Stranger Things (TV Series 2016– ) Poster

(2016– )

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Two very different seasons
Kevin-4227 October 2017
I guess plenty of people have said a lot of things about all the movie and TV references this series has and how it recreates the eighties in all their faults and splendor. I will not add to that.

With the release of the second season I'd simply like to advise that both seasons are very different animals. Think of it as the difference between the original Alien movie and the Aliens sequel: Whereas the first season was more about an unknown and unseen horror and the mystery behind the backstory, the second has more in-your-face action and horror laced with character development arcs which feel nice but sometimes sidetrack the series a bit.

Consequently, a fan of the show should probably watch the second season as a separate work of fiction rather than a true continuation of the first season in tone and spirit. The writers move the story forward and we get a very good piece of entertainment but the new season has to be judged on its own merits.
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10/10
Steven Spielberg meets Stephen King
slayerjmk9515 July 2016
Stranger Things is the newest foray into Netflix's original programming, of which brings us their most impressive- and strange- production to date. When a young boy named Will Byers goes missing, his friends, mother and the town are thrust into a conspiracy involving a mysterious girl named Eleven and something even more sinister hiding in the woods of Hawkins, Indiana.

From the get-go, you can tell this is an homage to classic '80s Spielberg, drawing on E.T. and Close Encounters, as well as JJ Abrams' Super 8. But, as the show progresses, it becomes more and more like a twisted Stephen King story set in a Spielberg movie. It becomes a dark and twisted ride into an even darker and more disturbing world where the stakes feel higher than anything before it.

I can't go into great detail because spoiling even just a bit of the story takes away from the greater mystery, but I can say, it's one of the most thrilling and intense series to be on TV, without being on TV. If it were to continue, they have to pull the same punches they did with the first season, because they took a great many clichés, and somehow made them fresh and surprising, save for just a couple that they purposefully left cliché.
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10/10
A spectacular mash of E.T, X-Files and 80's.
IgnisWolf15 July 2016
With its amazing 80s atmosphere and creepy X-files meets E.T feel this show is set to impress. Within its first 8 minutes of run time I could tell I had found something special here in Stranger Things.

Its intriguing story gives information at a great pace and I never felt myself getting confused of bored and there were enough twists or turns to keep me interested. This also had some rather great horror sequences and their use of lights flickering while yes a common trope fit so well in to the story I was on the edge of my seat every time the crackle of electricity shot through my speakers and the lights flickered.

The characters of the show are the true stars here, I loved every single one of them. They were all great with amazingly interesting flaws and the way they mix and clash with one another was fun to see unfold. They certainly help to carry this show although I would say that the government antagonists of the show felt a little flat and under developed and not nearly as memorable.

Production values are also quite good with some beautiful cinematography, editing, lighting and sound. My goodness I loved their music choices. I would say that the CGI does look a little obvious and from time to time I did notice some issues where the scenes didn't look quite up to scratch. I do think however I've been spoiled for visual quality since Game of Thrones so I would take that criticism with a grain of salt because it certainly didn't detract from the overall experience. The setting and style of everything in the locations where also great to see and felt real and interesting. The way everything was shot also captures every moment expertly and really helps to draw out those story moments with greater emotion.

Stranger Things is one of those special shows that I stumbled across and after the opening I knew I was hooked. Its exciting dark tale is expertly woven through its 8 episode run time and I know I will be back to re-watch this one. The ending is fairly well rapped up with a few loose story threads left hanging, with a promise for potential follow on seasons but the story is quite satisfyingly rapped up by the end. Memorable, exciting, dark and haunting Netflix knocks Stranger Things out of the park, 10/10.
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10/10
Netflix Nails it again.
From_the_Future15 July 2016
It can hook you immediately, everything seems fitting , the setting , the acting , the direction. Just as it should be. Bringing out the perfect blend of 1980s nostalgia. It gives mixture of taste of big 80's movies.

You immediately get hooked with the story , which is amazing because it takes time for me to get invested in a story.

I have been a fan of David Harbour Since the Newsroom , and he is just amazing.

You're scared , Intrigued , you're completely invested. With perfect setting.

