Netflix has done it again. Seemingly out of nowhere another fab show has been given to us by the television gods, and as Netflix shows have a reputation to do... it has us hooked. Well, it has Jesse and I hooked anyway. The thing Netflix does so cleverly is to release series all at once, allowing viewers to watch at their own pace. As anyone who has ever been keen on a show will know, it’s pretty damn hard to switch off something you enjoy; the only reason we ever do is because we are up to date and have to wait for the next instalment. Herein lies the genius of Netflix, and herein lies the cause of my sleep depravity for the last few nights.
What looks like Netflix’s next big hit, 'Stranger Things' dropped last weekend, to very little publicity (that I saw), but it wasn’t long before it had people talking. I heard about it during a book-club session on Wednesday (we get off topic a lot) and I haven’t looked back since.
The premise is this: When a young boy, Will, disappears in small town Hawkins, his mother, a sheriff, and his friends must confront terrifying forces in order to get him back. Those forces involve a mostly-unseen dark scary creature, some sort of parallel universe, mind control, and a frightening government group conducting all sorts of hella weird experiments. It's a little bit sci-fi, a little bit horror, a little bit sleepy-town drama.
I know, I know, it sounds weird, but it’s actually quite brilliant. The performances – including those of the young kids who are the central focus of the show – are fantastic. The story is phenomenally written, to the point the plot keeps right on thickening just when you think it can’t possibly get any thicker. It’s a unique concept and feels original which, in a time of endless remakes, sequels, prequels and god knows what else (Fast &Furious 10 Vin Diesel... REALLY?!), it is a breath of fresh air.
Despite said originality, the whole show is an ode to film-making of the 1980s - it’s set in 1983, and comes fully equipped with the dramatic electronic music throughout and it’s fan-bloody-tastic. It makes me nostalgic for a time I never lived in. How?
1. Winona Ryder
Everyone’s favourite screen icon of the 80s/90s is back! After a quiet few years (with the exception of her bone-chilling performance in Black Swan) Winona is now gracing our screens once more, this time as mother of missing Will, and the only character who seems to realise he's not dead... he's just not here (oooh).
2. The 'Stranger Things' poster is every 80s film poster, ever.
Why did the industry ever stop doing illustrated movie posters? The sketch look is everything. I still think A-Ha’s iconic music video for ‘Take On Me' is one of the best things of all time. Thank you 'Stranger Things' for your poster! In ode to the cream of the crop of these glorious 80s posters, check out my gallery below.
3. Let the credits roll
The opening sequence to this show looks, feels and sounds like something directly from a Steven King adaptation film circa 1985, and I love it. The music heard in the credit (watch them below) is typical of the music that plays throughout the episodes, as well as all the 80s classic we love - think Toto's Africa. Hells yes.
4. You look an awful lot like...
Will's big brother, and one of the central characters, is played by Charlie Heaton, a formerly little-known British actor who happens to have a striking resemblance to everyone’s favourite 80s heartthrob, River Phoenix.
I know it may sounds like a strange premise for a show, but TRUST ME, it’s one worth watching. Just give it a go... at least watch the trailer below. It’s sitting there waiting on Netflix, and if you like it, you can watch the whole thing at once. It’ll only take you 8 hours...