I grew up in the 1980s, which as far as to my knowledge was literally the best time ever to be a kid. We had the best movies (Star Wars, The Goonies, E.T., Indiana Jones, The Breakfast Club, etc..) the best toys, (Transformers, He-Man, etc.) and really it was a great time to be alive, the music was phenomenal as well, and there was a real sense of adventure growing up back then, you played outside with your friends, you had these adventures that you kids today couldn’t possibly have.
And with that there’s a real sense of nostalgia for those times, which a lot of Hollywood reads as, let’s make crappy knockoff movies of these things that kids of the 80’s, early 90s grew up with to make money, which happens 9 out of 10 times. But then, every so often, you get a present, something that feels old, nostalgaic, from those days, that is brand new. It’s fresh, it’s something we haven’t seen before but it feels like we’ve seen it, that my friends is the new Netflix series Stranger Things from the Duffer Brothers (Wayward Pines).
Stranger Things is an 8 episode series from Netflix that feels as though Steven Spielberg , Stephen King, and John Carpenter all had a baby in 1983, and this is that baby. It’s about a group of kids who’s friend disappears one night after mysterious circumstances, it’s also about the mother of that kid (played brilliantly by Winona Ryder), who’s struggling to find her missing son, and also about a mysterious girl with telekenetic powers who’s only name she knows is Eleven, and a few other characters as well, and how they all interact with each other and the mystery that surrounds the missing boy, the girl with the powers, and a Cronenberg esque monster, and the connection that surrounds all of these events and characters. I really don’t want to say too much about the plot, because it’s just so good, you should really discover it yourself as the rest of us have.
The best way to describe this show is, have you ever gone back and watched/played something from your childhood again, after years of it just being a memory, and you go back to watch it/play it, and the reality sets in that this thing wasn’t really that good to begin with? But that your mind/imagination had made this thing seem so much cooler in your head than the actuality of it? Well this show feels like that, but it feels like the version you have in your head of the thing, and it’s the actual thing.
Everything about this show is just pitch perfect, from the casting, the kids really feel like real kids of the time frame, the set designs to the music, both the soundtrack (I’ll never hear The Clash, Should I stay or Should I go Now the same way again) and the fantastic synth driven score by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein. Just watch the opening credits.
How cool is that? It feels like a John Carpenter movie with the font of a 1980s Stephen King paperback, that’s the tone this show has, you’ll get through these eight episodes and you’ll be be wishing it was a full 13 episodes like most Netflix dramas, but eight was really enough in this case, there’s no filler episodes, each episode is like a treat, any more would be too much I think. But that’s enough of me ranting about how great this show is, what did you guys think of it? Show some love in the comments, and til next time be sure to Keep It Reel.