On Friday, the smash hit from last spring, Stranger Things, finally returned to Netflix after a brutal 15 month wait. At precisely 3 a.m. EST, all nine episodes were available to stream instantly just in time for Halloweekend, which fits in perfectly with the series’ spooky and supernatural aura.
If you haven’t heard of Stranger Things, I don’t know where you’ve been the past year. You would have to make a conscious effort to avoid it because it has seeped into every facet of pop culture. The series takes place in the early 80s in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana. Without giving away too much, the first season centers around the mysterious disappearance of Will Byers, a local 12-year-old who vanishes while biking home from a late night game of Dungeons and Dragons with his friends Mike, Dustin and Lucas. The rest of the season centers around the increasingly odd circumstances of his disappearance, all circling around the “Upside Down,” a mirrored realm of our reality with the same architecture and infrastructure as our world but devoid of human life and obscured by an omnipresent fog. That’s about as much that can be said about the first season without walking down spoiler road, so if you haven’t seen it already I can’t recommend it enough: the first season cemented the show as yet another brilliant Netflix original (Master of None, BoJack Horseman, House of Cards, etc).
Season 2, in short, deals with the aftermath of season one and how it affected the people of Hawkins. It’s hard to talk too much about it without spoiling either of the seasons, so I’ll just mention what I thought was “rad” and “bad” (it’s the 80s after all).
Noah Schnapp (Will Byers)
This kid rocked his performances. He didn’t have much time to shine in season one considering he spent nearly all of the show stuck in the Upside Down by himself, with the great majority of screen time devoted to the world we know and other characters. With Will “back to reality,” he was given much more range to spread his talents, and MAN did he take full advantage. Huge props to the 13-year old.
Like many sequels, Season 2 is bigger than its predecessor. That doesn’t always work though; too often do we see sequels fly too close to the sun with a higher budget and see a drop-in quality. Luckily, Stranger Things makes things work, launching off into parallel storylines that all converge at the end flawlessly.
’80s stuff! (Setting)
For those who tuned into Season 1 because they can’t get enough of the neon-tinted nostalgia of the Cold War climate, you won’t be disappointed by this season. Taking place in the fall of 1984, Hawkins is packed to the grim with Ghostbusters Halloween costumes, The Terminator showing at the local Cineplex and so on. In tandem with the perfect visuals (and opening) for the setting, S U R V I V E returns with a mesmerizing synth-laden soundtrack.
Without spoiling anything, episode seven was a weird left turn in an otherwise fluid and consistent layout. It wasn’t horrible or anything like that, it just was poorly executed and threw off the flow.
Arguably the star of Season 1 Mike took a backseat to other characters this season and although he didn’t do a bad job, his lines got a bit repetitive and he faded into the background for much of the show.
That’s all that comes to mind that was less than great. Like last season, the ending was a spectacle and I can’t wait to binge it again. Does anyone know when season 3 gets released? Asking for a friend.
Daniel Cohn is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.