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Stranger Things is a sci-fi-horror television show created, written and directed by the Duffer Brothers and stars Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer and Charlie Heaton. This debut season was released last summer on Netflix and the story focuses on the disappearance of a young boy and a mysterious government agency covering up this disappearance in addition to a sinister, supernatural threat.
My Knowledge and Expectation of Season 1 of Stranger Things
This TV show was a phenomenon when it was released last summer and was widely praised for its writing, acting, visuals and its ability to recapture the 1980s and pay homage to it. The things that I were really excited about going into watching Stranger Things were its nostalgic nods to the 80s as well as the dynamic between the kids in the show. Indeed, they were regarded as giving fantastic performances for their age which, combined with all the great things I had heard about this show from critics and friends, meant that I had high hopes going into Stranger Things.
My Thoughts on Season 1 of Stranger Things
I found this first season of Stranger Things to be fantastic. One of the reasons why I liked the show as much as I did was because, at the core of the show, there is an intriguing, well-paced story which is very atmospheric and tense. Certainly, there are a lot of horror elements in this show and I do get scared quite easily which meant that I was on the edge of my seat for a good deal of the show. Still, there are a moments of light relief which help Stranger Things find balance and a lot of the comedic relief comes from the kids who are brilliant.
Truly, good child acting is a very tricky thing to pull-off as a child in any acting role can come across as very cringe-worthy and annoying very quickly (The Phantom Menace is a good example of this). Stranger Things achieves the remarkable feat of establishing a great dynamic between a very young cast of kids and making them really likeable in the process. They were all great but my favourite character of the kids was Dustin, played by Gaten Matarazzo, as he provided some of the sharpest and humorous lines of dialogue.
Performances and Nostalgia
Additionally, Millie Bobby Brown gave a really nuanced performance as Eleven and, on the adult side of things, David Harbour gave a great performance as Jim Hopper whose character, for me, had the most depth due to his tragic past. If one character annoyed me it was probably Nancy Wheeler because of her self-centred attitude (typical teenager) but even her character arc made up for that in the end.
As you can see, this show has a lot of great qualities, the biggest of which was its ability to make me feel nostalgic for the 1980s even though I was not born in that decade. Clearly, this show was designed to be an homage to 1980s pop culture and this is evident in the way it is shot, the opening title credits as well as its nods to the works of Steven Spielberg, Stephen King and George Lucas among many others. It does a really good job of paying respect to the 1980s while being its own unique show at the same time.
Additionally, this show has a great blend of horror, sci-fi and coming-of-age which ultimately means that this is a show which I highly recommend as there is something for everyone to get enjoyment out of. An atmospheric story, likeable and deep characters along with its ability to make us nostalgic for 1980s pop culture make this one of the strongest debut seasons of television I have seen for a while and, with the second season scheduled for release in July 2017, it seems like this show will go from strength to strength.
Did you like this review? You can find this review as well as others at my blog TheTurnerTalks.