I am really looking forward to where this goes from here on in.
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10/10
The Perfect Mash-Up of the Best 80's Sci-Fi!
Chrystine Lilley15 July 2016
I've been trying to put my reaction to this series into cohesive sentences - even cohesive thoughts - and I just can't seem to do it. "Stranger Things" blended the best parts of some of the great 80's sci-fi films from "E.T." to "Poltergeist" to "The Goonies" to my all time favorite, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." It was simply brilliant, and brings you back to a time when you were still able to feel a sense of wonder.

Though there are plenty of thrilling moments, this film does not rely on heavy CGI or jump-scares. It focuses on relationships between parents and children, best friends, and even a touch of romance. It takes you on a journey from a parent's worst nightmare to the resilience of those who rely on friends and cling to hope.

Also - you'll never look at Christmas lights the same way again.
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10/10
Just watch it. You will not be disappointed.
kimberly-a-brence16 July 2016
Just watched the first chapter last night. Everything about it is great, the actors, the writing, the fact that it takes place in the FREAKING 80s (YES!) and all the music. The theme music is completely on point...very John Carpenter-ish with heavy synthesizer sounds that are very menacing. Watch this show, tell your friends to watch. It feels very Stephen King/Steven Spielberg..with some X-Files mixed in. I have never seen the kid actors before but they were all so good. Their on screen chemistry reminded me of the group of friends from The Explorers, Stand By Me or The Goonies but it's definitely not lighthearted or a comedy at all. It's always a good sign that a show is going to be good when you are completely sucked in within the first couple minutes. 10 out of 10 so far.
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9/10
Instantly hooked
rossnoon15 July 2016
What can I say Netflix has done it again!

I was hooked from the first episode!

The acting in this is brilliant, especially from the younger members of the cast.

The period it is set in they have managed to get it spot on down to the littlest details.

I especially like the musical score in it, sets the mood superbly!

This series has the perfect amount of mystery, suspense, and scares to keep you wanting more!! Hope this show runs for many more episodes, it's a classic in my eyes!
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10/10
A masterpiece
Djervig16 July 2016
This is one of the most magical things I have ever had the fortune of viewing. I won't go into details about the narrative, which is build on classic sci-fi and horror concepts and it works. But what really makes this show excel is the little things. The casting is amazing - every single character, regardless of how small the part is, feels like a complete character, and the main cast delivers some powerful stuff all throughout the series. The production is spot on in it's portrayal of a small town in the 80's, and I have to assume that it is in part based on the creators own experiences and childhood, because everything feels real.

The only thing that bothered me throughout the entire show was the incompetence of the government entities. I know and understand that this is a popular portrayal of the government in these types of stories and especially in the US is this a common sentiment. But it simply didn't seem believable that they would make some of the choices they did. Doesn't take a genius to see that they are doing a crummy job. But this is all in all a negligible detail, as it keeps the story moving.
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10/10
This Series is a true time machine: it will take you to the 80's. Believe me.
adriano-bordignon16 July 2016
ATTENTION TO ALL OF YOU WHO LIVED YOU'RE YOUTH IN YEARS 80, liked movies like Goonies, Portergeist, The Evil Dead, The Thing, Alien(s), Star Wars, ET, Clouse Encounters of the Third Degree, Indiana Jones, It - Stephen King, Lord of the Rings (ok, this is newer, but the books are older and the references are all there) and so many other fantastic and unbeatable classics of that magic decade. I have to say: Watch THIS, STRANGER THINGS! Oh really. Watch it. But watch accordingly: at night, turn off your mobile, whats-app, Facebook, Instagram, blah blah blah, watch as you should watch every movie, with immersion, transport yourself into the adventure, and I assure you, you will remember how it used to be, when going to the movies itself was already an adventure. You will be transported to the 80's. Cool characters, family dramas, pure and sincere friendships among nerd, intelligent, and excluded children, teenage's dramas, music and soundtrack of the 80s, in every detail, from the suspense in songs of each scene, the opening song and title of the series, the soundtrack, the references/homage to the 80's is very strong, very clear. I loved it. For me, it is among the 2 best series I've seen in the last 10 years, with only Game of Thrones at the same level. I cannot think of any other that has given me so much pleasure to watch, which has given me the desire to watch again, and again, and again. No, not even Breaking Bad, Marvel's Daredevil, The Walking Dead, The Expanse (unknown by many, but i liked), NCIS, etc. I'm looking here at the list of series that I follow (around 50), and none is equal to the entertainment provided by this. Congratulations to the Duffer brothers. The series is amazing. Worth every minute.
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4/10
This review is for the 2nd season alone, the 1st season is great!
benjaminpeterrichards4 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Oh dear, oh dear, where to begin. As the summary suggests we loved the first season, yes, it had its flaws, mainly in the terrible script but we (the people I watched it with) forgave that in light of a gripping, well paced narrative.

