Should I Watch 'Stranger Things'? From The '80s Nostalgia To Barb, This Show Is A Must-See
For those who have had it up to here with the 2016 election cycle and have been twiddling their thumbs waiting for the Fall TV season, there has been one bright spot could turn to during the dog days of summer for some blessed relief: Netflix's Stranger Things , the awesome new original series that came out of nowhere this July and has had the internet buzzing ever since. Of course, as much as it may seem at times like everyone and their mother has already marathoned all of Season 1, I'm sure there are people out there who haven't had the pleasure yet; heck, I'm sure some of those uninitiated folks are reading this right now. If you're one of the few who hasn't had the pleasure, let me outline the reasons you should watch Stranger Things .
As terrific as Stranger Things is, there are plenty of legitimate reasons for not having watched it yet. Perhaps you've been working a lot this summer, or you've been busy catching up on some of your other favorite shows, or you've been traveling or studying or simply don't have Netflix. But if you haven't watched it yet because you don't think a show about a group of kids and a mysterious monster sounds interesting, I'm here to dispel you of that ill-conceived notion. Here are 11 reasons you should definitely get out of your isolation tank and start streaming Stranger Things ASAP:
1. Everybody Else Is Doing It
I'm not normally one to advocate peer pressure, but in this case your peers are right. Do you really want to be the only one not cracking jokes about Dustin or not understanding references to Hawkins Radio Club or not dressing up as Eleven for Halloween or not fighting for justice for poor, neglected Barb? At this point, Stranger Things is practically Summer 2016's Harry Potter; everybody knows it and you're totally missing out if you don't.
2. It's Only Eight Episodes
At only eight hours in length, Stranger Things is the perfect size for a weekend marathon. It's not a huge commitment — which means your eyeballs won't be bleeding by the time you're done, and you also won't have to wait an inordinately long time to learn the answers to such mysteries as, "Where did Will go?", "What's the Upside Down?", and "What is the monster, anyway?"
3. The Nostalgia
With everything going on in the world these days, how can we help but feel sentimental for a different, simpler time? Whether you personally remember the '80s from growing up during them, or whether your knowledge of the decade is informed by movies and pop culture references, Stranger Things is positively steeped in nostalgia for the bygone era. The fashion, the technology, the lingo, the unfortunate haircuts and even more unfortunate mom jeans… The attention to detail here is incredible.
4. The Homages
Apart from general '80s nostalgia, Stranger Things also contains countless references to many of our collective favorite childhood movies, including E.T., The Goonies, Stand By Me, Star Wars, and more. These aren't gimmicky throwbacks that cheapen the story, by the way; these are loving homages that make the experience of watching it just that much richer.
5. The Soundtrack
The synth-heavy Stranger Things soundtrack strikes the perfect balance between period-appropriate and creepy af. I still get chills listening to the throbbing beat under the show's iconic title sequence every time. And beyond the original compositions, the show's use of classic music from the time period is also spot-on: Jefferson Airplane, The Clash, Modern English, and Foreigner are just a few of the bands you'll hear used over the course of the season.
6. The Mystery
Of course, Stranger Things isn't just a feel-good show about growing up in the 1980s; it's also a terrifying tale of monsters, government conspiracies, telekinetic young girls, and parallel universes. Part of the fun of watching is coming up with your own theories about what it all means and where it's going to go next. Oh, and that monster I mentioned? Yeah, it's pretty darn terrifying. Imagine if Slender Man and the shark from Jaws had an even more blood-thirsty baby.
7. The Humor
But Stranger Things isn't just a scary horror show, either; there's plenty of humor to help break the tension. In a summer where most of our blockbusters seemed to meet end-of-the-world scenarios with little to no humor (Independence Day: Resurgence, X-Men: Apocalypse, Suicide Squad), it's a relief to see a sci-fi series that doesn't take itself too seriously. Whether it's Barb's exasperated eyerolls, Dustin's goofy charm, or Eleven's incomprehensible love of frozen Eggos, there's plenty of stuff here to make you chuckle — between screams of terror.
8. The Kids
You'd be forgiven if you're hesitating because Stranger Things is a show that revolves around children. Casting young actors is often a challenge. What if they're too cloying or too wooden or too cute? Well, fear no more: the casting director for this show deserves a medal because the child actors in Stranger Things are uniformly excellent. Not only are they great actors, but they have great chemistry with each other, they're quirky, they're smart without being precocious, and they carry just as much of the show just as capably as their more experienced co-stars.
9. Winona Ryder
Speaking of more experienced co-stars… Stranger Things should be lauded just for bringing Winona Ryder back to our TV screens. Her mere presence on the show is the biggest '80s throwback of them all, instantly conjuring memories of such beloved films as Beetlejuice, Heathers, and Edward Scissorhands. Her screen presence has been somewhat limited lately, appearing in a handful of small roles in the likes of Star Trek, Black Swan, and the HBO miniseries Show Me A Hero. Forget the McConaissance — this is the comeback we didn't know we needed until Netflix so kindly served it to us on a silver platter.
But let's be real: the one real reason you should be watching Stranger Things is for the glory of watching Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven (aka Elle) aka the most awesome protagonist introduced onscreen this year. The pint-sized badass absolutely owns the series, stealing the show from everyone around her while barely even speaking. All she needs is her remarkably expressive face — and her handy telekinetic powers, natch — to instantly craft one of the most memorable characters in recent memory.
Still not convinced? Just turn on the first episode and give it a try. I guarantee you that you'll be hooked within five minutes… maybe less. Then, eight hours later, you can join the rest of us who are waiting in agony for more Stranger Things. Welcome to the club.
Images: Curtis Baker/Netflix; Giphy (11)