REVIEW: Stranger Things – Season One (2016)

Poster - Netflix

Poster – Netflix

The following is a quick review of the first season of Stranger Things. Available now on Netflix.

Stranger Things is Netflix’s newest original series, and, in my opinion, it might be the best new show they’ve done since maybe Marvel’s Jessica Jones. Stranger Things is a science fiction horror show, which is set in the 1980s, starring Winona Ryder, David Harbour, and Millie Bobby Brown.

After a fun game of Dungeons and Dragons over at his friend’s house, young Will Byers (played by Noah Schnapp) goes missing. While Police Chief Hopper (played by David Harbour) starts an investigation, Will’s mother (played by Winona Ryder) has her own ideas of what happened and soon starts seeing things. Later, Will’s best friends encounter a mysterious and powerful young girl known only as ‘Eleven’ (played by Millie Bobby Brown).

Super 8 meets Poltergeist. That’s probably the best way I could really pitch or describe this show to anyone unaware of it. But, really, it feels like a mixture of multiple elements from other memorable films, but in the best possible way – all of those strangely familiar elements work very well. There’s a Spielberg-feel to some of it, but you can definitely tell it’s also inspired by John Carpenter and Stephen King.

The main title sequence is impressive, the Carpenter-like musical score is pretty perfect, I absolutely love the soundtrack, and I thought the show was surprisingly scary at times. The special effects aren’t exactly all that memorable or great, but then again this is a television show, and compared to other shows like it the effects look pretty good.

The cast is strong as well. Though somewhat stereotypical, I liked most of what Winona Ryder was doing, and I absolutely loved David Harbour’s very likable Police Chief. Harbour did a great job. But you have to also point out that the group of kids in the show is extremely well-cast, and Millie Bobby Brown is magnificent in Stranger Things.

Now, the mystery is almost always more interesting than the answer, and I have to admit that I thought the show was at its best in the first half of the season. That said, the conclusion to the season is pretty satisfying. You also have to remember that there are only eight episodes in this first season, thus making it perfect to bingewatch over a weekend.

A-

– Jeffrey

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