I just finished Stranger Things on Netflix and I’m here to urge you all to eschew all of your responsibilities like kids and work and housecleaning and to immediately view this with your eyeballs. Set in the 80’s, the whole show has the enticing feel of a paperback novel you can’t put down.
The show transports you to the 80’s: a world of cassette tapes and walkie-talkies that don’t work unless in range, landlines and large bicycles that allowed a kid to have free reign over a neighborhood. This show just wouldn’t have worked with cell phones and laptops. Stock characters abound, but you don’t mind. It’s comfortable. The popular and unpopular teens, the geeky middle schoolers playing Dungeons and Dragons, the single mom who works SO HARD, the wise and lovable science teacher, and the wounded yet capable sheriff who finds himself wrapped up in something bigger that shakes the foundation of a small, sleepy town.
And of course, NIGHTMARE MONSTERS!
This show doesn’t just recycle what we’ve seen in 80’s sci fi already, that’s just the backdrop. The concept is fresh and utterly compelling. E.T. meets Stand By Me with a faceless, carnivorous monster that comes from the Upside-Down, a world that is parallel to ours and full of toxic air and the stuff of nightmares. It’s an expert balancing act of the mundane and the extraordinary.
The show starts with the monster taking a boy, Will, and sets off everyone’s frantic search for him. The tension the show builds is just enough for the viewer to take. The scene where Winona Ryder’s character cries out for her son, “Where are you?” and he communicates to her with the lights: ‘Right Here’ followed by a cryptic: ‘RUN,’ as the monster literally comes through the wall makes for some magical television.
The characters are so well done that the comic relief they provide never feels out of place or canned. My favorite scene was near the end, when the teenagers join forces to kick monster ass. They bait it, beat it with baseball bats, shoot it, and catch it in a bear trap. That’s not enough to kill the thing, but the catharsis the scene provides is wonderful, and so earned.
This is very worth your time.This is the best Science Fiction series I’ve seen in a while, because it gets so many things right. A few loose ends go on untied at the end, but within reasonable parameters.
So call off work today. I mean it.