The entire reason I subscribed to Netflix just a little over a year ago was because of my overwhelming desire to watch a little show called Stranger Things.
As a massive H.P. Lovecraft fan, something about the weirdness and the elements of cosmic horror greatly attracted me to the series. Needless to say, it was the best money I've ever spent. Stranger Things season 1 was everything I wanted out of a show of this sort and more!
Now, with season 2 having dropped, I can safely say this is now going onto my list of my all time favorite television series. It's dark, but funny. The cast of young actors is phenomenal, as are the adults. But who are we kidding? These kids are the real stars of the show.
It's kind of hard to talk about this series if you haven't seen it. It's not like anything that's ever been seen on television before. That's what makes it so enticing. The fact that it's phenomenally done (to use the word twice already) just shows how much love the Duffer Bros. have for their story and characters.
Season 2 kicks off approximately a year after the first series events. This time the Upsidedown, the mysterious alternate dimension of twisted monsters and evil is encroaching upon the small town of Hawkins Indiana, and infesting it with a new kind of evil.
Unlike the first season which mainly involved the search for Mike, the discover of Eleven, and a group of kids trying to figure out what was happening, season two seems well established in its set up. The back story of the Upsidedown is already established, and we get a more cerebral threat this time around. Something you might even call a villain, even if it's kind of vague and nebulous.
That's what I really liked about this season. It had an overarching threat that could threaten the safety of the world. Not just a stand-alone monster running loose in the town. But, like the first season, the weirdness and the horror is perfectly balanced between excellent drama and comedic moments--most of them coming from the superb case of young child actors--who have grown considerably but are still, most definitely, children.
And that's another reason I love this series. The children, and their personal stories are handled with such authenticity and love. The Duffer Bros. and their writing team really do understand children. As someone who has taught English to children of all ages for the past 14 years, I can honestly say that this is one of the best and most realistic portrayals of young people I've seen in television. And it gives Stranger Things a dynamic most other shows don't have--without ever skimping on the adult drama or horrific scares.
If I had to pick which season I liked better, I honestly couldn't tell you. They are equal in terms of storytelling and quality. In terms of imagination and fun. In terms of epicness and rewatchability. They also seamlessly mesh together whereas--although time has passed--it doesn't seem like anyone has missed a beat. Even the writers addressed the much lobbed criticism of the first season in that every character constantly lied. This time, however, they went through great pains to show how the lies ruined lives and much of season 2's storytelling revolves around the characters addressing the lies and trying to find the truth in the middle of all the chaos.
Oh, I could go on and on about this amazing series. If you haven't seen it, you may want to give that trial subscription to Netflix a try just to watch Stranger Things 1 & 2. I can promise you, it will be well worth your time.
And speaking of things well worth your time, my new collection of short stories Dark Forces of Nature is out now!
The first volume will be on SALE for $0.99 up through October 31st. After Halloween, it will go back up to its regular price. You can check it out here (although I will talk more about it below):
DARK FORCES OF NATURE: VOL. 1
Also, note, if you enjoy the short stories in Vol. 1, you may wish to pre-order Vol 2. The pre-order is live.
DARK FORCES OF NATURE: VOL. 2
I shouldn't forget to mention that Vol. 2's pre-order price will remain $0.99 all the way till November 16th, when it will be released.