My biggest gripe about ST2 is the poor mechanics. By this I mean the story doesn't work. The continuation of how principle characters from ST1 behave in ST2 doesn't add up. When you acknowledge that that target audience for this is the 30-40 age bracket, meta-geeks and nostalgia-nuts who remember the films, music, games, culture of the 1980's, you must pay tribute to the intelligence that this group of people bring. OK, I'll say it, we're geeks and geeks like things to make sense.

Dusting would not treat a baby demagorgon as a pet, nor would he hide it. Hopper behaves practically like a jealous lover, a Jozef Fritzl to Eleven. Eleven barely spoke in ST1. So many incongruities. The top secret HAL lab, that anyone can just roll up to and gain access. What annoys me the most is that the Duffer Brothers have created a story of total rubbish, they have trampled over the credibility of the characters they successfully developed in ST1. They have done with ST2 what Disney have done to Star Wars: repackaged the original with louder bangs and hoped that the audience doesn't call them out on a flagrant cashing in on a premise with no substance.

Ultimately, I know I shouldn't care, but I do because I love ST1 and I hate ST2 for it's lazy storyline, it's awful script and really shoddy CGI.
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8/10
Nostalgia shouldn't drive a story...
Symon Goodwin13 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
First off, I'm going to say that I did enjoy the show. The acting was good, the music was top notch, and the cinematography was great! So why did I give it a 7/10? Quite simply it's plot is simplistic, it isn't that scary or suspenseful when it claims to be and I found the majority of the characters bland. I only really cared about the cop, Jim Hopper and the kid, Dustin. Everyone else wasn't really given a second thought until they reappeared on screen.

At some points I forgot the plot was about the main group of kids trying to find out what happened to their friend as it ping-ponged around between the characters so much, I actually got a headache, and this is coming from someone who understood the ending to BioShock: Infinite.

When you break it down, the story is mainly driven by nostalgia, a lot of it will go over people's heads who weren't born in the 70s/early 80s. And when there were subplots, I felt like they were somewhat unnecessary and/or executed poorly. For example, Nancy's motivation. After her friend Barbara disappears, she starts her own investigation along with Jonathan Byers. This (predictably) ends with a form of romantic tension which actually doesn't lead anywhere as Nancy stays with her actual boyfriend Steve (Who's for lack of a better term: A nob) who (Also predictably) does a somewhat lackluster heroic twist during a final confrontation by assisting Nancy and Jonathan against the... monster

This is another down-point for me, not only do they make the mistake (Mistake in my eyes, it can be done well) of revealing the monster in it's fullest. It's also a generic black Wendigo-ish design with a head that opens like a dog from Resident Evil. Set in a story where they try and make everything suspenseful, they just go ahead and show you the beast. The best form of horror is when the audience fabricates the monster themselves, let us hear it, see a sudden silhouette move in the background, let us see their destruction, but don't let us see THEM.

All in all, you should give this a watch, it's a good summer binge. Easily done in one sitting. It's enjoyable, in some instances, fun. But it's simply over-hyped and overrated when it comes to it's praise. Like I said, it's main drive is nostalgia which doesn't sit well with me.

This reason this review covered mainly negative aspects of the show is because, as it's a *Spoiler Review* I'm assuming you've already watched it and are therefore in other peoples opinions on the show. You've probably heard all the praise in the world for it, hence my recommendation of the show, but cover the negatives.
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5/10
Phoning it in after just one year
TheZoolooMaster29 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Not as big of a disappointment as True Detective: Season 2, but close.

This series, unlike TD, had the advantage of giving us the same characters and locations we came to know (and perhaps love) in the first season -- enough familiarity to satisfy the casual viewer at any rate, but hardly quality TV. Just as with True Detective, I kept wondering whether to turn it off, whereas season 1 was binge fodder if I ever saw it.

