01 The Plot

If you think you’re going to be in for a fun childhood romp, think again.  It does not take long for “Stranger Things” to do away with any sense of security. The very first episode opens with young Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) vanishing one night without a trace. Will finds himself trapped in a dark, terrifying parallel universe (later dubbed the “Upside Down), where he is forced to hide from a bloodthirsty creature that his friends later come to call “The Demogorgon.” While Will desperately tries to find a way to communicate with his family, his friends begin conducting their own search. They meet a young psychic girl, whom they decide to call Eleven for the tattoo of the number on her arm. As the show goes on, viewers learn that she may be able to help them bring Will home.

02 The Characters

If you’re looking for a fantastic cast, look no further. “Stranger Things” may center around young characters, but they give award winning performances. Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Eleven (Millie Bobbie Brown), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) make up the group of “meddling kids” that expose the evil brewing in the shadows of Hawkins. They are joined by Will’s mother, Joyce (Winona Ryder), a struggling single mother who refuses to believe that her son is gone. Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), Will’s older brother, does his best to keep things together while dancing around his (mostly) unrequited feelings for Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Will’s older sister. Chief of Police Jim Hopper (David Harbour) joins the crew in the search for answers when it becomes clear that something is not right.

03 Eleven’s Powers

Psychokinesis is just the tip of the spooky iceberg for Eleven. We see that she is not only capable of moving things with her mind (flipping cars and telepathically saving Mike), but she can also use her abilities to “listen in” on people half a world away, which was the original intention of the scientists that experimented on her. Unfortunately for Eleven, her abilities are what bring the monster to the town of Hawkins. While in a sensory deprivation tank, she goes into a black “void” to listen in on a man speaking Russian. She finds the monster instead, and it eventually finds a way through dimensions and into Hawkins.

04 Barb

Perhaps one of the most unexpected twists of season one was the unfortunate fate of Nancy’s best friend, Barb (Shannon Purser). When we first meet Barb, she is presented a brainy target for bullying. She openly calls Nancy out on her behavior and discourages her from going to a party that Nancy’s boyfriend, Steve (Joe Keery), throws. Barb reluctantly relents and tags along. In the end, despite Nancy’s rather unfriendly behavior, Barb stays at the party and finds herself alone outside. She is not alone for long. In a terrifying scene, Barb is dragged away. Nancy discovers that she is missing and is left devastated. With help from Jonathan, Nancy pursues the truth … right into the Upside Down.

05 The Style

“Stranger Things” puts a stunning amount of effort into creating an air of unease in the midst of childhood. Though there are plenty of chilling moments in season one, the sense of wrongness that grows until it is impossible to ignore is perhaps one of the most striking qualities of the story. Each episode is like a small movie. The quality shines without distracting from the brilliant storytelling. The entire series is thick with themes from the ’80s that are worked seamlessly into the show. It creates a sense of nostalgia that is natural, not forced. The entire season no doubt serves as a trip down memory lane for some viewers.

06 Season 2

Perhaps the best thing about season one is the fact that season two is out and prime for binge watching. Few things can ruin a weekend of Netflix and pajamas like starting a fantastic show only to discover that you only have a limited number of episodes to watch. It’s like a diet you have no choice but to follow. Luckily for viewers, “Stranger Things” has two seasons of monsters, waffles and ’80s nostalgia ready and waiting.

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