By Will Price, ’18
On the outside, Stranger Things looks like a cliche horror series. However, the show’s overall plot separates itself from the pack with its outstanding writing and many twists and turns throughout the first season. Taking place in 1983 in the town of Hawkins, Indiana, a boy goes missing, leaving his friends, family, and the local police chief on a manhunt like no other. When the mysterious girl Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) pops up, it only makes things more surreal for all involved as they get deeper into things they never would have imagined.
Horror series will always bring scares and thrills, and that will always bring viewers. It can be hard to find horror movies that bring more that just the screams. The connection developed with Joyce (Winona Ryder) and Chief Hopper (David Harbour) brings more than just that. All characters have interesting dynamics, and none feel useless. Ryder does great as Joyce, the desperate mom who clings to hope. She does a great job of playing the grieving mother, as she takes the viewers on her emotional roller coaster after the disappearance of her son. Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin, is also great with his character in the series. The condition he has in real life, cleidocranial dysplasia, causes a lovable feature in his character. Matarazzo and Ryder stand out particularly in their performances, and our the actors that excelled over the course of the season.
The writing of the show, produced, created, and written by the Duffer Brothers, is the most exceptional part of the show. As the show gets deeper into the season, it feels like every little thing matters, which keeps viewers intrigued throughout the show. Even as the show breaks down between the adventures of Joyce and Chief Hopper and the teenage trio of Mike, (Finn Wolfhard) Dustin and Lucas, (Caleb McLaughlin) it always comes back towards the bigger story. The throwback element because of the setting (1983) is great nostalgia. No iPhones and texting, and the use of the handheld radios is great because of their unusualness. Something about going back before the technology we have today is always exciting, and this show brings that out to the fullest. It’s easy to see how suspense is added when a character can’t just text or call help on the spot when in danger but is instead forced to run or hide immediately.
Even if horror isn’t your genre of choice, anyone who enjoys binge watching a Netflix show should love going through this Netflix original. The show currently has eight episodes, with a second season slated for summer 2017. It’s plausible to get through the show in one weekend. The show is sure to test your nerves at times but it has to do with great suspenseful building with the script and plot. Episodes end in places that beckon you to immediately jump right into the next one. As long as you can deal with the scares, the show is highly worth it.