Review by CJ
Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer (as The Duffer Brothers)
Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer, Justin Doble, Paul Dichter, Jessica Mecklenburg, Jessie Nickson-Lopez, Alison Tatlock
Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, Noah Schnapp
Other notable appearances:
Matthew Modine, Shannon Purser, Randall P. Havens, Chris Sullivan
41-55 minutes per episode
Number of episodes:
When Will (Schnapp) goes missing on the way home from playing Dungeons and Dragons with his friends, most of the town assumes it is a standard missing child case. Will’s mother Joyce (Ryder), brother Jonathan (Heaton) and friends Mike (Wolfhard), Dustin (Matarazzo) and Lucas (McLaughlin) aren’t so sure. Will they win the battle against the supernatural and human disbelief to save Will?
Stranger Things embodies many of the traits that make for classic coming of ages tales suitable for the whole family. Though this one does lean more towards the horror genre than The Goonies or E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. So let’s call this Twilight Zone meets Stand By Me.
A certain charm is added to Stranger Things by setting it in the early 1980s. Cell phones? Nope. GPS child tracking app? Not even close. Just a kid who is coming home from a friend’s house who goes missing. Then the people who try to find him use the technological means available at the time to find him. It makes for great viewing in a world where the solution to every problem is usually “there’s an app for that”.
The characters in Stranger Things are great at what they represent and the cast have been well chosen.
Millie Bobby Brown has quickly become a fan favourite for her portrayal of Eleven and it is well deserved. Eleven is a character of few words so her emotions are often expressed purely through facial expressions and body language. For an actor so young to accomplish this is quite an accomplishment considering there are seasoned actors who would struggle to perform this role convincingly.
The other stand out role in Stranger Things is Winona Ryder’s portrayal of Joyce. She plays the part with ferocity and passion the likes of which I haven’t seen in a television series for a while. Ryder brings her a-game and it shows from episode one.
I can’t say too much without spoiling the last episode. However, I will say there were a couple of things that didn’t sit well with me about the ending. Neither of them are particularly important to the overall plot but I felt they added blemishes. Generally speaking and ignoring those points, the main ending of Stranger Things was great and very Twilight Zone.
There are many reasons that Stranger Things has been taking the world by storm and I have only touched on a few here. I would highly recommend watching Stranger Things if you are a fan of science fiction, horror or fantasy. There is something for just about everyone in season one. Personally I am greatly looking forward to season two.
“Joyce, this is Hawkins, okay? You wanna know the worst thing that’s ever happened here in the four years I’ve been working here? Do you wanna know the worst thing? It was when an owl attacked Eleanor Gillespie’s head because it thought that her hair was a nest.”