What's really frustrating, though, is seeing all the deliberate yet unnecessary missteps made by the Duffer brothers. They got into their heads that because it would be unfair to the supporting cast or because we might be fed up with Mike that it would be a good idea to offer these same secondary characters more screen time. Wrong. Dustin was given some of the most cringe-worthy and unbelievable lines of dialogue in the whole series, and Lucas's forced romance with Max had zero chemistry. We also had to deal with a tedious love triangle (surrounding Nancy) that had already been given satisfactory closure at the end of season one.

Next, why all the off-tone scenes? The inexplicable moment in which Billy and Mike's mom have an impromptu flirting session should clearly have been cut from the final product. What about the absurd bond that Dustin appears to create with the demodog?

All this contributed to turning what would have perhaps been a passable-to-mediocre sequel into something genuinely bad.

The Duffer Brothers would do best to take a long break from screen-writing until they find some real inspiration, rather than continue phoning it in for big bucks and fan service, they lest they ruin what could have been a unique and valuable franchise. And please, let's just pretend Chicago and episode 7 never even happened!
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10/10
Stranger Things
troydg8415 July 2016
Netflix does it again! I'll admit, I was excited for this show just based on the genre it was listed as being in and so far it has not disappointed. With the exception of a few of the adults most of the cast was unknown to me which only adds to the level of immersion the show can reach. The two performers I was familiar with, Winona Ryder and David Harbour are both magnificent. A few things about Stranger Things are extraordinary and could only be done by Netflix. One, this show is suspenseful and engaging so waiting for a week to see the next episode would change the entire dynamic and would really be a bummer, Stranger Things must be binged! Second, the creators of this series are, like the young actors, unknown to me. Matt and Ross Duffer. Brothers that through conventional methods may not have had the opportunity to bring this show to life, get that opportunity from Netflix. In the past few years television has changed wildly. If you were a writer or actor five years ago you would much rather be a movie star than a television star, those distinctions have all but vanished. This change was brought on by many factors but I'd like to take this opportunity to applaud Netflix for their role. It is no coincidence that they started doing their own programming right around the same time these changes began. Bravo and please start filming season two of Stranger Things ASAP!
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7/10
Incredible 1st season, 2nd season not so flawless
neilcarlin10 November 2017
My review here is broken down into two seasons.

Firstly, the first season blew me away. Within mere minutes the backing music kicks in warming my anticipation for what I imagine will be a wonderful homage to some of the greatest movies of the 80's. And that's exactly what it does, it takes us on a journey, much like it's theme tune, to places so familiar yet so fresh at the same time. It's as if it was a classic I forgot to watch, oozing influences from King, Spielberg and Carpenter and concepts from varied corners of cult movies, TV shows and video games. Once more to it's deserved merit, we leave season one with the story nicely rounded off but with enough of a door left wedged open to feel satisfied buy not mis-sold to. The performances were superb and felt genuine and hats off to the young cast that knock it out of the park.

9/10 - one of the best shows ever...

Now season two. Had season one not been so damned near perfect I'd have not been so critical with my perception of it's follow up. That said it still delivers what we showed up for. It carries on from the first filling in on plot elements that you'd perhaps question somewhat. However, what it falls down on is obvious references. Whilst the first touched familiar memories for me the second season seemed too blatant thus no longer did it feel organic. Kind of like when a kid does a funny dance and everyone cracks up then someone says "do it again" but the kid knows he's being funny and people smile and say "oh yeh..." less enthusiastically. I guess it became self aware, like Cyberdyne if we wanted to ironically throw a reference about it's use of references. Sure being such a fan of the 80s movies it referenced it was a guilty pleasure but we now lose how honest the first season felt and almost like the idea being 'reference-hard' was in hope to net viral stories to captivate fans of the cult movies that it 'references hard with a vengeance'. If I were to see Louis CK and he starting doing Bill Hicks routines I'd still laugh because I love Hicks but I turned up to see fresh material from CK. Obviously this is the main issue I had with the second series, each time it happened it broke the 4th wall a little, disengaging me from the plot. The second season starts strong but weakens in it's final few episodes. In parts becoming obvious and corny, the young kids making decisions for some of the adults lessened the integrity of those characters. The kids essentially muscling their way to being the main protagonists. Either way it was still a good watch and I am still in anticipation for a third instalment only this time with slightly lower expectations.

