Child actors are something of a misnomer. Occasionally, we get the Dakota Fannins of the world, and we can occasionally get some Leonardo DiCaprios. I always cringe when children are on screen, because the fact of the matter is that they’re just typically not good at reading lines. Inflections can be missed, and often crucial and critical moments in plot regarding some of the most intricate story lines can get ruined by a child actor reading their lines in a cringe worthy way. Luckily, Stranger Things found a group of kids that’s actually pretty solid in their performances.
Following several different groups, we see the same story from multiple sides. We see it through the eyes of teenagers, young children, and adults. The best part about this is that each group tackles a different part of the plot while the threads weave together for the groups to collide. It’s a phenomenal way to tell a story, and I always enjoy interconnecting side plots. It’s the best way to introduce characters and narrative elements without bogging down the pacing.
When you think of Stranger Things, think of early Steven King novels. If you match that up with some excellent Thriller material, you get Stranger Things. A creepy lab, the disappearance of kids, and a crazy monster…and you’ve got a pretty solid recipe for some interesting stories to take place. Oh, and throw in Wynona Rider’s first notable appearance in quite a few years, that’s definitely a plus. What holds Stranger Things together is not only the premise, but the adult and teenage actors involved. Each of them plays their part masterfully, and Wynona Rider definitely does her part.
While the show won’t break any grounds as far as helping you find your soul, I do love that the whole series is available all in one go. Putting this out there piecemeal on a normal network would’ve never allowed the show to have been as awesome as it is. Week by week, the thriller would lose its steam, but when you give it to us all on one silver platter…there are some great things to be found here. Now, I will say that there are some points when I roll my eyes. The CGI on the monster is a bit rough. It’s not laugh worthy, but it’s not Disney/Michael Bay levels of CGI either. Oh, and there are a few instances of super powers, which we’ll talk about a bit.
The powers aren’t done to the extreme, thank goodness. While they’re a bit X-Man like in the category of “powers” and they can be a bit convenient and ridiculous at times, I find that they’re handled well. Stranger Things has its moments of being campy, and the first few episodes are very slow, and can fall into some cliché material. As you get deeper in the show, everything starts moving, and once the pieces start connecting it gets better and better. Oh, and the ending is phenomenal.
I hope this series continues for a long time, and continues to get better. I salute Netflix once again for providing another fantastic series to keep your eye on. Providing a Steven King feeling narrative and combining that with Hitchcockian thriller aspects, it’s a ride that I can easily recommend to anyone looking for a series to occupy their evenings. I have a feeling that the next few seasons are going to get better and better.
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