This post is about Stranger Things, the Netflix original series created by the Duffer Brothers and released on July 15, 2016, and five reasons why I love it. But first, let’s back up a bit.
I’ve always been slightly slow to jump on different trendy bandwagons. I got my first smartphone in 2013, six years after the first iPhone came out. (True Story: I didn’t open my new phone for 28 days after buying it because I wasn’t totally convinced that I really wanted to make the plunge, and I wanted to keep the 30-day-return-backdoor open. Spoiler: I kept the phone.) I started wearing wedges about five years after they became popular, and by that time I reckon they had probably already gone out of fashion.
Funnily enough, in one aspect of life I was ahead of my time: Blogging. I started my first blog in 2006 when I left home and moved abroad alone. More than anything, my blog was a kind of public diary for friends and family, allowing me to keep in touch with my loved ones back home. I had the blog for a few years but I was never too keen on having a strong public online presence, so when the blog scene starting growing I stopped blogging. And now, some years after the blogging scene has really taken off (and perhaps hit its peak?), here I am again. Oh, the irony.
I suppose it’s partly related to my character. While in many aspects I am a spontaneous person and I enjoy doing things on a whim, in many other ways I like to take my time making decisions. I don’t like jumping on bandwagons just because everyone else has jumped. I want to be convinced and feel as though the choices I’m making are coming from a genuine personal interest rather than peer pressure. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.
I don’t usually watch any TV, shows or movies in general. And when I do, I generally just start watching one show and watch all of the episodes of all of the seasons before moving on to the next. Recently I finished watching Breaking Bad on Netflix (yep, got into that one five years after the last season ended) and while looking for the next show to watch, I kind of haphazardly stumbled upon Stranger Things. I had of course heard many great things about the show but had just sort of brushed them off. I’ve never been a fan of Science-Fiction or anything even remotely scary or thrilling but Stranger Things has definitely changed that. Here’s why I love the show.
Disclaimer: If you don’t want to read spoilers then please go watch the show and then come back for more!
1. The setup
I just love the setup: 1980s rural, small-town America where life is peaceful and nothing ever happens. In this day and age when all we ever do is run around like headless chickens trying to achieve as much as possible in as little time as possible, Hawkins, Indiana represents the idyllic downshifting lifestyle many of us can only dream of. Although I was a 90s kid rather than an 80s, there are still so many aspects of the show’s that I can relate to and be nostalgic about. Landline phones, bicycles in neighbourhoods, respecting your elders… Nowadays these are all things of the past. Life in Hawkins was simple. I miss simple.
2. Just the right amount of scary
The reason why I’ve never really gotten into the world of Science-Fiction, horror, thrillers, etc. is because I am the ultimate scaredy cat. I literally used to even be afraid of my own shadow. If I watched scary movies I’d have nightmares for weeks and even as an adult I’d rather not take any chances with the monster under the bed. Stranger Things, however, has changed this. It has just the right amount of suspense and scare to keep someone like me on their toes, but yet not enough to actually scare me off. In addition, there’s something about unrealistic parallel universes with lizard-looking plant-headed CGI creatures that just don’t keep me up at night. Since finishing Season Two, I’m definitely keen on watching some other 80s classics and maybe even some more modern Science-Fiction stuff. Any suggestions?
3. The storylines are appropriately paced
One of my biggest pet peeves is TV shows and storylines that just keep going on and on and on and on. Dragged out storylines have ruined even the best of shows and have put me off some shows all together. Stranger Things, however, seems to have gotten that memo. I particularly liked the fact that the storyline about Eleven in Chicago only lasted one episode. That wasn’t my favourite storyline and in fact I think that if it had been carried out over several episodes I would have stopped watching the show. The Stranger Things gang are quick and witty problem solvers. They get in, they get out and move on.
4. The kids are the protagonists. And the grownups listen!
The kids of Stranger Things are basically responsible for saving the entire town of Hawkins from the Shadow Monster, Demogorgon and Mind Flayer, and exposing the horrific conditions and experiments behind the closed doors of Hawkins National Laboratory. The kids (and teenagers) team up, delegate tasks and work together to defeat the evil and get their beloved friends back. They are curious and pro-active, self-motivated and extremely creative. And what’s best, all of the grownups, even those in so-called high standing official positions, such as Sheriff Jim Hopper, listen to them! Especially Mr. Clarke, the kids’ Science teacher, never stops offering not only his support but also knowledge and materials to help the kids go after what they believe in. These kids never stop kicking ass.
5. It’s not all bad
Sometimes I choose not to watch the news or go on social media simply because it seems as though nowadays everything we hear is bad. Mass murders, political corruption, species extinction, domestic abuse, rising unemployment, Doomsday… It almost feels as if the bad outweighs the good so heavily that no one has anything good to say anymore. Stranger Things, however, does still have something good to say. Despite the horrific, outright terrifying life-threatening (and life-taking) circumstances the characters face, they manage to overcome them and keep a positive attitude. Friendships are strong, arguments are forgotten and in the end good beats evil. We could all use a bit more good and a lot less evil in our lives.
I can’t wait for Season Three! and until then, I might catch up on all of the Science-Fiction films and Stephen King books referenced in the series. Have you watched the series? What did you think?