Photo courtesy of netflix.com
Do you use social media or have friends? Hell, do you see at least one person at some point during your day? If so, chances are you have recently read or heard something about Stranger Things.If you are like me, you have been bombarded with headlines on Twitter from major entertainment news sources such as Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and even Pitchfork since the show premiered on Netflix July 15.
Why, you might ask yourself, is a show that has been around for over two months still such a hot topic? Here is your answer: it is really, re-ally good. But what makes it really, really good?
For starters, writers and directors Matt and Ross Duffer have created the perfect atmosphere. Stranger Things is clearly an homage to science fiction and adventure films from the 80s.
Aesthetically, the show has a very Steven Spielberg/John Carpenter/George Lucas feel to it – in fact, I constantly caught my-self making comparisons to The Goonies (for which Spielberg was the executive producer). The small town of Hawkins, Indiana is dark and bleak but filled to the brim with colorful characters, especially the kids who are each a trope straight out of a John Hughes film in their own right.
You have got your group of mischievous, meddlesome preteen boys, your older sister trying to find her place in the vicious social hierarchy that is high school, your weirdo outsider… the list goes on. And the icing on this moody, multi-tiered cake is the soundtrack – both the eerie, subtle electronics heard in the title sequence, and the use of The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go” throughout nearly every episode.
The story might be a little hard to wrap your head around at first – it takes the entire first episode to get the ball rolling. The main storyline revolves around the disappearance of a tween named Will Byers from the perspective of 1) his friends, 2) his mother and brother, and 3) the town sheriff. As things progress, each group stumbles upon different clues, and it is when those groups start interacting with each other that the show really gets addicting. There is nothing more satisfying than watching Will’s mom (played by the fantastic Winona Ryder) finally discover an essential piece of the puzzle that you know his friends have known about for a good three episodes. Factor in the government conspiracies and Big Bad Monster, and this series is basically Netflix’s TV-14 version of crack cocaine.
Stranger Things goes by surprisingly quickly and obviously its finale, although simultaneously heartbreaking and uplifting, does next to nothing to calm your nerves. Luckily, Season Two is al-ready in the works. Do yourself a favor and get caught up before it comes out – at least then you will be able to understand what all the hype is about.