Stranger Things is the latest Netflix original series that has taken the internet by storm. It’s somewhere between E.T. meets Goonies meets Goosebumps, and honestly, it’s quite fantastic. I decided to binge watch it through the course of a day when I was home alone, which meant hiding under a blanket a few times, but overall excitement. My only complaint is that I was left with so many questions unanswered, but that is to be expected from a series with only 8 episodes. Here are 10 thoughts I had watching Stranger Things for the first time, let me know if you can answer any of my questions. Because seriously, it’s killing me Smalls.
1. The 80’s were a great time for music
Beyond the perfectly chosen font, the first thing I fell in love with during my Stranger Things binge was the sound track. The perfectly chosen pop and punk tracks fit the scene, and a sincere round of applause for whomever was in charge of this. I laughed when “Africa” played during an awkward make out scene, and I shed more than a few tears when Bowie’s “Heroes” played as the body was drug from the lake. The songs of the 80’s both invoked sincere emotion and fit the mood perfectly.
2. Can we please have a new Mad Max with 11 as baby Furiosa?
Millie Brown was hands down the breakout star of this series. Her sincerity and fearlessness left me speechless. When she finally cracked and killed a hallway full of people, I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. She reminded me in many ways of Imperator Furiosa (Mad Max). While a good chunk of this definitely came from her hair cut, even more came from her rebellion and standing up for the little guys. Both characters were amazing representations of bad ass females, and we can always use more of that representation in entertainment.
3. Winona is a goddess
Speaking of strong female role models, can we just take a second to talk about Winona Ryder’s incredible performance? While I did not understand what was going on with the lights, I firmly trusted that she knew exactly what she was doing. Her hysterical rage at the disbelief of others, and the way she finally took out that wall with an axe were both representative of a mother with intense love for her child. I’ve heard people complaining that they felt she was overacting, but in my opinion, she played the mother perfectly. She was a mother bear whose cub had been taken, do not expect her to be anything but raging.
Speaking of lights, I would love it if we could get some explanation on how the lights thing happened. Or maybe I missed it and someone can fill me in. When Joyce and Jim were in the other universe, the lights seemed to go off where they were walking, but it didn’t seem they had intentional control over it. So did Will just wave his hand to turn them on? Was it psychological power? How did it happen?
5. I can haz backstory?
This brings me to my one overall complaint with this show, the lack of backstory. This is purely personal, but part of what makes horror/suspense, and really any story so great for me is understanding backstory and motivations. Stranger Things left me wondering what that thing was, an alien or a demon or just a being in another ‘verse? Why did it choose Will? Did it wake from a slumber or was it randomly sent there? I have a fierce need to understand the “why” of this show, and I was disappointed by the lack of answers. I found myself so focused on these questions that the ending was a little lack luster for me.
6. Dusty is my spirit animal
Okay on a brighter note, can we all just agree that Dusty is our collective spirit animal? I adored him from episode one, but when they were getting their supplied to go looking for Will and he brought the snacks, he solidified himself as my favorite of the boys. To further make him the “Chunk” of this ragtag group he went searching for pudding during one of the most intense scenes in the series. PUDDING. Gotta love that kid.
7. Awkward teen romance was really unnecessary here
I really hate forced romantic scenes, and I think that the awkward make out scene between Nancy and Steve was ultimately unnecessary to story and character development. I would do away with the romance entirely if it were up to me, but I can see how they wanted to use the crush Jonathan had on Nancy to get them to help each other, but wasn’t the shared experience between Nancy and Joyce of seeing the thing without a face enough to prompt that? At the end of the series, Nancy is back with Steve in spite of giving a meaningful and expensive gift to Jonathan, so wasn’t she just ultimately using him after all? And why in the world was he taking those paparazzi-esque photos of her anyway? The entire thing made me a little uncomfortable.
8. Why was the government involved?
This goes back to the desire for a backstory, but I don’t feel like we ever got a full explanation for why the government was involved. I can’t decide if the weird goo sack was something they created or found, or possibly something that was sent to earth. If it was something they created, it would explain their desire to keep it so contained. However, if it was something that was sent to us or found, it would also explain that desire in the sense of not creating mass panic about faceless creatures pulling you to another verse.
9. What is up with those slugs?
What are the slugs Will is puking up at the end? Are they baby aliens? Is he turning into an alien? Why are they so bright and green when the weird creature thing was grey and dead looking? I nearly got sick from the scene of pulling the alien tentacle out of Will’s mouth, it’s easy to believe there was some EXTENSIVE internal damage from that. Maybe they were using him as a…. *gag* egg sack? You know what, never mind, not sure I want this question answered…
10. What happened to 1-10??
SO MANY QUESTIONS! If 11 is 11, what happened to 1-10? I really hope that this is further explored in future seasons, because it’s driving me crazy. This goes back to my #8, why did the government supposedly kidnap 11? Was she born with supernatural powers or is it the result of something to do with the goo sack? Were 1-10 failed experiments or other children? Is she some sort of X-Man? I need an entire series devoted to 11 and her backstory, stat…. please and thank you.
Even with all the questions I was left with, Stranger Things was a fantastic series that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys thrillers and sci-fi television. I can’t wait to see where next season will take us, and hopefully get some questions answered.
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Shannon has a degree in Sociology and Women's Studies from the University of Northern Colorado, where she composed her award winning and nationally presented senior thesis titled "Behind the Shield and Under the Sheets: Sex and Sexuality in a Live Action Role Playing Game"
If this is not a statement of her nerdy feminism, what more could there be?
Follow her bookiness on GoodReads www.goodreads.com/novel_shenanigans
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