Waste no time watching this series. Amongst a field of shows geared towards adults Stranger Things stands apart. House of Cards and Orange is the New Black are enjoyable but coasting. They’ve seen better days relying on their late adult intellectual audience. Even the comic book fare is designed for a grown viewership. While I can’t complain given my religious viewings of Daredevil and Jessica Jones it is nice to have a completely new style on screen. Stranger Things brings a brand new panache to Netflix while ironically and deliberately leaning on nostalgia.
Coming in at just eight episodes this show is perfectly binge worthy. Further, it treats every episode with the same reverence for quality. Each hour is like watching The Goonies and loving every minute of it. Like we all did. Coming in at a close second in the list of awesomeness is the shows cast. This casting director must have time machined it back to the 80s and scooped five kids to be in this show. Winona Ryder who has largely been forgotten the past fifteen years cannonball’s it across the screen. She was the perfect manic mom with a pinch of potential paranoia.
Let’s have a special shout out to Matthew Modine. He too has been essentially useless at the box office and TV ratings. Apart from his “hey isn’t that Matthew Modine” moment in The Dark Knight Rises he hasn’t seen a hit since his equally small role in 99’s Any Given Sunday. That being said he plays the creepy and vaguely Eastern European mad scientist perfectly. His performance ran the risk of being over the top to compensate for less screen time over the years but it was understated and pitch perfect.
Stranger Things is chuck full of Stephen King references while borrowing from many other horror kingpins. Some of my favorite Easter eggs are the title placards King-esc style. The police department uniforms and trucks are the same as those of the Amity sheriffs department in Jaws. The poster for the series is an obvious amalgamation of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Back to the Future. Not to mention the literal movie posters the children had in their homes.
This is the show I wanted to watch back when I was a fourteen year old. It is also the show I was thrilled to watch as an adult. Three generations of viewers could enjoy this. Grandparents remembering Twilight Zone and Outer Limits will watch with their children channeling “V”. Then there is the current crop of twelve to fifteen year olds for whom this should be required viewing.