If you have never heard of Stranger Things then chances are that you are living under a rock without any internet. I’m joking of course, but seriously, I don’t know how anyone has not at least heard of this show. Stranger Things is a Netflix Original series that has taken the world by storm. By combining just the right amounts of horror, sci-fi, mystery, and adventure, with a little bit of romance and humor thrown in for good measure, the Duffer Brothers have created a show that pretty much everyone can enjoy.
A major part of any show is its cast. We have to watch these characters grow over a period of time much longer than that of a movie, and if the actors don’t portray the characters well, the show can fall apart before it is even off the ground. The cast of Stranger Things had me and my family hooked within the first 45 minutes of the first episode. Not since the first Harry Potter movies have I seen such a phenomenal cast of child actors. In one of the most of important roles is young Millie Bobby Brown (Madison O’Donnell in Intruders) as Eleven or “El”. She delivers a stellar performance without talking in more than one sentence phrases for most of the 8 episode run. In addition to Brown, there are 3 main boys in the cast Finn Wolfhard (Jordie Pinsky in Supernatural) in the role of Mike Wheeler, Caleb McLaughlin (Jay-Jay in Shades of Blue) as Lucas Sinclair, and Gaten Matarazzo (Finn in The Blacklist) as Dustin Henderson. All three of these young actors are phenomenal and will (hopefully) go very far. In regards to teenagers, the role of Nancy Wheeler, Mike’s older sister, is played by Natalia Dyer (Davina in I Believe in Unicorns), Steve, who is a jerk for most of the show, is played by Joe Keery (Gabe in Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party), and Jonathan Byers is played by Charlie Heaton (Shut In). With this large gang of younger actors, the adults in the show needed to take the show to the next level. Thankfully, they are able to do just that. Winona Ryder (Beth Macintyre in Black Swan), in the role of Joyce Byers, is extremely gifted at portraying an unhinged, grief ridden mother alongside David Harbour (Gregg Beam in Quantum of Solace) who plays the role of police chief Hopper. The entire cast oozes chemistry that works to hold the show together.
Not only is the cast out of this world, but the plot and writing give them the chance to really show the depth of their characters. The Duffer Brothers have managed to create a show completely unlike anything else on television as this moment in time. They combine elements spanning genres and give the show an 80s vibe, without it being too clichéd or overdone. They beautifully balance horror with humor, creating the perfect mix of edge-of-your-seat moments with genuine laughs, not to mention a little romance thrown in or the side for good measure. Seriously…. I shipped two 12 year olds together way more than I should have….
Any fan of 80s films will see the similarities in this series. The Duffer Brothers clearly drew inspiration from films such as E.T, The Goonies, and Alien. In addition to this, the props and costumes are spot one. The give the finishing touches to the show, making viewers feel like it really is the 80s again.
Nothing is ever complete without a soundtrack or score, and Stranger Things doesn’t disappoint. With an amazing opening title sequence, the feel and tone of the series are set with the sound of a synthesizer. In addition to the opening credits, the score is used throughout the show giving it a haunting and fantastical feel when needed. Along with the score, a collection of 80s music is used throughout, solidifying the 80s vibe.
The only down side to the series is that there were a few moments that were kind of predictable (not going to say what they were because..spoilers). However, they don’t deter from the series all that much. I also wasn’t a huge of how it ended (or really that it ended in general).
Overall, I give Stranger Things a 9/10 stars.