TV Review – Stranger Things

Nerds!  Monsters! Mysterious doings!

BQB here with a review of Netflix’s latest hit, Stranger Things.

NOTE: I’m only up to episode three.  I’ll be spoiling what I know so far so don’t read ahead if you want to avoid spoilers. Meanwhile, don’t tell me what happens after episode three. Thanks 3.5 readers.

So for the past month everyone in my Facebook feed has been all like, “OMG I love Stranger Things! It reminds me of my childhood because I’m a friend of BQB and therefore I’m a dried up old Generation Xer that no one gives a shit about!”

Yup. That’s what they actually said. My 3.5 friends are very hard on themselves.

But those are the grass is greener people.  Me? The tale brings me so far back into my childhood that I ended up thinking, “Oh joy. All the things I enjoyed as a child are now ancient history and the grim specter of death is looking over my shoulder.”

I tend to be a glass half empty type of person.  Glass half full people are like, “What? I had a toy Millennium Falcon too!”

How to describe this show?

Take one part Goonies and one part X-Files.  Throw in a dash of Steven Spielberg’s E.T., just a pinch of Poltergeist and you’re there.

From the electronically synthesized theme music to the kids saving the day on their bikes, this show is a heaping helping of nostalgia for the thirty to forty something crowd to relive their youth and enjoy a distraction from the twenty-two year old millennials who somehow leap frogged the hell over us and became our bosses/safe space dwelling, trigger warning demanding overlords in the blink of an eye.

The plot surrounds a group of boys whose friend Will has gone missing.  Will’s mother, Joyce, played by Winona Ryder, herself a staple of 1980s teen movies, freaks out while the town’s depressed chief of police Jim Hopper (David Harbour) turns the town upside down looking for the lad.

But to hell with those adults, for it is up to nerd boy trio Mike, Lucas and Dustin (Finn Wolfhard, Caleb McLaughlin and Gaten Matarazzo, respectively) to ride around town aimlessly on their bikes to save the day.

Oh, and they’re joined by a mysterious girl with eerie super powers (Millie Bobby Brown.)

Was she named after singer Bobby Brown? That kind of would be awesome.

And seriously? “Finn Wolfhard?”  Holy shit. That kid should thank his parents because with a name like that Hollywood had no choice but to put him on the fast track to fame.

I have enjoyed the first three episodes and now that I think about it, it has been quite some time since there was a serious movie or TV show where a group of kids are the main characters yet adults are able to find the story enjoyable.

There were a lot of movies like this in the 1980s, then they sort of trailed of in the 1990s.

Why? I don’t know.  Maybe because today’s kids would learn that their friend is missing and be all like, “Oh noes! I must totes run to my safe space and raise awareness on Twitter! Hashtag #PrayersforWill”

Then again, the adults have gotten worse too.  Kids used to be able to ride around on their bikes and seek assistance from trustworthy adults.  Today, I wouldn’t advise a kid to trust an adult if the adult shows two forms of ID and a reference letter signed by the president and the pope.

Some 1980s things I noticed:

  • Star Wars toys (which are still popular today)
  • Rotary phones with cords.  You pretty much needed to keep your conversations short and sweet, although I do kind of remember just lying down on the kitchen linoleum floor as a whippersnapper in order to have longer conversations whilst being tethered to the phone attached to the wall. Oh and those rotary dials meant you’d stick your finger in the number hole, then crank it all the way around, then do it again for the next number…and the next one….
  • Libraries with micro fiche readers and card catalogs.  Card catalogs were like a computer database on paper! Fun stuff.
  • Mom jeans and window pane glasses.  Not to goof on Barb.  Sigh, people used to care more about function over fashion.  Today, glasses are small and stylish, but those window pane bad boys gave a nerd way more peripheral vision.  Its way easier to sneak up on a nerd now. Thanks a lot small glasses.

So, that’s it. That’s my review. Despite all my gripes about getting older, Stranger Things is actually a fun filled romp back in time.

Oh and if you’re a Gen Xer, its fun to watch this show with a millennial.  Obviously, don’t steal one off the street, but if you have one in your family like I do.  We watched it and the conversation was thus:

MILLENIAL: They had pools back then?

ME: Ugh. Yes.

MILLENIAL: They had cars back then?

ME: And even before then.

MILLENIAL: Wait, when did Star Wars come out?

ME: In the 1970s.  Kids were way into it.

MILLENIAL: And they had plastic toys?

ME: Kids in the 1980s couldn’t buy plastic toys fast enough.

MILLENIAL: People had nice houses for that time.

ME: I know. You assumed we all lived in mud huts.

MILLENIAL: What a wonderful commitment to diversity that the boys have a black friend  despite the racial divisions at the time.

ME: Nope. We had black friends. Wasn’t a big deal. White kids liked toys. Black kids liked toys. We’d get together and play with our toys. Didn’t matter. No one asked for a medal for being friends with a black kid.

See? These whippersnappers don’t know about anything before 1990.

Enjoy it while it lasts, millennials. In twenty years, the next generation will have a show where everyone’s all like, “OMG. I can’t believe that people used to post pictures of their lunch on Facebook. Now that everyone’s a precog we all already know what everyone ate for lunch.”

STATUS: Shelf-worthy

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3 thoughts on “TV Review – Stranger Things

  1. People keep telling me to watch it but I can’t seem to get into it.

    • Eh…the one thing I’d say is that you as the viewer do find out what happens to the kid right away like in the first episode so the mystery isn’t so much what happened to the kid as will his nerd friends be able to figure it out.

      The nostalgia is fun though makes me feel old. You don’t think about any of these things until you realize it has been years since anyone used a VCR or whatever.

      • I was just lamenting the death of my vcr this morning and the hubs tried to find me a new one only to tell me it would be cheaper for me to replace all my VHS with DVD than to buy a new VHS player. LOL

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