Stranger Things: a TV series review

Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) and his friends often ride bikes around their hometown of Hawkins, Indiana. (Google)
Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) and his friends often ride bikes around their hometown of Hawkins, Indiana. (Google)

By LAYANN BASILEH
Staff Writer

Netflix, notorious for its addictive original productions, recently released Stranger Things, a new entrancing television series. This eight episode supernatural thriller begins when a young boy named Will Byers mysteriously disappears in the middle of the night. Will’s friends and family frantically struggle to find him with the help of Eleven, a strange girl with psychic abilities, and the town sheriff who’s struggling with his own past. As the search goes on, the characters discover there are dark forces lurking in their town: sinister beings from this world and the next.  

Stranger Things, taking place in the 1983, is heavily influenced by ‘80s pop culture, with characters humming era-appropriate songs, using walkie talkies to communicate with each other, and making references to the ongoing Cold War. Along with 1980s homages, it features breathtaking cinematography, providing stunning visuals containing beautiful landscape shots and captivating contrasting scenes, such as a ragged interior of a house illuminated with colorful Christmas lights, or the show’s most iconic image, a mysterious world with white wisps floating softly in the air, giving a serene feel to the otherwise grotesque setting.The series’s short length actually works in its favor. The story unfolds elegantly, and never feels rushed, allowing the scientific aspects of the show to be properly explained and characters to develop naturally and realistically. However, the series remains quick paced enough to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Winona Ryder and David Harbour give brilliant and emotional performances as Joyce Byers (Will’s mother), and the town’s sheriff Chief Hopper, but the limelight is stolen by the younger actors playing Will’s friends: Mike (Finn Wolfhard) , Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin). These 12 year old actors, despite their age, fully step into their characters, managing to deliver heartfelt and tear jerking scenes, while still incorporating the immaturity and silliness of pre-adolescent boys. Their performances give the show a youthful and nostalgic atmosphere similar to Super 8 and The Goonies.

Millie Bobby Brown, who portrays Eleven, gives a particularly outstanding performance, conveying a turmoil of emotions almost entirely through body movement and facial expressions.

UHS students have reacted positively to the show. “Stranger Things will have you hooked from episode one and keep you guessing till the very end,”  says Amir Zekria (Sr.).

Overall, Stranger Things takes its audience through an adventure that will leave them desperate for more. It has received widespread critical acclaim, currently holding a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 9.1/10 on IMDb. The second season is set to air on Netflix in 2017.

 

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