Stranger Things : Why You Should Be Watching


Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past month or so, the buzz surrounding Netflix’s original series “Stranger Things” can’t have escaped your attention. For anyone still debating whether or not to select the series as their next binge watch, I’m here to confirm that you’d be a fool not to. It’s a genre-melting homage to 80s pop culture that will excite, scare and grip you in equal measure. Here are just a few of the reasons why you should be feasting on the Duffer Brothers’ creation:


The Blend of Genres: It’s hard to pin Stranger Things down to a simple genre definition. There are elements of Sci-Fi, horror, teen movie, family drama and crime thriller all mixed in together. These diverse genres are brought together to deliver a tense, moving and often terrifying series that feels like nothing else out there at the moment. In this modern age where there is a seemingly never-ending supply of shows begging for your attention, Stranger Things still manages to stand out as a unique option.

The 80s Sensibilities: The show wears its love of the 80s firmly on its sleeve. This includes everything from its stylish retro title sequences and the quite brilliant hand painted series poster, right down to the general sense of Spielbergian small town Americana that pervades throughout each episode. Most tellingly though, the series is a wonderful homage to 80s cinema. This includes classic family favourites such as E.T. The Extra-terrestrial, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Goonies and Stand by Me, as well as beloved horror movies like Poltergeist, Nightmare on Elm Street, Firestarter and Carrie. If you have even the remotest fondness for these movies and the era in question, the whole season is a gloriously entertaining throwback.

The Soundtrack And Score: Much like with when Drive came out and the pitch-perfect synth-heavy soundtrack caught everyone’s attention, Stranger Things likewise stands out at least in part thanks to its powerful synth score. Suitably eerie and moody, the score is immediately captivating and comes courtesy of a band from Austin called Survive. The duo have delivered something that is at the same time quintessentially 80s but also still feels incredibly fresh and modern. On top of this is also a brilliant jukebox soundtrack including 70s and 80s hits from Joy Division, New Order, The Bangles, Foreigner and The Clash. There’s also a surprisingly haunting version of David Bowie’s Heroes courtesy of Peter Gabriel that is used to brilliant effect.

The Cast : The cast includes a mix of household names, TV regulars and complete unknowns. Of the former, Winona Ryder and Matthew Modine are perhaps the biggest names involved, Ryder playing a mother driven to the edge, while Modine is a mysterious and aloof scientist. Meanwhile there’s David Harbour’s police chief Jim Hopper, an incredible determined yet troubled presence at the show’s centre, and British actor Charlie Heaton as distant outsider and big brother to one of the central child characters. It’s the child actors who prove to be the biggest revelations though. Given that the show is predominantly built around the kids and their friendship, it was vital that they all deliver a strong and enjoyable performance. Luckily for the show, they knock it out of the park. Passionate, brave and utterly compelling, these kids are the beating heart of the show, making you believe in them and care for them every step of the way. These are Spielbergian kids experiencing Stephen King horror.

A Neat and Tidy Series : The show works so well in part thanks to its neat and tidy 8 episode arc. This is a self-contained story that unravels perfectly across its relatively short run and while there are strands left untied at its climax, it still has a satisfying and rewarding ending. Across its 8 episodes, it creates wonderful characters that you immediately became invested in, plus finds time to explore its own lure and central mystery while also leaving just enough open to hook you in for a possible second series.

(Photo credits : Netflix)