My 13yo son, the Budding Spielberg, recently put me onto the new Netflix series, Stranger Things. With Droughtlander in full swing, the Olympics leeching all the good TV shows from our screens for a couple of weeks at least, and the US Fall programming still a month away at least, I thought I’d give it a try. I absolutely loved it, and down there vv are my ten reasons why (in no particular order).
If you haven’t watched it, proceed with caution as spoilers await ye. Head straight to Netflix, do not pass go, do not collect any cash. Then head back to check it out!
1. THE FASHIONS
I was 20 in 1983 when the show was set and every outfit from the high-waisted crotch-squeezing jeans to the long skirts, cream tights, frilly blouses and sweaters were shudderingly familiar. I think I had these glasses. (Don’t tell anyone.)
2. THE HAIR
Winona’s almost-mullet, Mike and Nancy’s Mother’s classic flip and Barb’s Lady Di-inspired do were all spectacularly outshone by Steve’s gravity defying coiffure. I was mesermised the whole time it was on a screen. I kept wanting to spit on my hand and flatten it down….
3. THE MUSIC
The soundtrack is awesome – the music on the radio, in the background– I am right back in my green Chrysler, windows wound down, my favourite mixtape in the tapedeck blaring in state-of-the-art Stereo! But the throbbing synthesized theme music is pure genius. I’d look up, surprised I was still in 2016….. Sit back and chill out to The Clash, Jefferson Airplane and Toto on the Stranger Things playlist:
4. THE TITLE FONTS
The creators used an old Stephen King novel mock up cover to choose their font and it works! This is exactly the sort of thing I would have read back then, and is reminiscent of movies and TV of the day.
Before her sticky fingers and blurry CCTV shoplifting videos, Winona was a quirky young actress and star of some of my favourite flicks – Beetlejuice (1988), Heathers (1990), Mermaids (1990), Edward Scissorhands (1991). Along with Matthew Modine, himself a popular face of the 80s and 90s, she adds retro cred to the show all on her own.
6. THIS SCENE
Come on. Anyone who’s seen the Rob Reiner/Stephen King classic Stand By Me (1987) had to have jumped up and down a little when they saw this. Go Duffer Brothers!
7. THIS AWESOME KID
As a Stephen King fan, the character of Eleven met all my geeky horror supernatural requirements. Awesomely played by 14 year old Millie Bobby Brown, whose three year acting career has been jam-packed with great performances, she owes a lot to her ancestors – Drew Barrymore in Firestarter, Sissy Spacek in Carrie. In fact, all the kids are fantastic, so much so that apparently the characters were created around them.
8. THIS POSTER
Oh yeah, I’m seeing the Star Wars comparisons here and I love it!
9. THE ACROBAT AND THE FLEA
Most awesome explanation of an alternate reality. As I am writing a novel with an parallel universe as we speak, I had a little bit of a nerdgasm. And I just found out that I can get this on a t-shirt so as soon as I have finished this I’m going online shopping!
10. THE DUFFER BROTHERS
I love a success story and these guys were the AV nerds at school and now they are just super cool. Even Stephen King is a fan, and when he tweeted how much he loved the show, they almost cried! It was knocked back by 15-20 networks before they made a deal with Netflix. So there’s hope for everyone if they keep trying, even my little Speilberg.
I could add heaps more to this – Kids on Bikes (I mean who doesn’t like a movie about kids on bikes? ET, The Goonies, Earth to Echo), the seriously most epic monster (already spawning spectacular fan art much to the Duffer Brothers’ delight!), the wall phone (ours was powder blue), the scene with little Holly at the wall, the wall/xmas lights ouija board…..
So if you’re looking for some stellar entertainment and you have eight hours to spare, sit down with the family and enjoy Stranger Things, now streaming on Netflix.