'Stranger Things' so much more than sci-fi

Sunday , December 03, 2017 - 12:00 AM

TX. Correspondent

I’ve always been a sucker for films made and set in the ’80s. Growing up, I rooted for Daniel in “The Karate Kid,” wished I had missed school with Ferris in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” and rewound the ending scene of “Dirty Dancing” more times than I can count.

Therefore, it did not come as a surprise when I instantly fell in love with the Netflix original series “Stranger Things,” which takes place in 1983 and 1984.

A notable show from its release on July 15, 2016, “Stranger Things” permanently changed popular culture. With its focal points being the significance of love and the value of resilience, the television program is an alteration to society that no one knew we needed until now.

“Stranger Things” accurately depicts social “cliques,” expresses the benefits and struggles of all types of relationships, and restores the nostalgia you can only feel while watching an ’80s film. It leaves you wanting to watch each episode again and again.

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The Duffer Brothers, the show’s creators, purposefully paid homage to 1980s genre films throughout the series, finding inspiration from the works of Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter, Stephen King and George Lucas. Prominent references are made to Spielberg’s “E.T. : The Extra-Terrestrial” throughout the show, what with a main character having the ability to move things with her mind, little parental supervision of children on display, and characters continually riding bicycles everywhere they go.

Do not fear, however, that this series is merely a copy of other individuals’ genius. “Stranger Things” stands on its own with its incredible cast, most notably Winona Ryder and David Harbour, as well as its unpredictable plotline.

Rescue from ‘Upside Down’

The drama begins with the disappearance of Will Byers, a middle-school-aged boy living in Hawkins, Indiana. His mother, brother, city police chief and three friends are determined to find him but have little luck. The task eventually becomes achievable, however, once Will’s three friends are out searching in the woods late one evening and meet Eleven, a girl with telekinesis powers. Eleven is able to help the boys locate Will, who has been taken captive by a science-fiction-based monster into what the characters call “The Upside Down,” another dimension of our world engulfed in utter darkness and death.

With this new information, Eleven, Will’s closest family and his friends work together to rescue him from “The Upside Down” and prevent the monster, known as the Demogorgon, from entering our dimension and taking captives ever again.

It all may sound preposterous and incomprehensible, but, after all, it is called “Stranger Things.” However, don’t worry if you find yourself lost. Eventually, it does become conceivable — and enjoyable — once you make it through the show’s first few episodes.

“Stranger Things” first season was a tremendous success; the show did so well that Netflix renewed the series for a second season, which was released Oct. 27 and contained nine episodes.

The second season was highly anticipated, with the first trailer receiving more than 1.5 million views on YouTube. Although I worried I would not enjoy the second season as much as I had cherished the first, I realized all my doubts and fears were in vain as soon as I saw the main cast take the screen, their acting skills superb and accurate as to how their characters had previously been portrayed.

The new season can be described as intense and thrilling, containing scenes that reminded me of the suspense used throughout “Jurassic Park.” While it seems much has changed among the characters between the first and second seasons, the feeling of involvement and admiration for each person acting upon the screen remains with the viewer. To me, this season was actually better at going further in depth on Will Byer’s and Barbara’s families, especially concerning what the ordeals of the past season had caused the characters to experience and endure.

Celebrating what matters

As always, the soundtrack, cinematography, and acting talents were exceptional. If there is any fault with this new season, it would be the addition of new characters wanting to be included into the story as much as the main cast members. While I can see what the director and creators wanted to add to the show with these characters, I felt that some were unnecessary and took away time from the people you actually cared about and primarily watched the show to see.

However, even with this unwanted addition, “Stranger Things” season two is a must-see for all those who loved the first season, as well as for those who want to get in on the action.

If you fear you will not understand or enjoy “Stranger Things,” I implore you to simply watch the installment and see what comes of it. You might be surprised to find that it is your new favorite television show; it certainly surprised me. It may be majorly popular among teenagers, seem too difficult or long to get into, or may appear as if it is generally geared for those intrigued by science-fiction, but, truly, it is not.

“Stranger Things” is about more than fighting monsters, overcoming rocket science and solving a mystery. It is about saving the only things that really matter in this world, as well as family and friendship. The love that the characters show for one another, as well as the affection the person watching the program feels as he or she observes each actor perform, is what makes “Stranger Things” so enjoyable.

If you try “Stranger Things,” I hope you find the love, strength and inspiration that each character is meant to make you feel, whether they are battling the Demogorgon or telling a young girl who has been mistreated, abused and judged all of her life that she is truly beautiful.

Siena Jane Cummings is a freshman at Rocky Mountain Junior High who loves classic books and movies. Email her at [email protected]

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