I’m late to the party on this one, but my belated joy is so great having binge-watched that I am compelled to share my brand-new fan-girl obsession.
A tardis ride back to the sounds and aesthetics of old-school video games. Geek nirvana.
Somehow this sci-fi horror hybrid is made 100 times more immersive and believable by being set in the 80s. Perhaps because they can’t look up a demigorgan on wikipedia yet. Perhaps because they have to use landlines. Things were scarier before DVDs people!
The most powerful character is a pre-teen girl with cravings for junk food, a shaved head and a telekinetic power . She is what the Spice Girls were singing about way back in the 1990s. Who wouldn’t suffer nose-bleeds in payment for super psychic strength? Though we could all do without the bad people, those rotten mouth-breathers huh?
The demigorgan – or whatever it prefers to be known as (it just growls assume it doesn’t mind) is legitimately terrifying. It is reminiscent of the alien from…well…Alien. It is satisfyingly other in its aesthetic, but recognisable as a monster nonetheless
Winona Ryder – from Heathers to Scanner Darkly I have always been a fan. It is a delight to see her revived as the grieving yet hopeful mother who harnesses power in her desperation.
In spite of being hide-behind-the-sofa-worthy it also manages to be truly funny – mainly through the character of Dustin, who has ALL the best geek powered one liners:
Dustin: ‘You always say we should never stop being curious, to always open any curiosity door we find.’
Mr. Clarke: ‘Dustin…’
Dustin: ‘Why are you keeping this curiosity door locked?!’
Shades of Grey (Not 50)
Stranger Things is bold in that it allows it’s characters to be both bad and good. Sure there are downright villains – the demigorgan and Eleven’s skin-crawling ‘papa’, but Steve is both a misogynist teenage idiot and a chivalrous atoning hero depending on your current episode. Similarly Lucas is pretty rubbish in the friend-stakes on occasion, but pulls through when it counts.
No spoilers here, but it is suitably satisfying without tying the narrative into an overly-neat bow. Questions are both answered and left open – Season 2 anyone?