Stranger Things

  • First episode date: July 15, 2016 (USA)
  • Writers: Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer, Jessie Nickson-Lopez, Justin Doble, Kate Trefry, Paul Dichter, Jessica Mecklenburg
  • Budget: $270 million (season 4)
  • Genre: Science fiction; Horror; Mystery; Drama
  • Original network: Netflix

Stepping into the 80s Via Stranger Things - A Reflective Critique

Journey with us into the enigmatic world of Hawkins, Indiana, a quaint town that peels back to reveal a horde of chilling mysteries rampant with covert undertakings and links to a realm far from the ordinary. Welcome to the labyrinthine universe of Netflix's popular series.

Stranger Things throws us back into the pulsating heartbeat of the 1980s, a time of iconic fashion, relentless music, and the brand-new craze of handheld communication. The series skillfully embodies this era, with the Duffer Brothers, Matt, and Ross, guiding us through this roller-coaster journey. The series subtly nods to the lasting imprints of impressive influences such as Stephen King and Steven Spielberg.

Within this episodic narrative exists an entity as terrifying as it is fascinating. The notorious Upside Down lures the unsuspecting with deceptive curiosity, enveloping them in its unnerving clutches. Humans and ominous monsters cohabitate across the parallel realities, skillfully combining elements of horror and science fiction that uncannily intertwine, spiraling Stranger Things into an electrifying frenzy.

The Unyielding Spirit of the Young

The riveting narrative of Stranger Things centers on its youthful protagonists. They emerge as courageous, astute, and tenacious characters. Their authentic portrayal, coupled with their relatable motivations, creates a portrayal that is both powerful and equally relatable, especially to young audiences. The themes of friendship and youthful determination juxtapose the darker aspects of the narrative, casting a positive light on their gritty world.

Coupled with moments of blooming love and the trials of teenage romance, the series provides an occasional respite from an otherwise suspenseful plotline. Relationships are crafted with a tinge of realistic complexities, from Mike and Eleven's growing interest in each other to the complicated dynamics between Nancy and Jonathan.

As we approach the fourth season, we are left questioning if the storyline is progressing or merely repackaging past successes. The season’s scope undeniably expands, but do the character arcs, plot development, and original concepts follow?

Reminiscing vs Repetition

Season 4 of Stranger Things falls prey to an undesirable pitfall of predictability. Famous elements and concepts from previous seasons seem obligatory rather than serendipitous. Tactics that were once pioneering now fall flat due to constant overuse. The narrative structure's looping tendencies and reliance on the past raise questions regarding the show's innovative spark.

In a daring move, we see strategic character separations. Eleven leaves her familiar surroundings of Hawkins for California. While providing new territory for character development, this change dilutes the robust dynamics displayed in prior seasons. This shift inevitably gives rise to monotone subplots, taking away from the previously well-balanced blend of teenage narrative and sci-fi intrigue.

While suggesting a much-awaited reunion, the journey there is prolonged unnecessarily with extended episodes filled with uninspiring drama, cliché-action and routine horror sequences.

A Fresh Coat of Paint or Treading Old Ground?

Stranger Things' strength lies in its young and vibrant cast, who, over the years, have honed their acting skills. The development is, however, inconsistent. Gaten Matarazzo, Sadie Sink, Millie Bobby Brown, and Priah Ferguson continue to dominate the screen while others grapple with evolving character arcs. Newcomers such as Eduardo Franco and Joseph Quinn infuse refreshing overtones to the otherwise repetitious characters.

The Duffer Brothers have attempted to transition from their initial Spielberg-inspired approach to a De Palma and Cronenberg-inspired style. While it brings a new take, it also eclipses what fans originally rallied around – the Duffer's distinct narrative voice.

To Conclude

Stranger Things escorts viewers through a tumultuous journey with its unpredictable plot twists, shocking revelations, and nail-biting suspense. It dilates the boundaries of a fantastical collision of horror and science fiction centered around a simple, small town. Weaved with threads of budding love, childhood friendships, the care of parental figures, and an undying tinge of 80s nostalgia, Stranger Things becomes an intricately knitted tale. It magnifies the beauty, the strength, and the chaos of the human spirit.