What’s it about?
Stranger Things is a gloriously ’80s-flavoured mystery series concerning the hunt for a missing boy. This could be a huge challenge as some strange forces are already at work…
Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Matthew Modine, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin
An Introduction to Stranger Things
Stranger Things is set in Autumn/Fall, 1983, and introduces us to a close-knit group of young friends involved in a game of Dungeons & Dragons. They’ve been at this for many hours, and collective breaths are bated as Dungeon Master Mike (Finn Wolfhard) describes an impending monster confrontation.
Meanwhile, at a nearby government research facility, a very real monster confrontation appears to be in full swing. Something sinister has escaped from the lab, and a scientist is running for his life. Made it to the elevator… almost in the clear.. c’mon doors, shut!
It’s getting late and definitely time for the boys to wrap things up for the day, so they head off for their respective homes on their bikes. Will (Noah Schnapp) decides to take a shortcut – much quicker to go via the grounds of the Hawkins research facility.
Stranger Things is a hugely enjoyable mystery series with a believable early-1980s feel – from the overall look to the John Carpenter-esque synth sounds and shimmering film optical-style credit sequence. The story is viewed from three perspectives – grown-ups, late teens and kids – with all the additional baggage and issues that come with each.
Fans of classic ’80s movies such as The Goonies (1985) and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) will feel a warm glow of familiarity here, as Stranger Things also features elements that were prevalent in popular culture at the time: earnest youths trying to right wrongs and deal with seemingly insurmountable challenges, all the while hotly pursued by ‘The Man’ (typically, mysterious agents in tailored suits and Aviator sunglasses who turn up to clean house; also appearing periodically in The X-Files).
The primary box office name in the cast is Winona Ryder, who is brilliant as the increasingly stressed and desperate mother to a missing boy. Matthew Modine is nicely brooding as Dr. Martin Brenner, and clearly relishes playing such an undoubtedly foreboding character. David Harbour plays police chief Jim Hopper, and delivers a great world-weary character who tries hard to give a damn about others when his own world is falling apart.
Stranger Things is no mere star vehicle though. It’s the kids that really drive the story here, and they are well cast: sensible Mike, outspoken Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and no-nonsense Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) are unprecocious, funny and believable. Millie Bobby Brown delivers an impressively intense performance as a mysterious girl, central to the unfolding events.
Stranger Things has been extremely well received by critics and viewers alike, and although season one delivers decent closure, fans were already clamouring for more within days of its release. Rest assured, season two follows on nicely and maintains the quality and feel. Let’s go… back to the ’80s!
Check out the Season 1 Trailer here: