Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Netflix gets Stranger!

So I was scrolling through my Facebook feed the other morning and came across two posts about a new Netflix series called "Stranger Things". The comments really piqued my interest and so as I sipped my first cup of coffee, I checked out the first episode.

Without spilling any beans about specifics of the story of Stranger Things, I am going to try and sum it up as best I can. A 12 year old boy goes missing while on his way home from his friends house one night. He wasn't taken by someone but rather some thing. As the story begins to unfold around the boys disappearance things get strange.....yeah I did that, glad you noticed. Something seems to have escaped from a near by testing facility. Something scary and really weird. A young girl has also escaped from the same facility and she is wee bit strange as well. The local sheriff is called in to investigate the disappearance of the boy and begins to discover more than he bargained for. The boys mother also begins to experience some paranormal happenings in the house which leads her to believe her son is somewhere and able to communicate with her. Pretty soon the boys friends and family all become involved together in a race to find their friend and save their little town from something very, very evil.

Twenty minutes into the first episode I was totally SOLD! The story takes place in 1983. In that time frame I was 12 years old. Many of the main protagonists in this show are 12 years old. So I TOTALLY identify with their characters. Add to that fact, there are so many nods to my childhood in this show. A Jaws and Evil Dead poster are spotted on the walls of bedrooms. Atari 2600 games pop up on top of a t.v. console. The game of Dungeons & Dragons is on display at the beginning of the first episode and is actually referenced several times throughout the story line. Throw in late 70's automobiles, rotary phones, tube socks, The Clash and everything else that made the early 80's great and I am in a time warp that quite frankly, I don't wanna come out of. Oh and the story line is incredible!

The writing is good, the acting is good, the special effects are good. I honestly cannot find anything wrong with this show. Some have said it has moments that are too "The Goonies" and while I have never seen that movie (WHAAAAT!? YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN THE GOONIES!?), I think I understand where they are coming from. I doesn't bother me though. I like the interaction of the kids in this show. I guess because it just really takes me back to such a simple time. I think my time was more simple than these kids though. I didn't have any child abducting creatures running around in the woods behind my house. Although I think one time a friend and I were chased by a hobo....at least we think it was a hobo. We didn't look back, we just ran our asses back to my house.

Speaking of acting, I just want to give a nod to Winona Ryder. Her acting as the distraught mother who believes her child is communicating to her from the "other side" is top notch. It's nice to see her on the small screen too. She is scared to death but yet is able to portray a sense of strength that she didn't know she had. David Harbour (Black Mass, Quantum of Solace) stars as the hard nosed sheriff that is battling his own personal demons but is able to screw his head on straight enough to battle the evil head on.

And nay nay, Ryder is not the only 80's star to make an appearance in this show. Matthew Modine (The Dark Knight Rises, Full Metal Jacket) is the sinister head of the testing facility out to capture the young girl who has escaped and is a threat to his entire operation. There....a little tidbit of the story line that doesn't really give too much away.

I'm just gonna say that as I write this I have only one episode left to watch. There are only 8 total so it's not too bad of a binge watch if you have a day to kill. I've purposely refrained from binging and have watched 2 episodes back to back max. It's hard not to click on the "Play Next Episode" button believe me!

So if you are a child of the 70/80's who loves their horror then this show is definitely for you. I've already heard that Netflix is signed on to do another season which sounds good to me even if I have no idea how this season ends. The creators of the show, The Duffer Brothers (Hidden, We All Fall Down) have really knocked it out of the park. Their work on this makes me want to check out some of their other material since I had never heard of them before. This is only the second original Netflix series I've watched. The other being Daredevil which I think is a fantastic series. My wife is hooked on Orange is the New Black so I think Netflix has been firing all on cylinders with their programming. Stranger Things definitely gives the big network a run for their money!

So until next time kids, Netflix and SCREAM!