Stranger Things (2016) IMDb


Seen in 2019.

This review refers to the first season only.


David Harbour as Jim Hopper is the best thing about it. The pubertal 1980s nostalgia is well played and I appreciate the production values, but the boys’ metafictive comments on their first-season-finale D&D game as an allegory of the show is more striking than its self-deprecating presentation lets on. The show is indeed like Mike’s campaign: Mostly nonsense.

Eleven and Brenner are pale copies of the numbered kids and the Colonel in Akira (1988). Brenner is particularly poorly played and underexplored as the generic government-conspiracy villain and dark father figure. The monster is just a more anthropomorphic nightmare-horror version of Alien (1979), complete with the same mysterious and implausible life cycle. Its ephemerality is not used intelligently: It seems designed only to allow the directors to waste time presenting Joyce as behaving irrationally in other peoples’ eyes, but this strand of the narrative goes nowhere: Her social and economic standing play no part in the denouement. The human consequences just aren’t there and the writers pick conspiracy theory over worldbuilding, forcing society to remain ignorant and stagnant. It’s thin, but it’s entertaining enough.

fiction moving picture series