6.5/10 – still a treat even though I felt a little tricked
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7/10
Certainly a fun watch, but certainly not 9 stars
iamyouronlyhope8 November 2017
Entertaining to say the least and definitely a nice nostalgic trip back into the 80s. However, the show remains full of plot holes and a good part of it feels 'forced' and 'shaky'. While i binge-watched the show, it felt underwhelming and overacted. Season 1 was better, whereas this one let me down in hard to define ways (conclusion, useless scenes and jokes, poor character development, etc). Also, i really felt the need to give it a 7 star rating. IMDb was by go to reference but it seems that every new show nowadays always gets either a 10 or a 1. Too polarized. This show is DEFINITELY not a 9 or 10, and I would place it somewhere between 7 and 7.5, maybe.
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6/10
Has Stranger Things lost all its originality?
glenndonnelley7 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
After a phenomenal first season, I feel Stranger Things has completely lost its edge; recycling the same ideas we've seen on TV a million times before. First, I thought this season was a complete recycle of an episode of Fringe I saw a couple of years back, called: Alone in the World; Fringe was an American science fiction television series that ran from 2008-2013. In this episode, the Fringe team discover a large fungal network in a service tunnel which is actually part of a superorganism that functioned like the Shadow Monster. The infection also psychically connects to a young boy (named Aaron), who discovered the phenomenon, and if the Fringe team try to kill the organism, Aaron dies too. The Fringe team also finds that the organism is growing rapidly; creating its own ecosystem with tentacles and death spores for defence. Sound familiar? Google it. Furthermore, Joyce, Johnathan and Nancy make Will's body inhabitable to the Shadow Monster by increasing the temperature, because the monster likes the cold, which is identical to something I saw a season or two ago in Supernatural, in an episode called: The Things They Carried. Even, Elevens adventures this season could have been taken straight out of the pages of the Firestarter miniseries; based on Charlie McGee, a young girl with psychokinetic powers. I am sure Eleven is based on the character Charlie McGee, however, at least try to bring us an original story.

To spite a weak second season, I'll still be watching the third. Hopefully, the writers can get us back on track and bring us something we haven't seen before on either X-Files or Fringe. Otherwise, I'll be checking out for the fourth. It's a real shame too, the second season of Stranger Things had such huge potential but they went in completely the wrong direction.

Season 1: 9/10. Season 2: 4.5/10.
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6/10
80's pastiche is engaging, but lacks originality
Jesse Friedman27 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Stranger Things is cool, but ultimately disappointing. Though I love 80's horror and sci-fi as much as the next weirdo, I feel like if you're going to invoke such a loud stylistic lexicon you need to bring something new to the table, something of your own to balance the appropriation and allusion.

The first episode is intense, dense with promises of captivating plots to be revealed. All the 80's elements are there, and handled so well, I am giddy with anticipation—where will this show take me? The 80's horror vibe is so well captured I feel it can't be all there is; a show so fluent in this language must surely do something interesting with it. The rules and conventions of the genre are established in such a way as to convince me they will be played with or broken.

Alas. This show is as by the book as they come. As the narrative unfolds, the horror I feel most is, first, a suspicion, which slowly blooms into realization—the 80's mashup pastiche angle is sort of all there is. Some of the characters are engaging, and there is some fine acting, sure, particularly from the young Millie Bobbie Brown, as well as David Harbour, and, at times, Winona Ryder, but it is not enough to save the greater whole; this show does not transcend the shadow cast by its titanic genealogy.

In addition to heavy Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, and John Carpenter influences, other appropriated/allusive elements which deserve mention include: some watered-down Akira as the basis for Eleven's character/premise/backstory; an errant MK ULTRA namedrop; a sensory deprivation tank a la Altered States; shots (of Eleven in the "upside down") which look remarkably similar to some of those found in 2013's Under the Skin; a figure coming out of a wall as in the Frighteners... the list could probably go on.

Some of these ideas and elements might have worked if they weren't so flagrantly underdeveloped.

I was ready to like this show. I wanted to like it. I even tried to convince myself I liked it. People seem to enjoy it for the 80's throwbacks; I feel there is nothing else to it. Stranger Things invokes the style of the classics as if to count itself among them, but it plainly is not. I find it utterly forgettable.

