backyard. His hands tremble as he loads bullets into a small hand gun. He holds the gun up and waits. Everything is silent. Suddenly, in flash of light, Will vanishes, and nothing is the same.

Ooooh… chills.

Okay, so why is this show so absolutely fantastic? Here is my brief list:

1. The 80’s Aesthetic

Ah the 80’s… a time of big hair, neon, and memorable movies. The show is set in 1983 and the setting plays a significant role in the plot and overall feel of the series. From apparel classics like wide-rimmed glasses, bold sweaters, and striped tube socks to classic rock hits like The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go”. The show is sure to make those of the 80’s generation feel nostalgic. Additionally, Winona Ryder leads the fantastic cast of Stranger Things and her stardom can be attributed to such 80’s classics as Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands.

2. The Kids

The cast of kids features Noah Schnapp as Will Byers, Finn Wolfhard as Michael “Mike” Wheeler, Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson, Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair, and the stunning Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven or “El”. The last time I wanted to be part of a squad this badly was when Taylor Swift released her “Bad Blood” music video. Ever since July, the kids have taken over the media. They can be found on BuzzFeed eating waffles and reviewing 80’s toys. They have already appeared on The Tonight Show, where they sprayed Jimmy Fallon with silly string and reenacted an iconic scene from the show. Matarazzo, McLaughlin, and Brown were invited to the Emmys where they danced to “Uptown Funk” and passed out PB&J sandwiches to the star-studded audience via bicycles, in true Stranger Things fashion. The kids are not just silly and fun in the media, their acting on Stranger Things is flawless. In an interview with BBC, child star phenom Daniel Radcliffe gushed over the kids.

“As a person who started out acting really young, how are they so good?” said Radcliffe. “I wasn’t that good when I was a kid.”

You know these guys are good when HARRY POTTER is a fan. It will be interesting to see how these superstars will develop in their acting career in the future, seeing as they are all between twelve and fifteen years old currently.

3. Yet another love triangle

*Minor spoilers ahead*

As with many other films and shows with cult followings, viewers must pick a side in a love triangle. So, are you team Steve or team Jonathan? The cast of Stranger Things does have some fantastic kids, but the teens are also quite captivating. Nancy Wheeler, played by Natalia Dyer, is Mike’s sister and she is your typical book-worm, school-smarts kind of gal. Steve Harrington, played by Joe Keery, is the most popular boy in school (in a Danny Zuko from Grease kind of way) but he is a real jerk. Jonathan Byers, played by Charlie Heaton, is the mysterious, brooding, wall-flower type who is shaken emotionally by the disappearance of his brother, Will. In the beginning of the season, Nancy and Steve are all over each other and she seems pretty happy considering his social status at school. Later on though, she starts to work more with Jonathan and the romantic tension is very evident. Because Steve is such a loud-mouthed jerk for the first few episodes, views may be quick to settle on team Jonathan. However, Steve does have a change of heart, and as he and Nancy cuddle in the final moments of episode eight, you may find yourself a team Steve convert. I am certainly eager to find out who Nancy will select in season two. Personally, I have no preference – she is a winner either way.

4. Barb

*Minor spoilers ahead*

WHERE WAS BARB’S FUNERAL?? WHERE WAS BARB’S SEARCH PARTY?? These questions and more have been plaguing fans and internet users since the show’s release. Since her untimely death in the first few episodes, people have been protesting with the slogan “Justice For Barb”. Honestly, I agree. The creators of the show, the Duffer Brothers, claimed in an interview that there will indeed be justice for Barb in season two so I guess we will have to just wait and see.

Long story short, you have to watch this show. Catch the entire season one on Netflix right now and if you are already a fan, look out for season two, which will premiere in 2017!

Eliza Kuperschmid is a senior at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School and the News Editor for The Fanscotian.
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