Stranger Things: Not just 80’s nostalgia

Remember when the big movies coming out that everyone was excited about weren’t remakes, or reboots, or based on a comic book or video game or brand name or fairy tale or popular book series? Well, maybe this is 80’s nostalgia after all…

Stranger Things not only has the refreshing attribute of being something new, despite its nostalgic feel, but also of being something good. The acting is great and heartfelt, the story is interesting and surprising, and the look and feel of the world is memorable and fun. And all this without the producers having to buy a recognizable name and force the story to fit around it in order to get more views.

Watching it, I was reminded of when kids movies used to be actually scary, creepy, smart–fun for adults to watch too. Now everything is dumbed down with rounded edges and neutered monsters.

In the opening episode, the  monster almost gave me a tingle up my spine, and I’ve seen it all. I lost it though, when they gave it the same monster sounds (deep growl/screech and clicking sounds) that every monster for the past 10 or 15 years has had. Silence is much more creepy than that trope. But, I think they were aiming for the over-done in some cases (Kids know the truth and parents are clueless, teenage sex leads to the villain appearing, etc) to give it that throw-back feel.

This show was so good, that there is only one scene in the entire series that bothered me, and pulled me out of the story for a moment.

In episode 6, Joyce and Jim are talking to a woman with a missing child, that they suspect may be related to Will’s disappearance somehow. The woman’s caretaker starts describing how the woman believes her daughter had special powers, such as telekinesis and telepathy. At this point, six episodes in, there is no way anyone could have come so far without knowing what character that sounds like. Yet, we are still treated to several ‘flashback’ looks at El using her powers to wreak havoc, just to make sure we know what character with special powers (the only one on the show!) they are talking about. This is already insulting as a flashback (no, I am not so stupid I can’t figure out who they are talking about) but these aren’t events that anyone in the scene witnessed, so it’s not even a flashback! It is literally just past scenes inserted into the conversation the characters are having for sole purpose of making absolutely sure that I, the dimwitted viewer, know what is going on. This stood out so much (and badly) from the rest of the show that I can only imagine some producer or executive must have gotten confused while half paying attention and assumed it was the story’s fault.

Anyway, even if you aren’t into the 80’s, this was a really entertaining, well-thought-out, and fun show that the whole family can watch together. Highly recommended.

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