I just finished the Netflix original series Stranger Things. My insides are still shaking from the range of excitement this show delivers in so many different ways. There is a lot of crap on TV these days, but this is far from it. If you don’t have Netflix this show should be the reason you fork over the dough and get it. The creators of this series are Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer, twin brothers in their 30s who were turned down over a dozen times from various studios for this project. I am sure those studios are kicking themselves right now because this show delivers everything you want in a sci-fi thriller.
The show is set in the early 80s in a small town in Indiana. Within in the first 5 minutes you feel like you are back in the 80s and with your big hair, big glasses and tube televisions. Right away your nostalgia is replaced with that horrible feeling in your gut that something just isn’t right in that little town. Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) is a young kid that is surrounded by an awesome group of friends: Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Mike (Finn Wolfhard). They are bunch of Hobbit loving, Dungeons and Dragons playing, nerds. These kids deliver powerful performances that live up to the rest of the elements of the show. Will goes missing in the first episode. Technically not a spoiler since the name of the episode is The Vanishing of Will Byers. His mother, Joyce Byers, is played by Winona Ryder. In shock over her son, Will’s, disappearance Joyce does what any parent would do. She loses her shit. Ryder should win an Emmy for this role. Her performance makes you feel like you are experiencing it right alongside her and you want to reach out and comfort her the best way you know how.
As the story progresses you meet more strong characters that help tell us that something is not normal about Will’s missing case. One of the main characters that helps us figure this out is Chief Hopper (David Harbour). Immediately, you realize there are many layers to him that are hidden by his ‘I don’t really give a shit’ attitude. As the realization that “something sci-fi” is happening, Chief Hopper believes Joyce when no one else does.
You are already hooked after a few episodes and you really feel like you don’t know what the “something sci-fi” is. That is okay. The excitement from not knowing puts you in the minds and emotions of these characters. You know that the villain isn’t just “something sci-fi”. It is a group of people, a government agency and the overall cover-up of something just not right. The layers are peeled back as Dustin, Lucas and Mike search for Will. These kids run all over the place searching for clues as to his whereabouts. I questioned several times the fact that their parents didn’t know where they were but then I remembered it was the 80s and our parents let us roam free and play outside til dark. If I ever go missing this is the trio I want searching for me. Along the way the guys find a girl, Ele (Millie Bobby Brown). You don’t know what the hell her story is, but you quickly learn that she is definitely different than most other kids.
I chose to write this spoiler free because I really want you to experience all of this show as it is meant to be experienced. The subtle way the creepy elements appear are integrated in a way that will have you questioning things in your everyday existence. It will make you remember when you were a kid and everything was a possibility, good or evil. It will take you back to a time when you used to think things were hiding in your closet or underneath your bed. It might also make you think that those things you feared might be still be there and you just forget to check under your bed or in the closet. Maybe you should look tonight before you go to sleep. Just a suggestion.
Let me know what you think after you watch Stranger Things.