For a dark and creepy show, Stranger Things is inherently comfortable.
Netflix has been a shocking spring of original programming, from their collaborations with Marvel, to Orange is the New Black and House Of Cards. Even their movies have been spectacular, and is proving that great stories and small production companies can deliver better products than a lot of major studios. Stranger Things is just another notch in Netflix’s belt.
The story centers around a foursome of preteens growing up in 80’s era Indiana. They are the losers of their little burg … the outsiders that play Dungeons and Dragons most of the time, and mess around with ham radios. The only thing they truly have is each other … until even that escapes them.
Their little town is rocked by the vanishing of Will Byers, their sweet and timid friend. The police, headed up by a chief(David Harbour) with substance abuse issues, have no answers for the community–let alone Nancy Byers(Winona Ryder), the boy’s distraught mother. The trio of remaining friends, led by Mike Wheeler(Finn Wolfhard) start their own investigation.
After just one episode, I got the sense that this show was a fun blend of X-Files and The Goonies. It’s a comfortable mix of supernatural terror and coming of age comedy that for some crazy reason works.
In their search, the boys come across a strange girl that doesn’t speak. She goes by the name Eleven(Millie Bobby Brown), or “El” for short. At first she just seems weird, but soon she lets on that she might know the location of their missing friend.
From there the show gets darker and begins to pose a lot of questions that seem nearly impossible to answer for before the short eight episode first season is over. The characters become more defined, as well, something a good show should do, but sometimes doesn’t. We learn more about Chief Hopper and far more about the strange girl, Eleven.
In the end, Stranger Things is the most original show I’ve seen in quiet some time, and is definitely the best in a long while. The story, while perfect, is executed tremendously by the cast. And even the eerie synth music of the theme and score had me googling to find out more about the music–by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, known as SURVIVE.
I highly recommend taking a look at Stranger Things. I kind of wished it hadn’t been on Netflix at all, but had been a traditional show. Then I could have savored the episodes slowly, having been forced to wait seven days between them. Instead, I gobbled them all up in an exquisite smorgasbord.