Tag Archives: stranger things

TV Review – Stranger Things Season 3 (1980)

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

It took me awhile but I finally got through Season 3 of Stranger Things.

These are probably bland observations but I’ll make them all the same.

#1 – The nostalgia factor for someone who grew up in the 80s is fun.  From the music choices to the overall feel, the Duffer brothers know that decade which is odd because I don’t think they spent a lot of time in it.

#2 – Often in movies about kids who save the day, the kids are usually presented as geniuses and the adults as bumbling idiots who get in the way  Here, not so much.  Hopper and Joyce are integral to the plot and aren’t treated like dummies getting in the kids’ way.  Also, the kids are kids.  They make kid mistakes and they need, or rather even seek out parental help because they know their limits whereas other films would show a kid genius who is just being slowed down by the adults.

#3 – Look away if you don’t want spoilers, but the final mall battle where the kids throw fireworks bombs at the monster is visually stunning and fun to watch.

#4 – Russians are the villains and kids and adults alike really dump on them throughout the season, calling them commies and deriding communism as evil and corrupt.  I didn’t think that was allowed anymore in today’s PC world, even in a period piece.

#5 – They do tend to work 80s era actors into the series.  Winona Ryder, aka Joyce was a popular kid actor in the 80s.  Sean Astin of Goonies fame has a brief role as her love interest in Season 2.  In Season 3, Cary Elwes of Princess Bride fame plays a villainous mayor.  Comedian Paul Reiser plays a scientist that experiments on the evil monsters.

#6 – I think the challenge for the show was trying to keep reinvent itself after an initial plotline that was cool at first but over time became somewhat limiting.  For example, after two seasons of battling evil monsters that inhabit the “upside-down” version of their town (basically, an evil parallel universe) one wonders why anyone still chooses to continue to live in Hawkins, Indiana.  Season 3 upped the game by bringing Russians conducting an evil experiment in the bowels of that 1980s staple, the shopping mall and it looks like (spoiler alert) Season 4 will likely involve a plot to rescue Hopper from the upside-down.

#7 – I’ve run out of observations but if you have any, leave them in the comments.  In the meantime, don’t click on the video below if you don’t want a spoiler.  Otherwise, enjoy the kids’ rendition of “The Neverending Story” theme song.

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Stranger Things Season 2 Trailer

Hey 3.5 readers.

Video Game Rack Fighter here.  BQB continues to live a life in exile at the Random Motel.

Did you miss the Stranger Things 2 trailer during the Super Bowl?  Here it is.  Good news?  Eggos and Ghostbusters.  Bad news?  It’s not back until October!

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Stranger Things on SNL – Lucas’ Parents

SNL noticed that Lucas’ parents where nowhere to be found in Season One (although come to think of it, I don’t think we saw that lispy kid’s parents either.)

Anyway, hi jinx ensue and this is funny if you’ve seen the show on Netflix:

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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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