Saturday, November 26

things I liked about Stranger Things

everyone was talking about this Netflix series Stranger Things a few months ago. I'm not sure if it was the things that were being said or the people who were saying them that made me slightly less skeptical than usual of all the hype. actually, now that I think about it it was the gifs and screenshots that may have made the difference. especially Barb. she simply intrigued me.

anyway, over fall break Patti and I watched it while we knitted. I was prepared for creepy-ness and nostalgia. there was a good amount of both, but thankfully not so much of either that it felt over-saturated. the suspense and monsters were not too gory, heavy-handed, or in-anyone's-face. all the 80s-movies references were subtle enough to not feel stupid.

it lived up to some of the hype, but not all of it. there were plot holes and unexplained bits, and I was quite disappointed by the way things ended for our mysterious heroine. others have written more attentive, more detailed things about the show's treatment of its female characters and on the show's manic-pixie-dream-girl-itis.

those things I didn't like are pretty major. but the rest of my review here is gonna be a list of things I did like. here we go:

- there are only 8 episodes. short is good.

- all the characters we got to follow added variety--the kids had a plot, the teenagers had a plot, the grown-ups had a plot. and all the plots came together eventually, balanced nicely.

- it's set in rural Indiana, and I had fun recognizing the symbol from the Indiana flag on the police officers' sleeves.

- the overall vibe was well done, all chill, shadowy, autumnal, balancing haunted and homey. at times it felt more like a fairytale than an 80s-themed sci-fi suspense thing.

it was worth watching, and I have no regrets. thanks for watching it with me, friend Patti. 

other friends who may not have seen it yet: you'll probably like it too. 


Janeheiress said...

I'm glad you enjoyed Stranger Things! I thought Eleven was one of the weaker points, too. She's intriguing, but not developed at all. Her personality never gets to come through her inhibitions. Other than that, I felt the characters were pretty strong--Winona Ryder was possibly too manic, but I didn't see any Manic Pixie Dream Girls. I agree about the balance between nostalgia and originality, and the balance between the different storylines. Those were all well done. The best thing about it was the feel, though.

Janeheiress said...

Oh, and I didn't realize Barb was such an internet phenomenon until after I watched it, so I didn't have any expectations for her as a character. Isn't it weird how her popularity has blown up? It's like Boba Fett--who the heck cares about this character that only has a few minutes of screentime in Empire Strikes Back and a cameo in RotJ? I do see why people are sympathetic to Barb, though. She's almost like a tribute to Molly Ringwald's characters.

amelia chesley said...

I guess it was El's ending that made her seem manic-pixie-dream-girly to me, in a way. she's weird and epic, she exists as a fascination (and tool) for the boys for the most part, and then she disappears...
perhaps I am stretching the term too far.

but yes! I saw everyone gushing about Barb and then found it so odd (and disappointing, in a way) that she wasn't a big part of the story at all. so sad.