Stranger Things’ pays homage to everything great about the movies of 80's

Grade A


Stranger Things” is a love letter to all of the fantastic sci-fi movies that I grew up watching. It’s equal parts “Goonies,” “ET” and Stephen King that make for one of the best sci-fi/horror series out there.
Series creators Matt and Ross Duffer have made a TV series that doesn’t just channel everything great about 80s sci-fi TV and movies. This is a show that holds its own and deserves a spot right up there with all of the fantastic pop culture icons to which it is paying homage.
The short no-filler first season (which is a great thing) feels like a Stephen Spielberg and Rob Reiner mashup that’s been written by Stephen King (well a Stephen King who can write movie scripts and not trash like “Maximum Overdrive”). It’s eight episodes feel like a mini-series and more like an 8-hour movie, which is perfect for today’s binge watching media consumption. And believe me, once you watch the first episode, you’ll have a hard time keeping yourself from clicking the next episode button.
The story is about a “Stand By Me” like group of boys (except they’re all nerds) who spend their free time arguing about “X-Men” comics and playing Dungeons and Dragons. After a night of fighting imaginary monsters as a wizard in his friends’ D and D game, 12-year-old Will Byers heads home. While taking a shortcut through some creepy woods (nicknamed Mirkwood in a great nod to Tolkien), Will comes face to face with a real-life monster that chases his him all the way to his home.
The next day Will has disappeared and the whole town begins looking for him. In true Scooby Gang fashion, Will’s buddies, armed with flashlights and walkie-talkies, go searching for their friend, only to find a mysterious girl named Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) who has telekinetic powers. Both the girl with the mind powers and the monster seem to be linked to a hush-hush military base on the outskirts of town, but when the boy’s mother, Joyce (Winona Ryder in one of her best roles in years), and the police chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) try to get answers, they get the runaround.
What makes “Stranger Things” truly great isn’t its familiar horror/sci-fi mystery (that is genuinely engrossing and scary) or its coming-of-age empowered children as heroes narrative, it’s the combination of both that makes this show an instant Netflix classic. Plain and simple: “Stranger Things” does what a lot of the 80s pop culture it is referencing couldn’t do. It’s everything good about what it loves minus all the cheese that we like to forget when we nostalgically look back at our favorite movies and TV shows.

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