STRANGER THINGS: SEASON 1 REVIEW

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t watched this show, I suggest watching it AND do not read this.

 

While I’ve had Netflix for a few years now, I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I said I’ve binged on countless shows. However, I finally found a show that was way too easy to stay up until 4 AM to finish. “Stranger Things”, a Netflix original series which features eight episodes in its first season, captured my attention from the very beginning all the way until the very end. This show had a little bit of everything in it that kept me entertained and trying to predict what’s to come next. So, let’s jump right into the review.

 

PLOT:

The event that kicks off the entire show is when Will Byers goes missing in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana in 1983. And that’s about the only normal thing that happens in this show. A few words come to mind when trying to describe some of the events that occur. Bizarre, disturbing, thought-provoking. The idea of an alternate reality is absolutely fascinating and the idea that it parallels our very own was quite the concept. Although it is explained rather quickly in the show through a board game and a brief explanation from Mr. Clarke, it made enough sense for the plot to continue.

For every show, there is a main plotline and subplots that help structure the story and often times can stand alone without leading into the main storyline. Some were more important than others such as when Barbara disappears outside of Steve’s house. The only reason this happens is to get Nancy involved in the main story. It works, don’t get me wrong. But, for a story this great, it could’ve been better especially because there was no follow-up from Barbara’s mother that makes one appearance. The other notable subplots were the relationship with Nancy and Steve, Hopper’s daughter Sarah and his past, and the struggling marriage between the Wheelers.

One of the biggest questions I hope to have answered in the show’s second season is the mystery of Terry Ives. When Troy comes into the police station after Eleven saves Mike from jumping off the cliff, he explains to Hopper that this girl had superpowers that matched up with what Terry had claimed her daughter had. It leads me to believe that El is indeed her daughter Jane who is said to had been a miscarriage. The other big question comes after watching the end of episode 8 when Hopper gets into the back of a black car and it cuts to a scene of him putting food into a small chest. The most notable food? Eggos, El’s favorite snack. Oh, and one more thing. Will pukes slugs. I’m guessing the Upside Down left its marks within him. It hints at the fact that although Will is back in the real world, like Nancy and her nightmares after spending just a few moments in the Upside Down, he can’t shake the feeling that he is no longer the same Will Byers.

CHARACTERS:

Despite most of its main characters being kids under the age of 16, the acting was on point. Mike Wheeler, played by Finn Wolfhard, is the perfect example of a quirky and odd kid who attends middle school more interested in science and board games than sports in which society portrays as ‘normal’ both in the show and in reality. Although I didn’t cry when Mike cried over El disappearing after killing the monster, it was definitely great acting from such a young actor to evoke such emotions. I felt for the kid, I really did.

Dustin, played by Gaten Matarazzo, was probably the best comedic relief throughout the entire show. His moments of brilliance and comedy made him a crucial part of the trio of heroes. He had a lot on his mind throughout the entire show. From being the voice of reason between Mike and Lucas, and building a water tank from scratch simply through the explanation from Mr. Clarke, Dustin played a key role in finding Will and keeping his friend group alive and well.

Lucas, played by Caleb McLaughlin, was the quick-tempered, hotheaded one of the group and played a great role. His acceptance of El later on showed the bright and beautiful aspect of being children. Not all fights need to turn into wars and most arguments can be worked out. Adults, take note.

Jim Hopper, played by David Harbour, was one of my favorite characters. Portrayed as a classic police chief that doesn’t care too much about his job because he lives in such a quiet town, was one of the deepest characters in the entire show. The story of his daughter was extremely heartbreaking and propelled both the plot and Hopper to help Joyce find and save Will from the Upside Down. His role to be a rebellious police chief and stand up against the government was quite admirable.

Joyce Byers, played by Winona Ryder, was the image of every single mother I know, especially including my own mother. I don’t know a single mom who wouldn’t go crazy if her kid went missing, but Joyce definitely won out in the psycho department, or so it seemed. Her drive and willingness to keep fighting and searching for clues to rescue her son was heartfelt and reassuring. One of my favorite scenes was when she reassured Eleven in the pool when she was searching for Will in the seventh episode. Something about that scene made me want to love my mom just a bit more.

Nancy Wheeler, played by Natalia Dyer, stole my heart. I have a huge crush for her and honestly, how could you not? First off, she is gorgeous. But, let’s move past just looks and look at her heart and personality. The show plays Nancy off first as a superficial teenager who’s looking for the ideal ‘bad boy’ boyfriend to break free from her helicopter parents. However, it was evident that Nancy was really caring and deep down a bit weird like her brother through her best friend Barbara who was also a ‘study freak’ nerd who didn’t have the rebellious edge about her like Nancy. Her change of heart to help out Jonathan Byers creates the perfect, unlikely duo that in the end helps find Will.

Jonathan Byers, played by Charlie Heaton, reminded me a bit about my own big brother. Although my own brother isn’t really into photography and has a bit more confidence than Jonathan, they both share the big brother qualities that only younger siblings and mothers can see. He goes to the ends of the earth to find his younger brother and keeps his mother from drowning in depression when he was also neck deep in the same waters. The way Jonathan looks at Will after he’s recovering in the hospital was one of the more memorable scenes in the show.

Eleven, played by Millie Brown, was hands down my favorite character. From the moment the boys discover her into the woods, to the end when she sheds a tear as she sacrifices herself to kill the monster, I was captivated by her. El was a character with very few words with a rough history that has yet to be fully explained. Her powers were nothing out of the ordinary, meaning I’ve seen it in different movies before. I really hope this wasn’t the last time we see El. And I have every reason to believe our favorite little weirdo is alive and well.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

I really hope they decide to make a second season. It’s set up pretty well to do it, but “Stranger Things” would need to go over the top to repeat the same success it had with the first season. I completely agree with the 9.1/10 grade IMDb gave it. Let’s see if they can blow our minds again.

 

Thank you guys so much for reading this review on “Stranger Things”. If you guys have any comments or questions, feel free to leave in the comment section below.