Review: Netflix Reaches Creative Peak With New Supernatural Adventure Show ‘Stranger Things’


Rebecca Boyajian

While the summer season has an overflowing supply of blockbusters, celebrity drama and hit songs, there tends to be a deficiency of quality television due to show productions taking the backseat until the fall.  Luckily Netflix provided the breath of fresh air viewers craved this summer with their release of supernatural adventure “Stranger Things.”

The creators and directors of “Stranger Things,” The Duffer Brothers, created an original show while still satisfying an audience that craved nostalgia.  The short but sweet season of a collective eight episodes, set in 1983 Indiana,  payed tribute to the great action adventure movies of the 80s. People undoubtedly miss the feeling of old Spielberg movies like “E.T” and “The Goonies” where a band of friends would set off on an epic adventure with only bicycles aiding them in their journey. The creation of anything along similar lines of these classics seemed like a distant memory until this summer.

The show’s storyline centers around Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) a young boy who mysteriously disappears one night on his way home. As people search for the source of the disappearance they find supernatural forces lurking behind the doors of a government lab on the outskirts of town. This discovery along with the appearance of a young girl named Eleven, who has telekinetic  powers, leads Will’s mother Joyce (Winona Ryder) as well as his group of friends to believe Will’s disappearance is anything but ordinary.

Winona Ryder flourishes in her dramatic role of Will’s mother Joyce. Ryder has thrived in Hollywood for years, and she has far more experience than many of the younger actors in the show. This difference in experience raised a concern that other newer actors’ performances would dull in comparison to hers. This, fortunately was not the case for the cast of “Stranger Things.” Apart from Joyce and the sheriff Jim Hopper (David Harbour ) the cast is made up of mostly child actors. The three main characters are Mike (Finn Wolfhard), goofy Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and the voice of reason Lucas (Caleb Mclaughlin). The three boys are joined later in the show by Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) who they refer to as El, a young girl who flees the dangers of a government lab and finds out what it means to be accepted and loved.

Often when children actors are the forefront of a movie or show’s cast the plot can get lost behind the distraction of poor acting, but the youthful actors of “Stranger Things” took their step out into the spotlight of the industry with strides of ease. The casting of the show was spot on and the actors fully transformed into their characters and did their creative personalities  justice. Some of that ease of execution can be attributed to actors Caleb Mclaughlin and Gaten Matarazzo being on Broadway prior to the airing of the show.

The gripping adventure storyline of “Stranger Things” grasps viewers’ attention while the character development is what makes them stay. Fans are now highly anticipating the next installment of the show even more since the season two teaser was released.  Not much was revealed apart from the names of the episodes, which now have fans attempting to piece together what the next season will bring. Now all viewers are waiting for is the 2017 release of a season two, which will hopefully deliver the same lovable characters embarking on a new adventure.