(HY)Lights #42 – STRANGER Things

A few months ago….

Oh, look, it’s this new Netflix show that everyone is raving about where it takes place in the 80s and it’s like an old horror movie with some Spielberg-ian type of elements but without it going blatantly “WE’RE THE 80s!” like a certain J.J. Abrams made in 2011…….

That and I used the font generator for this a while back, which at the time of this review is my Twitter header.

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The show we’re looking at today is none other than Stranger Things, the critically-acclaimed and fan favorite series that had everyone talking during this summer and currently, it is one of Netflix’s most popular shows to debut.

3 months later since it’s premiere and hey, a perfect time to watch around Halloween so I decide to finally check out this one.

So, what is Stranger Things about?

On November 6, 1983, in the town of Hawkins, Indiana, 12-year-old Will Byers vanishes mysteriously. Will’s frantic mother, Joyce, searches for him while Police Chief Jim Hopper launches his own investigation. Will’s friends Dustin, Mike, and Lucas discover a psychokinetic girl who claims to know Will’s location. As they uncover the truth, a sinister government agency tries to cover it up, while a more insidious force lurks below the surface.

Watching the majority of this series and the first good thing about is that it’s only 8 episodes so it should take you a day to watch if you love to binge-watch shows and I got to say, this is another type of show where it all starts out small but as episodes run, the mystery escalated higher and higher to…..well, stranger things.

The show has different subplots that does connect with the overall mystery with its characters from Will’s friends Mike, Dustin and Lucas along with their new friend Eleven, Mike’s mother Joyce and his brother Jonathan, the Hawkins Chief of Police Jim Hopper and Mike’s older sister Nancy Wheeler, whose friend Barb has also gone missing. The connection of these people with the mystery is striking cohesive and it shows it doesn’t waste its characters doing unnecessary filler or just frivolous things. However, one part in here I just generally found not that interesting and grating but we’ll get to that soon enough but the story quality overall is very solid and well-paced.

Now for the characters and let’s start with the main 3 kids Mike, Dustin and Lucas played respectively by Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo and Caleb McLaughlin and overall, I liked their performances. They generally were my favorite part of the series and I liked their chemistry together as you get the vibe of them being actual friends, especially when it comes to the crazier shit that happens here and hot damn, there is a lot and speaking of that……

Eleven, the psychokinetic young girl, is perhaps my favorite character and the one with the most interesting (and fucked up) back stories out of everyone here and she is also one who rarely speaks that much and I do like characters that doesn’t speak as much but shows more in their actions along with this power of hers and while the shit she does is TBH cool but using it even once can drained you. Oh and props to Millie Bobby Brown for her performance as well.

Easily the other best performances on here are Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers and David Harbour as Jim Hopper. Ryder’s performance as Will’s mom shows emotion as Joyce as you empathize with her with her son missing or dead and believing that she could bring him back through some mysterious things. I can admit…..I felt for her during those moments and for Harbour and his performance as well was great although I can’t think of much to say about his character aside from him investigating Will’s disappearance and finding what oddities to come and his back story about his past is just as sad as you think it is. OK, it might be typical but the shit is still sad.

But if I had to say my least favorite character or element of the show……it involves Nancy Wheeler and I admit the first time I really didn’t care all that much about her, her relationship with Steve Harrington and trying to get in with the popular kids or her going back on her friend Barb’s word and after thinking about it……..yeah, I still don’t care about her love bullshit, especially with Steve Harrington and yeah, he’s my least favorite character of the show….because what use is to him? He’s basically any 1980s bad boy asshole cliche and I’m like, “OK, can we go back to the kids and Eleven or anybody besides this prick and his band of annoying high school cliches?” I know, I know, it’s that time so yeah, there’s going to be that shit in there but it doesn’t make it less annoying.

However, as for her as a character, she does improve when her friend goes missing and helps out with Jonathan, Will’s older brother, to find him and Barb since they might be at the same place but of course, the love triangle begins with those two and Steve. Once again, didn’t care for it but I will say that I like Jonathan more than Steve.

 

One last thing I will say about the series……the music is….

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The music is composed by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein also known as the synth electronic duo S U R V I V E and the score has that 1980s John Carpenter vibe and it delivers on that creepy and haunting scale that is actually appropriate for the situation. Oh and check out the group’s BandCamp page if you want to hear and know more about them.

FINAL VERDICT: At first, I didn’t think I would like it that much (not hate it, but like it just not as much) but honestly, I like this show and it is up there for being one of the top-tier Netflix shows in my book, right up there with The Marvel/Netflix Shows, Master of None, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt among other shows up there for me. A small-scale horror story that evaluates it to a higher level but still keeps things engrossing despite one or two things I don’t care about. So if you’re not doing shit for Halloween or if you are but when you’re trying to chill, I recommended Stranger Things for that. Good show.

And with that said, this rating is not so strange as it gets a……

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High SOLID B.

 

And yes, I’m looking forward to Season 2 coming up next year…….

 

I’m MAK2.0 aka The BOO Hybrid, reminding all of you a HAPPY HALLOWEEN and…..make sure after dark, you go straight to the house and that’s it.

 

STRANGER THINGS – courtesy of NETFLIX STUDIOS

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