I love the ’80s. Sure it’s been a few decades since I lived in it, but what’s not to love?
Trapper Keepers. The Bangles. Dungeons & Dragons. And of course, there was Winona Ryder.
Funny thing, though. I just saw all of those things on Netflix’s newest original hit series Stranger Things. Yeah, this incredibly spookerific new series, created by the Duffer Brothers, is set in the bestest decade ever: The ’80s.
The best way to describe Stranger Things is this: Imagine if Stephen Spielberg had created the X-Files with J.J. Abrams back in the mid 1980s. Yeah, there’s kids on bikes. Weird alien-like creatures. Big bad adults and well-meaning but confused adults that take awhile to come around. It’s all there and it’s all magically delicious.
Set in 1983 Indiana, a small town named Hawkins turns upside-down when a young boy vanishes into thin air. When his friends, family and even the local police dig around for answers, they are drawn into an extraordinary mystery that’s equal parts horrifying and spectacular.
Toss in a top-secret government organization, crazy mind-altering experiments and a powerful little girl, and you’ve got yourself a surefire hit.
I don’t want to give too much away about the series, but it’s one of the few Netflix shows that my wife and I have literally binged over a weekend. Usually, we’ll try to spread things out over a week or two at least. With Stranger Things, we just had to see what was coming next, which led to another episode and another and then, well, then we just had to see how it’d end.
With only eight episodes in the first (of hopefully many) seasons, Stranger Things flows from beginning to end like an extended movie. And unlike the giant tease of a show called X-Files, you’re guaranteed to get lots of answers to your no-doubt many questions.
While it’s great to see Winona back on the screen (and she does a fabulous job of playing a completely frazzled single mom), it’s really the kids that steal the show. So many times I was reminded of the kids from E.T., The Goonies or Stand by Me. They’re just a bunch of good-natured, goofy boys embarking on a ginormous adventure.
Even El, the mysterious girl who changes everything, is played to perfection by Millie Brown. With just a few words and a tremendous amount of expression, Brown sucks you right in to El’s world, just begging for your help. The other kids look and act just like you’d imagine a group of four best friends from the 1980s would act. They’re geeky, love Dungeons & Dragons and insult each other as only boys can do.
I haven’t been this pumped for a non-comic book show in quite some time. And like everything else on Netflix, now that we’ve blown through season 1 of Stranger Things, we’re left angry that we need to wait until next year for another serving.
What’s your favorite ’80s movie?