For those of us who grew up with ET, The Goonies, Firestarter, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Indiana Jones, Stranger Things might feel rather familiar. It’s a wonderful series, and I’m a huge fan of the soundtrack too. But it often feels a bit more like a homage than an original work. Not to take away from what it is. It does what it does very well, but it really seems like much of the credit is owed to the works that it borrows so liberally from. But now that I have that off my chest:
Right from the moment that I heard the soundtrack playing in the opening credits I knew I was going to love this series. The small town atmosphere, the single mom, the chief of police, the relationships between the kids, with all of them hanging out in the basement playing games or riding around on their bikes meeting up and doing important kid stuff. It’s the hallmark of so many great 80s movies that it’s easy to forget you’re watching something made in the last 35 years. Part of me wishes something like this existed for the current generation of kids; something written during the present with situations, places, and things that were relatable to the current generation of kids. This generation of kids needs its own ET and Goonies, etc. Wow, I sound old.
When Eleven shows up with her super telepathic abilities it really seals the deal. The relationship between her and the rest of the groups creates a wonderful dynamic that has lasted through two seasons so far, and the continued development of her character never misses a beat. In fact, the relationships among all the characters develops wonderfully throughout the entire series. Then the Demogorgons show up, and things just keep getting better from there.
It’s hard to talk about this show without giving something away because it has a very densely written storyline with a lot of interplay between all the characters. There are so many great scenes.
The other main characters in this series are the teen and adult characters, which have their own subplots and sometimes parallel stories. There’s a bit of romance going on, teen rivalry, adults facing their demons, but even here it’s pretty much just a mashup of every known 80s movie. Though it might just feel that way due to the fact that it takes place in the 80s. It’s hard to tell sometimes.
If you like the idea of a science fiction series that has a mysteriously vanished child, secret government experiments, supernatural crap, telepathic children, and monsters, all taking place in the 80s — then this is for you.
Oh and one more thing: Barb deserved better!