The reason why I haven’t posted anything lately, is because I’ve been under the influence of a serious Stranger Things binge. First off, I must say Netflix has been killing it with their Netflix Originals and I anxiously anticipate their future slate that incorporates Bright and The Defenders. Botu of these being vastly different projects with the promise of greatness. The business model they’ve been using is simply great, because instead of having to worry about box-office, they only have to worry about presenting a great story, which they do almost every time. Stranger Things serves as a great example of this as Netflix took a chance in developing an ultra sci-fi tale with barely any recognizable talents written by two brother with not the greatest track-record.
Stranger Things is a supernatural conspiracy thriller at its core that wears the 80’s as a really cool trench coat. Paying tribute to the likes of Stephen King and Steven Spielberg, Stranger Things rides a fine line of paying tribute to the greatness of the aforementioned whilst still being able to concentrate on forwarding its own story. As for the conspiracy thriller part of it, what I mean by that is that its much more Repo Man than it is E.T. Its wacko science-fiction that takes advantage of its limitless barriers within the genre and it revolves around children and has child-friendly moments,it feels much more like watching Poltergeist than The Goonies in a sense of mood. The atmosphere is dark with moments of fun, lets not forget the series’s premise revolves around the disappearance of a small child. With that said, the majority of the time we spend with the children does feel like we’re watching The Goonies go on their most dangerous mission.
All credit goes towards the casting director who assembled such an incredible team. Carmen Cuba who had previously put the cast together for The Martian, strikes again as she perfectly understands who to cast to represent the powerful character dynamics presented by the Duffers. Which also speaks to the Duffers’ ability to write, each kid present in the series has such a fantastic singularity to them, each one has a very particular set of quirks and personality traits that make them feel like people and just throwaway characters, which is sadly what a kid in a movie or t.v. show is most of these days. Everyone in the series was fantastic, but clearly the standouts were Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin and David Harbour as Hopper. Both of these actors were presented with characters that were primarily problematic but you ended up loving and its all because of their performance, where the character of Dustin could of easily been annoying, Matarazzo makes him charismatic. As for David Harbour, a great character actor, he really shines here, transforming what could of been a dull component of the story into the strongest character in the series.
After having praised the phenomenal job the actors in Stranger Things did portraying their characters, I must point out probably my only problem with the series. That is, the rushing of character development, mostly due to the fact that there’s only eight episodes this season. Which meant we had to sit through some oddly placed flashbacks and some characters felt like completely different people from one episode to the next. It was somewhat annoying and could’ve easily been fixed if they had included just one episode more. Sticking to my issues regarding the series, some of the special effects did feel very t.v.-ish.
But that’s all, those are the only two issues I had with the first season of Stranger Things, both of them being common problems linked to a first season. The special effects budget will probably be amped for next season and more episodes will be added now that this stellar intro has proven successful. The acting was incredible all around, the Duffers really mined the 80’s in a very respectful and awesome way. The story and mystery of the whole season was handled exceptionally well as it constantly got more nerve-racking and intense with each episode and the finale perfectly concluded some story-lines while leaving you with certain hints that leave you anxiously awaiting what could happen next. Stranger Things season 1 is an exceptional start with so many great concepts that will hopefully propel it towards leaving a fantastic legacy behind after some more seasons that will finalize such a unique mystery.