“Stranger Things” review

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File photo

On July 15, Netflix released the first season of its new hit show “Stranger Things.” Created by Matt and Ross Duffer, two brothers just beginning their directing career, the show consists of eight episodes, each roughly forty-five minutes in length, and has recently been renewed for a second season. “Stranger Things” is a uniquely made throwback to the eighties, and is one of the best projects that Netflix has ever produced.

Capturing the essence of a Stephen King novel, the show takes place in a small suburban town in 1980s America and follows several characters trying to cope with the mysterious disappearance of a 12-year-old boy named Will. Will’s mother Joyce (Winona Ryder) begins to experience supernatural encounters, so, believing it’s Will calling out to her, she teams up with the town’s sheriff Jim Hopper (David Harbor) in an effort to bring him back. Meanwhile, Will’s three friends stumble upon a mysterious girl who calls herself ‘Eleven,’ and while she has little memory of where she comes from, she holds clues to where Will might be.

One of the most remarkable features “Stranger Things” has is its clear love for the eighties. The show is written and filmed in such a way that makes it feel like it’s released around the same time as “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” or “The Goonies.” The kids play Dungeons and Dragons. They watch “He-Man” on their vintage TV set. Even the opening score was designed to have a John Carpenter-like feel.

“Stranger Things” also boasts an impressive and talented cast. Much of the show is lead by children, a risky move by the Duffer Brothers as children typically don’t serve as the best actors in modern cinema. Yet all of the children perform brilliantly, like stand out 12-year-old Millie Bobby Brown, who plays Eleven. Winona Ryder also does a great job in her first leading role in nearly a decade, and David Harbor gives one of the best performances of his career thus far.

The show borrows certain themes from J.J. Abrams’ 2011 film “Super 8,” a few horror elements from the “Insidious” films and an overall Spielberg-like quality towards it. Blending (and in some cases, improving on) these films, “Stranger Things” creates a new landmark in television. Being an immensely satisfying and enjoyable watch, the only downside to “Stranger Things” is that we have to wait until next July to see more.