By: Mai Gibson – Senator Staff Reporter
Stranger Things comes to us in a time when everyone’s racing to get the newest iPhone, download the coolest app, or buy the most ‘innovative’ pie
ce of tech. It’s easy to say we want to move forward and as quickly as we can. So maybe that’s why Stranger Things attracted so many people-more than the creator’s highest expectations.
Set in the early 80’s of the quaint, fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, the show establishes a longingly nostalgic feel for itself right off the bat. From the kids riding on their bikes through the streets, to songs from the Clash and other bands of that period being played throughout the series, everything seems like a step back from what we may feel like we’re experiencing now. The relatively unknown creators of the show, the Duffer brothers, do their best to showcase a time when things didn’t seem to move too quickly and people were content with just being with their friends and loved ones-not their gadgets.
The 80’s decade is almost perfectly captured by this show. So well that you may even think that it was filmed back then. The soundtrack, the styles, the telephone cords, and more all contribute to this not-over-the-top time difference. The setting and period is shown not be a gimmick and is instead a crucial role. Along with that, the Duffer brothers throw in frequent references to old story tropes hailing from the minds of Spielberg and King, in a way that still seems refreshing. But don’t be fooled, Stranger Things is not just a homage project; it’s its own creative masterpiece.
This is half because of the curious mystery at it’s core and half due to the lighthearted, yet nonetheless complex characters that bring the whole show together. The mystery and series starts with the disappearance of young Will Byers, and what follows is the peculiar search to find him, as threats of the supernatural kind and not begin to arise. The key to finding him is slowly unlocked each episode, with each group of characters making important discoveries. Those groups of characters are all distinct, although of course connected. On the younger side, Will’s friends, Mike, Lucas, and Dustin are on the hunt to find him, encountering a strangely telekinetic girl, Eleven in the middle of it all. The heart of the show really lies in these four, who are played by the talented, Wolfhard, McLaughlin, Matarazzo, and Brown. More is to be discovered by teens Nancy and Jonathan, one of which is looking for her friend and the other his brother. As the two get closer to each other and to finding their loved ones, viewers are exposed to realistic relationships of all kinds. Finally, Joyce, the frantic mother of Will and played by queen of the 80’s herself, Winona Ryder, is paired up with the bearish Chief Hopper. Together they navigate through the town and it’s history to find who took Joyce’s son. As more revelations are made by the groups throughout the episodes, viewers are eagerly waiting for all of the characters to come together and use what they know to complete the puzzle of Will’s disappearance.
Stranger Things was able to simultaneously create feelings of excitement and tranquility, as it presented an intriguing mystery with such heartening and humorous characters, during a time period we long to go back to. It’s a perfectly paced show, something Netflix originals tend to usually have a problem with doing, and it never gets too ahead of itself or becomes a bore. We want more of it, but know that even the addition of just one episode could throw off the whole balance. In the end, the things that matter to the town and it’s residents are friendship and staying together. It isn’t cynical, but that doesn’t make it any less real or raw.
Look out for Stranger Things Season 2, coming out October 27th.