Stranger Things: Netflix’s most recent sci-fi show is an incredible tribute to 80s horror movies.
In A Nutshell
Stranger Things takes place in the suburban town of Hawkins, Indiana, in 1983. One day, 12-year-old WIll Byers disappears mysteriously after playing with his friends Mike, Lucas and Dustin. Will’s mother, Joyce, becomes frantic trying to find her son with the help of Police Chief Jim Hopper and other members of family and friends. Shortly after, a mysterious psychokinetic girl who barely speaks shows up to help the boys find their friend Will. Their investigations reveal a sinister government agency experiment.
Meet the Characters
Mike is part of one of the main families in the show, the Wheelers. He has an older sister, Nancy (who also has an important role in the story), and a toddler sister, Holly. Just like his friends, Mike is a geeky kid with a passion for technology and role-playing games. He is shown as being intelligent, mature for his age and very loyal to his friends.
Dustin is a friend of Mike, Lucas and Will. Dustin is a big fan of comic books, especially the X-Men. He’s often the voice of reason, acting as a mediator whenever Mike and Lucas disagree on someting. He is made fun of by other kids because he is missing his front teeth due to his cleidocranial dysplasia, which causes him to lisp. He has a crush on Nancy, Will’s sister.
Lucas is another member of the main group of friends. Unlike Will, Lucas is very down-to-earth and is skeptic when it comes to believing the supernatural. He is also very bold and is not afraid to speak his mind, even if it hurts others. Because of this, he has a difficult relationship with Eleven and he has trouble accepting her into the group. He often bickers with Dustin, even if they’re actually very close friends.
Stranger Things has a lot of main characters, but we are focusing on the kids as they have the main focus in the story. Eleven is not in the list to keep it as spoiler-free as possible.
A Brief History of ‘Stranger Things’: The When, Where and How
Stranger Things is an American science fiction television series created by the Duffer Brothers. The first season consisted of 8 episodes and was released on Netflix on July 15, 2016.
Stranger Things received positive reviews for its characterization, pacing, atmosphere, acting, soundtrack, directing, writing, and homages to 1980s pop culture and genre films.
Why It’s Awesome
It’s pretty clear that the hook of Stranger Things is how much it resembles classic horror movies from the 80s. Everything from the opening credits to the aesthetics and some of its horror clichés screams 1980’s summer horror movie. The Duffer Brother’s show mainly channels the works of Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter and Stephen King, but it also includes all types of pop culture references, from The Clash to Dungeons and Dragons. If you’re a fan of any of those things, you will instantly love Stranger Things.
Stranger Things is not all horror, though, so if you are not a fan of horror movies, you can rest assured that there are many other aspects that make his show bingewatch-worthy. There’s a big mystery, science-fiction, tragedy and themes of family and childhood friendship. Furthermore, the horror of the series doesn’t depend on jumpscares and cheap shock factor, but more in building an eerie atmosphere around the mundane of the town.
Stranger Things also features a great cast, including kids (or pre-teens), teenagers and adults. This is something that is rare to see in these types of mystery series, but that helps build that sense of union and family among all of them. Some of the character actions and performances are a bit over the top at times, but they still fit within the 80s horror references, and while the writing is a bit on the nose sometimes, it is easily forgiven for its self-awareness.