A year ago, Stranger Things was that Netflix kids show that my nephews loved, and nothing more. Fast forward to today, and I love it as much as they do (I’m even secretly debating getting a Funko with one of the characters- Hopper? Eleven? is there one with Steve and the bat?).
What I love most about the show are the characters. The kids are sweet and smart and relatable and I just want to be their friend. Hopper is the coolest Dad figure. Steve and Nancy (OK, and Jonathan) are great older figures that the kids can rely on. Even the conspiracy journalist and the arcade employee are fun and quirky and I like them.
I want to go into more detail for each season, so I will. Beware of spoilers.
Season 1 of Stranger Things was a great way of introducing the characters. You can easily see the chemistry between the kids, you meet interesting, flawed people (Hopper, Joyce, Eleven) and you start rooting for them.
Eleven was a very interesting character for me at the beginning- it must be a tough role to play, a nomad and socially underdeveloped girl, so Millie Bobby Brown did a great job. I also absolutely loved her interaction with Mike, which in turn made me fall in love with him, too. Close second, in terms of favorite characters, were Hopper and Dustin. Also Steve.
Story-wise, I thought the monster aspect was revealed, explained actually, a bit too late for my liking, but I was OK with it because I was invested in the characters so much. Also, it took a long time to bring together all the main characters- if I remember correctly (I’m always done with season 2 while I write this), the kids started working with the grownups in the last or second to last episode.
In terms of craft, I really liked the direction and special effects. Sets and costumes were also great, although in most scenes I didn’t feel in an 80s movie….but then again, they weren’t contemporary either, so I guess timeless works, too.
Other random thoughts:
- Lucas kinda pissed me off- I really didn’t like the way he took matters into his own hands and disregarded the others; I was wondering, at one point, why he was part of the group in the first place;
- Barb was not as special as I thought, judging by the promos and tweets I remember from time season 1 aired. A bit underdeveloped as a character, actually
- Jonathan is….nice, I guess, but not memorable or particularly likable. I didn’t understand his part in the series until season 2.
- The walkie-talkie dynamic was hilarious and very cool; great solution to cellphones and fast communication between the characters.
I started watching season 2 of Stranger Things with my boyfriend and he quit around episode 4. He said it was too boring and that he felt the action felt too slow. Also, that the novelty and special factor of the season 1 had worn off and that it wasn’t as interested / it was kind of the same. And guess what? I don’t disagree with him completely. Some parts of the story felt forced / stretched out (the whole Upside Down- another monster threatening Hawkins storyline), whilst some were welcomed and they helped flesh out the characters (Eleven’s relationship with Hopper and her mother). Things got interesting when Steve joined Dustin in looking for Dart and Max stopped being an asshole and communicated more with Lucas.
I liked there was a clear evolution of the characters (most of them- sadly, Mike was pretty much the same). Dustin was braver and interacted with more people (hello, bromance with Steve). Eleven got out of her shell and went to find her real family. Hopper went from a lonely alcoholic to a loyal surrogate father. Nancy is no longer the sweet, shy girl, but a strong, no bullshit kind of girl.
Will Byers was a vital part of the story, yet again, but this time we actually got to see him and know him. I was very impressed with the performance of Noah Schnapp, I think he did a fantastic job portraying the fright and anxiety that one could feel going through such a traumatizing situation.
I also really liked Winona’s performance in the second season of Stranger Things. In the first one she went overboard at some times, but in this one, it’s more natural. She is a great actress and works really good with Noah Schnapp. Same positive development I noticed with Jonathan’s character, too.
As with season 1 of Stranger Things, things get interesting in the last few episodes, when the whole gang (young and old) get together. Episodes 8 and 9 were intense, nail-biting ones, and they somehow make up for the early ones.
One last thing I have to mention for this season are the cutesy teen moments that I adored. 1) Dustin being rejected by most girls and Nancy coming in to rescue him. Also telling him that out of all of Mike’s friends, he is her favorite. And 2) Mike and Eleven’s reunion look. That whole “I can’t believe you’re alive – I missed you” look was ADORABLE. I loved it.
Season 3 of Stranger Things was its strongest yet. The story went faster (introducing us to the monster and the whos very early on). The characters gelled together and felt like a team. The relationships and conflicts between them were convincing and…funny. It featured the scariest monster, since it could control almost the whole town. Overall, I loved it.
After two seasons, if you’ve reached this far into the show, you must definitely care for the characters. Lucky for us, they still are the best part of the show, at least for me.
- I cheered for Joyce and her cool vibe. No more despair and tears, just curiosity and bravery.
- I laughed at Hopper‘s problem with Mike and Eleven’s relationship (“Three inches”); also, his colorful shirt is really cool, I dig it.
- I fell in love with Robin and I can’t wait to see more of her (damn, she is splitting image of her mother, Uma Thurman….and dare I say, even hotter).
- Steve and Dustin‘s bromance is still amazing and I ship them.
- I started by disliking Erica, but by the end I saw her as part of the team, because they need her: not only for her intelligence, but also to wake them up and tell it to them straight.
- Fortunately, Will didn’t suffer as much this season, but I was sad to see him deal with the fact that they are growing up, he took it the hardest, maybe because there was no girl to make the transition….easier? more natural?
- Unfortunately, Mike and Lucas barely had anything to do, except argue about and with the girls. I still like them, especially Mike. That kid has something special.
The last episode was amazing: not only because of the big fight, but also because of the ending. I cried so hard. Is he really gone? are they really leaving the town? How will the gang be affected? I can’t wait to see what happens next.
TELL ME, did you watch Stranger Things? What do you like most about it? Who’s your favorite character? Tell me all in the comments!