“Something’s coming. Something hungry for blood,” whispers Mike Wheeler after a silent first few minutes of the show. Not only does he foreshadow the anticipated drama of the Netflix original Stranger Things, but he also unknowingly predicts its wild popularity and quick nature of hooking hoards of T.V. watchers.
Stranger Things chronicles the story of Hawkins, Indiana after 11-year-old Will Byers mysteriously goes missing. After his disappearance, dark government agencies and sinister supernatural forces converge on the town. His mom, along with three friends and the police chief, become entangled in discovering what led to his vanishing.
As Will goes missing, a young girl with superhuman powers appears on the outskirts of town. While searching the woods where their friend went missing, Mike, Lucas and Dustin find the girl, Eleven, and band together to find Will because she claims to know him.
Stranger Things truly exceeded my expectations of being just another summary dose of science fiction brain candy.
First, the young cast was stellar. In today’s slew of T.V. shows, we mostly see stories about 20-something women looking for “Mr. Right,” or comedies centering around men in the corporate world, which we teens and anyone under the age of 20 can’t relate to. Finally, we have preteen actors who are able to give much more convincing and moving roles than their adult counterparts on network television.
The character Eleven especially proved that young actors can give performances that rival any adult. With her very few lines, (the ones she did have were usually fragmented scraps of dialogue) she was still able to convey fear, doubt, sadness and love with only slight variations in that iconic stare.
Even the young boys, Mike, Lucas, Dustin and Will, gave great performances. Will was not in the show much, but his quiet innocence was winning; oppositely, Mike successfully carried the bulk of the show’s plot, and he could easily switch from the sweet neighborhood boy to the valiant hero. Lucas was the group’s skeptic, and Dustin was the voice of reason; both of them gave terrific performances for such young actors.
Finally, watching Stranger Things was a surmountable feat due to its length: eight episodes and each about an hour. Too many shows throw seasons at viewers with 20 plus episodes. How are we supposed to remember everything that happened from the conventional running time of September to June, usually with breaks in between, and how are we supposed to find time to watch 22 episodes? The decision to create a short season was greatly appreciated because once a show airs for too long it runs the risk of repetition and destroying its own momentum.
SPOILER ALERT: My one gripe about the show is that there are some obvious plot holes: the main one being what happened to Barb?! I don’t want to spoil anything for any readers out there who haven’t finished the show, but really writers: how can you just forget about her? Will is not the only one lost in the Upside Down!
Stranger Things has now been out for three months, and as we continue further away from its release date, more and more people become hooked and, like myself, binge watch the show in record time. Now that we have all devoured the first season, we are just staring at Netflix wondering: what’s next for Hawkins? Thankfully (but obviously), the show was renewed for a second season, and we are all just as impatient for its arrival as Eleven is for her Eggos.