‘Stranger Things’ doesn’t live up to the hype, but it’s still very good

By Sean Kranske, Contributing Writer

Netflix has created hit original shows in the past, such as Orange is the New Black and House of Cards. With these series being the main attraction for many Netflix subscribers, it was only a matter of time before the streaming service released another notable series. Netflix’s newest series, Stranger Things, may not be perfect, but it is definitely enjoyable and shows great potential for future seasons.

Stranger Things takes place in the mid-80s in a small town where a young boy named Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) goes missing. The cause of his disappearance is a mystery to everybody including his mother (Winona Ryder), his friends, and local law enforcement.

As Will’s friends search for him in the woods, they come across another missing child; a little girl with telekinetic powers named Eleven. Stranger Things might not have the most groundbreaking story, but it is consistently intriguing throughout all eight episodes.

The story is told from the perspective of multiple characters, who are all interesting and well-rounded. Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers and David Harbour as Jim Hopper give stand-out performances as well, creating some of the more memorable parts of the show. Each of the main protagonists has their own personality and problems, leading to interesting dialogue and intriguing story developments.

The 1980’s setting greatly improves the atmosphere of the show, but sometimes it feels like Stranger Things relies too heavily on 80’s nostalgia, often shoehorning in pop-culture references where they don’t belong. The references feel like a well-meant homage in the early episodes, but they never let up. By the time viewers make it to the fifth episode, and there’s no sign of the references dropping, they become distracting at best and irritating at worst.

The pop-culture references aren’t the only thing this show falters with, however. With a title like Stranger Things, there’s a surprising lack of new ideas.

Any fan of horror films, novels, or urban legends will not see anything that has not been seen before. If a person were to take Carrie, Insidious, and Slenderman and put them into a blender, the result would be Stranger Things.

Despite its flaws, Stranger Things manages to be a very entertaining series that does not overstay its welcome. The eight episodes are all satisfying, and the quality remains consistent throughout.