This made for Netflix show got raves–I mean Super Raves–when it first went online as one of the best shows of the summer. You can imagine I thought it would at least be an enjoyable watch. Wow, was I ever disappointed. I kept with it, and watched the entire series, just hoping it would improve. Or that the conclusion would be so satisfying it made the journey worth it. Nope.
The focus is on unknown child actors, whose collective level of talent and charisma did not deserve such focus. The “big names” in the cast were Winona Ryder and Matthew Modine, but I’m thinking they were cast for their 80’s cred only. Ryder in particular had difficulty being at all subtle, and her sloppy emotional outbursts did little to make her character appealing.
This entire show is a testament to the 80s, and reminds you of The Goonies (or any Steven Spielberg film), Stand By Me, or The X-Files. The show’s creators, a brother duo who seem to think from the credits that we should have heard of them, say it’s a tribute to those films and that culture. There is a fine line between showing honor and being derivative, and Stranger Things definitely crosses that.
If you like the era or the style of entertainment, I suggest you go watch the tons of films and TV shows actually created in the 80s. There’s a reason people like to rip them off–they’re stylistically unique and nostalgic and worth the effort.
Was it worth it? Not a chance.