If you are interested in contemporary work made using this vocabulary, and want something which does more than rearrange existing pieces, I would recommend It Follows, a movie every bit as good as the classics of the genre it draws from.
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6/10
Pretty good but not the masterpiece that so many say it is
pjgs2004 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I'm not gonna write a long review because I don't want to repeat what many others have said. Stranger Things is a good show- it's very well directed and acted, it has a pretty interesting mystery, and some of the first episodes are pretty creepy- but it is nowhere near the level of quality many people say it is. I liked the amount of suspense and horror in the first few episodes, but as the show went on it became more about the uninspired characters and less about the mystery, sci fi and horror, and when we finally saw the Demagorgen it looked really cheap. I've watched all of the episodes, and the only episodes that impressed me were the second one, which had a great first half but dropped the ball a bit in the last 30 minutes, and Holly Jolly. I think (like some people have already said), the super-high rating this show has on IMDb might just be because so many people are nostalgic about the 80's and not because Stranger Things is actually one of the best shows ever. Stranger Things isn't a bad show, but it's nowhere near as good as people say it is.
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6/10
I really want to love it, but...
ChloeS8918 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Stranger Things is a very well-made show. The acting is fantastic (especially from the children), it's cinematography is beautiful and it's great at creating a feeling of dread.

By all means, Stranger Things should be phenomenal, but it has one huge flaw, a flaw which I believe derails the show.

The Duffer Brothers claim the show is a love-letter to 80s Sci-Fi. After watching this show, I can confirm that The Duffer Brothers have no idea what a homage is.

A homage shows respect to a previous decade/genre, but Stranger Things doesn't do that. Stranger Things goes the Scary Movie/Seth MacFarlane route of excessively referencing other works. This wouldn't be such a problem if the references weren't so blatant or frequent.

The show loves to name drop ("Maybe she's an escaped loony?" "Just like Michael Myers!", "I was making out with Chrissy Carpenter.), place movie posters in the background or foreground (The Thing, The Evil Dead) or sometimes even lift scenes directly from other works (The scene where Mike hides Eleven from his mother is almost identical to a scene in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial).

Stranger Things feels like it was created by that one annoying kid everybody knew who thought he was so cool because he had some knowledge of popular culture before his time.

