Stranger Things has been yet another hit for Netflix worldwide and again seems that everything they do turns to gold. Now there are the few people who didn’t like the series and say that it was cliche, but that is exactly what was great about it and made me fall in love with it. There will be spoilers ahead as we will be talking about the entire series, rather than just episodes at a time.
Stranger Things is not a character driven drama like a lot of the recent additions to television like Breaking Bad, or Game of Thrones, rather it is story driven. We don’t get long and in depth looks at the histories and motives of the characters but rather we are straight into the story of the upside down and the characters that inhabit and who are at risk of it. We only learn the periphery details behind a lot of the characters, like the fact that Hopper lost a daughter, hence his strong desire to help find a missing child.
There have been criticisms of the cliches in the the series: the lost child; the group of friends who won’t give up, the alien creatures, the crazy mother, but it doesn’t really matter when it comes down to it. What does matter is the execution of the content, rather than the content itself. Through the use of makeup, sets and music we are not only watching a show based in the 1980’s but we are transported there through the use of this constant atmosphere.
Winona Ryder also stars in the series, but doesn’t steal the show – she is a dependable and solid part of the cast but is well outshone by the young actors who do the brunt of the work.
The story tells the tale of a group of friends of whom one goes missing in mysterious circumstances, seemingly chased by a supernatural being. Not long after this and just into their search for their friend Will, they encounter a young shaved head girl who either is unable, or refuses, to speak. She is immediately taken under the wing of the group of boys who are still in that stage of life where the line between fantasy and reality is somewhat blurred. Without spoiling the entirety of the story, we see the boys and some trusted adults fight the evil that sits besides their world. Throughout this we see some awesome throwbacks to classic 80’s movies like the Stand By Me-esque walk along the railroad tracks, the ET style pink dress that Eleven is dressed in for her trip to the school and the haircuts, especially the haircuts. Stephen King himself has even referenced that Stranger Things is like his ‘greatest hits’ and there are strong connections to novels like IT with the band of friends battling a supernatural creature. Finn Wolfhard (what a rad name) who plays Mike, the unofficial leader of the group, is even in the new IT film which is in production now.
Overall, Stranger Things is a solid addition to the Netflix stable and while they keep producing quality product like this it is baffling that there hasn’t yet been a standout film made by their production company, although I wouldn’t think that it is far off.
Oh, and no-one cares about Barb.
For more Stranger Things, check out The Psychology of Stranger Things