After 8 months of short teasers and anticipated waiting, Stranger Things 2 is finally returning, with more spooks, flickering lights, and plenty of Eggo Waffles. For those late to the party, Stranger Things takes place in the fictional town of Hawkings, Indiana, and tells the story of how one night, a young boy named Will Byers suddenly goes missing due to supernatural events. These supernatural occurrences also bring an unusual girl with telekinetic powers who helps Will’s friends search for their missing colleague.
This hit Netflix series has gained a huge amount of popularity since it’s debut in July 2016, with the show’s suspense, striking visuals, and well-rounded cast being the driving-force in attracting it’s audience. Though having a main cast of school-aged youth, the series appeals to viewers of all ages; from people looking for a little 80’s nostalgia to fans of Winona Ryder to traditional sci-fi and horror enthusiasts.
One of the main aspects that particularly drew people in was the 80’s setting of the show, with a small, unassuming town, a gang of middle school kids straight out of Stephen King novel, and Return of the Jedi being the most popular film of the year. This type of aesthetic definitely brings back fond memories of childhood for some, while providing a glimpse into a seemingly mythical time for others who are taken in by the stunning and unique style of the 80’s. The show also offers a different setting that stands out among other popular shows set in our current time period, and it is a very well-known fact that the antiquity of life before serves as a bigger storytelling tool for horror. That, and also bringing back an homage to horror classics.
Some older viewers connected with Joyce Byers, the distraught mother of Will played by screen legend Winona Ryder. Ryder grew up as an actress that had always been known as the outsider teen in just about every movie she was featured in, but now she was portraying a worried mother. It was also pleasing to see her go back to her roots and return to the supernatural genre, after starting her career with classic films such as Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands.
Another important element that keeps the show rolling and lovable is the well-rounded and charismatic cast. In only 8 episodes, a lot of the characters grew into stronger and independent individuals due to the events taking place in the series, without the story feeling like it was rushed or simply slapped on the script. The writing was carefully crafted so that they could be capable of growing throughout their actions, and simply by being unique and lovable.
One example of a character who experienced a tremendous amount of growth was the character Nancy. Nancy started off as a mousy damsel in distress, but losing her best friend Barb to the horrors of the Upside Down made her come out of her shell and helped her grow as the strong and true character she was intended to be. Dustin is another fan-favorite, serving as the glue that keeps the whole gang together during several conflicts. He reminds them about the importance of friendship and simply sticking out for each other, even when they’re not in supernatural shenanigans.
Finally, after the wonderful cast of characters and their entertaining interactions, the series offers a loving throwback to many classic genre films, featuring homages to such diverse movies as E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial, Stand By Me, IT and more . The episodes are in a serialized format, with each one ending on a cliffhanger that almost forces the audience to binge watch the entire series in either a couple of days or in one sitting. This can lead the series to feel more like a long movie. the series also has one of the best TV theme songs in recent memory.
Stranger Things has been described as “Stephen King meets Stephen Spielberg,” which is another contributing factor to its popularity. While some people might not be interested in the particular genre, the story is transcendent enough to attract just about anyone. If you haven’t watched it, we definitely recommend that you check it out! But do hurry, there are only a few more hours before the second season premiers.
See you in the Upside Down!