A big disappointment for somebody who was hoping for a lot more.
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5/10
Nothing "original" here
pitellajr1 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The strangest thing about this show is the fact that it is such a huge success. It is presented as an "original" series, but there's not a single character or situation in it that you haven's seen dozen times in other movies or TV shows before - just check the IMDb trivia and you will see what I mean. Conspiracy theory? Check. Government cover-up? Check. Alien/extra-dimensional monsters? Check. Shy and sensitive boy falling for the popular girl who dates a fool? Check. Worn-out cop who gets a new break? Check. You name it - if it is a cliché, you will find it here. The cast is OK. Millie Bobby Brown is great and the other kids are good, but Matthew Modine looks uncomfortable as a villain whose voice we barely hear. This show has the undeniable virtue of being addictive and you can easily binge- watch it on a single free day, but then you ask yourself: "So what?" I had fun, but I as bored at some points and didn't feel like I had watched a great show like the Marvel and DC pieces I've been going through these days.
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1/10
Sci-fi "Mash-up" Manipulate Another's Stories to Hide Unabashed Plagerism.
CineasteWest3 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I only manage to finish this series by "purge watching." It's my own term. It's the opposite of "binge watching" where you're apparently so enraptured by a show you can't stop watching. "Purge watching" is when you can't wait for a series to be over, so you use the fast forward button during the throw-away, series-padding scenes. And there's a lot of padding in the show. Like a cheap Stephen King Santa. Honestly, are we supposed to really accept this asa "homage" or is it just the ultimate recycling job? A number of critics thought 8 hours devoted to the somewhat thin story of "Stranger Things" was excessive. I was thinking about the story in my head, and if it hadn't been given the soap opera drag out treatment, condensed down to a 2-hour movie it would have been even worse -- exposing more clearly the basic silliness and retread plot. The watered-down tempo helped what otherwise would have been Cream of Condensed Tripe. You could claim running the same old numbers is in the name of "homage" or you could argue there's really not a lot of new ideas in the show. From the first scene where the scientists get pulled upward into the elevator, dangled by an unseen beast, I went "ho hum." Like I haven't see that visual in a million monster films. An old clever show like the X-Files would have had a pair of eyes creepily material in the wall of an elevator and then maybe the doors close and a scream. That show as extremely creative at coming up with original ideas and images -- which is why it was a great show. But immediately I wasn't that impressed with the "Duffer Brothers" mise en scene. I need more "things I've never seen before" from Sci-fi. And little touches like the elevator scene are where true originals and moderate talents separate themselves. I nearly bailed completely on the series. Episode 3&4 were sluggishly directed by Shawn Levy, who is pretty much an incompetent as a stylist. By episode 4, it has completely lost the "vintage feel" and leaning on the influences of contemporary cable: Let's play a moving piece of rock music over amontage of the different actors staring thoughtfully into space. The music swells... It's the HBO Method of audience intercourse. A directorial cliché. Sorry, but this doesn't have the "feel" of a 70s or 80s production at all, maybe a bit in the opening episode or two, but it pretty much is quickly replaced by a run-of-the-mill cable show feel. Vintage Spielberg always had a very kinetic feel. 70s and early 80s films were riffing off the vibe of Altman, Pennebaker, Penn, but sanitizing them a bit and joking them up. The vibe of this series is probably closest in spirit to the lousy cheapie Steven King films, and not in a good way. It's a leaden feel. I'm still skeptical of the "tribue" aspect of this show The Winonna"Poltergiest" ripoff/tribute is the worst bit so far. Where's the dwarf psychic? As I also noted they managed to pay "homage" to "Under the Skin" and "Pan's Labyrinth" Were those nostalgic "homages?" If your pose a show as a tribute (and make sure to let people know up front to cover your tracks) does that eradication the icky "borrowing." I think a couple of producers (the Duffers you would assume) sat down and said: "Yeah, I like the kid with powers from FireStarter, let's use that. And the kids from "It". The whole kid thing from King. "Alien" was a great movie. How about goo? And we'll stay away from the afterlife and just make it a portal to another dimension...." Add Shaw Levy's teleplay staging (someone should let him know the camera moves) and it's all a bit snoozy. By the way, I also notice that the Duffer Brothers didn't write the series. They farmed out the episodes to a bunch of writer. Right there, their auteur status goes down the drain, IMO. Interestingly, I noticed that the Duffer Brothers wrote the teleplay for Episode 8, but another writer suddenly turns up with a "story by" credit (for the first time in the series) for that episode. That tell's me the Duffers' couldn't even figure out how to put a cap on their own series and brought in someone else to make sense of it. And the ending is all pretty perfunctory and predictable. They even managed to reproduce Steven King's most reliable device ... not being able to produce a really satisfying ending. So anyway, that's that. I'd give it a"C." And warn Steven King to keep his paper covered during the next test.
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6/10
Second Season has Sequel Feeling (Spoilers)
TwentyWasHere28 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I liked the first season a lot. The second season though has a bad after taste of sequel.

The first three episodes are great; we catch up with all the characters and get some backstory what happened to Eleven. Also new characters are introduced and the new plot is established. It is slow but not too slow.

Then in the middle three episodes it gets really slow out of sudden. It seems to lead nowhere. Some of the B-arcs are nice, but the plot gets lost and we even get more backstory. Sometimes a McGuffin should stay a McGuffin. And sometimes loose ends should stay loose ends.

These middle episodes live more from the B-arc than the actual still underdeveloped plot. In addition, our characters are most of the time split up and the Goonies feeling is lost, which is the biggest mistake of this season.

This was an attempt at character building which the writers are no very good at. Character development happens in movie terms through conflict in the first season and the attempt to develop the characters through interaction this season instead fails. What happens around the characters is more interesting than what happens with the characters in this part of the season. They creators and not playing to the strength of their show but instead emphasize its weaknesses.

Later we get some character development of Eleven. Just to flip her quickly 180 degree around, so she actual plays a role in this season and will be the Deux Ex Machina in the end. Nevertheless, her character still feels underdeveloped and more like a plot device.

These episodes are quite forgettable and feel like padded run-time, though they have some nice scenes but do not have enough substance to make up three episodes.

When the characters are united again in the last three episodes, the Goonies feeling that made the first season so great is back, and the show shines again. Finally, we get a rushed conclusion with the expected Deus Ex Machina featuring Eleven. However, it leaves you unsatisfied, but is followed up by an epilogue that makes up for the uninspired finale.

