Stranger Things Book Cover Stranger Things
Science Fiction, Thriller, Adolescent Action Adventure
Netflix
July 2016

This thrilling Netflix original drama stars Golden Globe-winning actress Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers, who lives in a small Indiana town in 1983 — inspired by a time when tales of science fiction captivated audiences. When Joyce’s 12-year-old son, Will, goes missing, she launches a terrifying investigation into his disappearance with local authorities. As they search for answers, they unravel a series of extraordinary mysteries involving secret government experiments, unnerving supernatural forces, and a very unusual little girl.

I’m going to start by saying that I’m a complete sucker for kid action adventure. As a child I’d dream of finding treasure with Mikey, Mouth, and Chunk. Of eating Reese’s Pieces with E.T. Of finding my own lost boys. That hasn’t changed as I became an adult, I mean, Super 8? Kids making their own zombie film? I’m THERE! Throw me some red corn syrup and call me a zombie.

Another thing… I’m reviewing each season separately for obvious reasons. *ahem* When Stranger Things first premiered, July 2016, I had a lot going on. I also don’t watch something because of hype and my first thought was it was over-hyped. I took one look at episode one and knew, just knew this was something I needed to watch for the first time with my hubs and son. WHY? JUST WHY, didn’t I watch this sooner? I mean, there is one thing and one thing only driving the show and we all know what that something is or someone…

I totally relate to Mike in this one. I just want to hug her and love her and be her best friend because she’s totally badass in no way that’s fair. Seriously. I even made El my desktop picture as if I’d forget about her any time soon.

The other *thing* driving the show for me was the obvious homeage to the 80’s (this show was MADE for POP CULTURE freaks like myself). Since I wasn’t even born during the time setting of season one, people will probably laugh at the nostalgia it brings me. Seriously, laugh all you want but I’m an old soul and probably older than your great-great grandpa, mmm-kay?

I wrote down my favorite 80’s callbacks on the second watch-through just because:

  • Stephen King hides in all the nooks and crannies
  • So does Spielberg
  • E.T.
  • Close Encounters
  • The Goonies
  • The Hobbit
  • Trapper Keepers
  • 80’s Teen Film Tropes GALORE
  • Classic Horror Film Tropes GALORE
  • Pan’s Labyrinth
  • The Thing
  • The Mist
  • Poltergeist
  • Jaws
  • Rocky

And the… the cliches. All the cliches! AND I LOVED EVERY SINGLE ONE. Stranger Things is prime example of how you handle cliches, folks. Take the lesson. Take it now. Make them fresh and exciting and no one will give a shit. I love this so much because the whole “that’s so cliche” thing irritates me to no end. If someone wants to write in a cliche, then do it. Stranger Things basically throws up both middle fingers and tells those cliche haters to suck it. This kind of story is exactly why I say write what you want, how you want, just give it soul. If writers never did that, then we’d never have Stranger Things or any other brilliant story to devour.

Anyhoo, the music, the cinematography, the editing… just everything. Think of my nostalgia list all rolled into one show and you have the amazing and special Stranger Things.

The kid and I love referencing all the things we deem cool and Stranger Things is NUMERO UNO right now. Our obsession knows no bounds. My favorite saying, “Mornings are for coffee and contemplation.” His favorite, “Friends don’t lie,” to which he loves throwing in my face when he knows I’m holding back things because I’m the adult and he’s the kid.

The real kicker about this show is I can’t really delve too deeply because it’ll give the mystery away. And everyone needs to feel that intense, “I NEED TO KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON RIGHT NOW,” feeling. All in all, season one’s my favorite and I’ll post my review of season two to tell you why!

**WOOT! I did not ramble on about Eleven as much as I thought I would. And if you’re as obsessed with ALL THE THINGS STRANGER THINGS, here’s a list of must need junk you should buy ASAP.

 

While the theme and characterization are the driving forces, the plot wasn’t too shabby. The whole upside down, faceless man deal, while done before, was done in an interesting and intriguing way. All elements of the plot were interwoven beautifully and I never got confused about what was going on. More than anything, I couldn’t wait to find out what happens next which is an imperative feeling for the audience in any thriller or adventure plot.

Oh MY. How I love all of these characters and if I didn’t love them, I loved to hate them, or they eventually grew on me. Season One deserves 10 brilliant stars for characterization alone.

Pacing was perfect.

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