What We're Watching Now - Friday Review of STRANGER THINGS


I was born in 1970, so, any homage to my childhood pulls on the heartstrings of my youth. This series, based in 1983 Indiana, hits home on many levels, leaving me longing for the days of tube socks and rotary dial phones.

However, I had my “meh” moments more often than I expected in this series so largely followed by the masses. I thought some of the characters weren’t fully developed, and had reactions I didn’t appreciate. This was more of a personal preference than some glaring error. I believed the town’s people shown in the series lacked a serious mourning for allegedly-deceased Will Byers. In a small town, folks are usually more cohesive and supportive, especially during times of tragedy.

When Will Byers goes missing, his mother, Joyce, is determined to find him. Based upon communications she receives from him in rather unconventional methods, she knows he isn't dead, but, she can't get to him. His friends are just as determined to find him, setting out on secret missions following the path Will took home the night he disappeared.

Will’s friends went on searches apart from his mother to find him, and bring him home safely. Led by Mike Wheeler, Dustin Henderson and Lucas Sinclair, the kiddos gave a gritty and realistic portrayal of how young soldiers fight the monsters lurking in the shadows. They affectionately reminded me of a Stand By Me group of young men, another positive throwback I felt from watching this series.  

When Eleven came on the scene, I wanted to hug her and cook her a big supper. The poor kid lived through hell, and the bad part was, she didn’t know anything different. Once she met the band of young heroes, El finally realized what love and friendship really were.

Blame it on my failing eyesight, but, with so much filmed in darkened settings, at times, I had trouble distinguishing what was happening onscreen. I listened for cues, and was greeted mostly by the sickening intestinal Jabba the Hutt sound effects.

Winona Ryder gives an incredible turn as an unstoppable mother, Joyce Byers, determined to find her son, regardless of how crazy her efforts become. My favorite line she delivered with perfect dryness, “Just ring me up, Donald.” You have to watch the episode 3, Holly Jolly, to catch this scene. Just Ring Me Up Donald

I didn’t care for Nancy Wheeler’s character, played by Natalia Dyer. The non-existent relationship she has with her brother, Mike, is believable as siblings go. But, her seemingly flippant dismissal of her friend, Barb, really gave me a shallow perception of her. She was “supposed” to have stronger character than that, but maybe that was part of the scripted suburban girl rebellious package.  Natalia did a fine job with the role given, but, I believe the character lacked depth. Nancy became involved with a group of reprehensible teenagers, led by Steve, the Douche, who were more than unlikable- they were unnecessarily horrible. Tommy and Carol were worse than the middle school bullies tormenting Mike, Dustin, and Lucas.

Speaking of Barb, she received nary a mention after she disappeared, did this girl have caring parents, family, or friends to speak of? Even Nancy half-assed her desire to find Barb. Thank goodness for Jonathan. OMG, I found this blog, and it’s EPIC Everyone Needs a Barb

Chief Jim Hopper, fighting his own demons, became heartfelt and involved in this search, disregarding common sense and supporting Joyce in her pursuit.

Finally, Will’s brother, Jonathan Byers, was a character I engaged with, wanting him to succeed. The responsible son, helping out his mom with money, cooking, and going to school, became a character I admired.

I kept watching through until the end because I had to know how the season ended. I still have mixed feelings about this series. However, it has its’ moments, and will certainly satisfy the binge-watching urge.

I’m giving this one *** 3 snowflakes.





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