Though the sloppy writing to rip of Yoda/Luke on Dagobah, The Exorcist, The Mercury puzzle and some more movies throughout the season are almost cringe worthy and feel just wrong. Some more creative solutions to come to a similar conclusion would have benefited this season a lot.

This is a good second season but this has sequel written all over it. It is less original; the plot is not very well developed and the pacing is wrong (ok at the start, too slow in the middle, too fast at the end).

The acting and production value overall is top notch for a TV show. Same goes for the writing in regards to the dialogue. However, character development often feels forced and the plot is quite thin.

After all, it feels more like half a season padded with procedural episodes instead of a highly serialized show. Throughout binge watching, I had the feeling they took out ideas just to have enough content for a third season instead of leaving it in the second season.

In addition, some elements (e.g. Eleven's "sister") feels slapped on just to have loose ends that can be referenced in a third season or even built one around it.

If you liked the 1st season, you will like the second one as well. The creators delivered for sure, but the whole season has stamped sequel over it all along, and shows the inexperience in running a show over multiple seasons as well a a serious deficit in creating a plot that can sustain a whole season.

I give the second season a 6 out of 10 on average (7 for the 1st three, 5 for the middle three and 6 for the last three episodes), whereas the first season was a strong 8 on average for me.
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1/10
Weak rehash of old material
G Kristjansson14 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I was full of hope when I watched the pilot for this highly rated and very popular series. After the pilot I was bewildered as to why the vast number of viewers have given this wishy-washy show such outrageously high ratings! There is nothing new being done here and the quality is mediocre, IMHO!

But I decided to watch another episode, just in case the material got better. I, however, gave up towards the end of it. I found it so boring and basically just annoying. This series hardly deserves even one star; it's dreadful!

I found the acting to be mostly mediocre, as well as the material. Winona Ryder is overplaying her role with too much hysteria. Other actors are just so so...
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5/10
Stephen King and Spielberg threw up on each other
TheBlueHairedLawyer1 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This show isn't bad. It has its moments, but I personally just think it's incredibly unoriginal and overrated for what it is. The majority of people I've talked to who love it seem to think that just because you make something that rides on nostalgia, it's automatically a masterpiece. A lot of it's just really nerdy and seems to copy ideas from earlier shows and films, EG Firestarter, Eerie Indiana, Super 8, The Goonies, Stand By Me, stuff like that. And it's very predictable, too. The characters are certainly likable and fun, but at the same time it's just a bunch of tropes we've all seen before in one form or another. There's a lot of CGI that really doesn't suit the 80's motif that they're going for. It often feels like they're just throwing together whatever ideas come to mind that they've already seen somewhere else, and while copying older ideas isn't necessarily a bad thing, it just makes Stranger Things come off as some sort of parody more than anything else.

That being said, it does have some truly emotional and well-done moments, and it's worth watching just for that alone. And how could I hate a show that encourages kids to read real printed books and play around with old film and music formats instead of cell phones and iPads? Love it or loathe it, I think Stranger Things is here to stay for the time being, and its fan base is always growing larger.
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What's The Point ?
rahjonmcclain11 January 2017
That's the problem with T.V. shows today and this show is one of the problems when it's going to end. In my opinion I'm tired of seeing the same laziness in shows like Stranger Things, Daredevil, Jessica Jones they all just guilty pleasure with no fresh ideas. And Neflix it's starting to become the huge problem of people laziness in finding anything to watch because they bored until the next new thing. Stranger Things is not an enjoyable show for the mind same thing could be said with Mr.Robot it's just guilty pleasure like Pretty Little Liars, Vampire Diaries, and The Walking Dead where they just going to keep dragging out the story until it doesn't make sense anymore. I have to stop this show before I get suck into another show with no entertaining enjoyment where I can relax and enjoy. Stranger Things is another stable show like Mr. Robot until something new comes long nothing is refreshing and no re watchable value like The Fresh Prince Bel- Air,Friends, Cartoon shows, some daytime sitcoms where you can relax and enjoy it over and over until it's call your favorite show you grown up watching where is the excitement in the show; I already been there and seen it before when I was a child. There's no need to go through with this again. A step back to child/Adult memory Stranger Things is nothing new it copies and paste from other classic movies and t.v. shows; it's getting boring find something refreshing you can enjoy to relax your mind, because this is another guilty pleasure 1/10 for this laziness. I will hold my options open until someone create something new and refreshing to call my favorite.
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