(This article contains spoilers. Obviously.)
Show: Stranger Things 2
Rating: 4/5 stars
Available on: Netflix (2 seasons, 17 episodes)
What we thought:
Is it possible that the second season of a show can be even better than the first? Because Stranger Things is proving it is! After all the strange things that went down in the town of Hawkins last year, everyone is still feeling the ramifications.
Y'all, please be warned there will be spoilers for season 2 of Stranger Things so turn around right now if you want no part of these crazy shenanigans.
It's been a year since Will Byers went missing and the U.S. Department of Energy almost destroyed families with their tomfoolery. And while everyone is trying to live a normal life they are all still very much dealing with what happened.
What I love about this show is it's so cinematic, but it's still so rooted in its characters. And despite how huge and crazy the story gets, it's all about these kids and how much of a family they are.
Coming up on the one year anniversary, Will is starting to have visions of the Upside Down, Mike is still holding out for Eleven, Joyce Byers is the textbook example of a Helicopter Mom, Nancy and Steve are feeling guilty about Barb as her parents are still looking for her and Chief Hopper has essentially adopted Eleven.
It's not that big of a surprise that Eleven would be back so I really wanted her comeback story to be especially clever. Instead she just used her telekinesis to blast her way out of the Upside Down and back into this world. Disappointingly simple but I'm glad we've got home girl back.
The most endearing part of all of this is the relationship between Chief Hopper and Eleven. This was so unexpected and I was so happy for them before everything went to hell in the form of a (very understandable) psychic temper tantrum. Girl had hectic cabin fever and couldn't understand her new dad's fear of losing her.
And on the parental front, I totally get where Joyce Byers is coming from. She's the most extreme form of a helicopter parent that ever was but what I love most about her is that she without a doubt immediately believes her son's brand of crazy.
While we're talking about Will, can somebody please give Noah Schnapp ALL the awards. All of them. Even if he's not nominated for them, give them to him. He is so great at portraying that fear and all I wanted to do was wrap him up in my arms and tell him that I would fix it all. How much more can this poor boy possibly handle?
The casting on this show is spot on. How do all these kids look like they actually belong to the adults? And their acting skills are excellent. You can feel every emotion they throw at you. From love and loyalty to angst, heartbreak and fear they're so amazing.
And speaking of fear, what in holy heck is up with Dustin's love for that gross and creepy polliwog thing that he found in his trash can. After what you guys went through last year, how is your immediate reaction not to set it on fire? Mike knows what I'm talking about. You deserve to have your cat eaten Dustin because that turned out to be a demogorgon! Those scenes still make my skin crawl just thinking about it.
Dustin ropes Steve in to sort out his demogorgon mess and it's fantastic! I love Dustin's confidence and how Steve has no choice but to go along with him. Poor Steve, though. I feel bad for the guy. Yes, he's still slightly douchey but he's not the worst like he was last year. He willingly helps the kids with their supernatural problems, gives Dustin advice on girls and tells him his hair secrets. Steve is the real MVP of this season.
New kid, Billy though is trash and can someone please dump him in the garbage? His step-sister and the newest group member, Max has a healthy dose of fear of this lunatic but is still the best thing since sliced bread as far as Lucas and Dustin are concerned. She beat all their high scores at the video arcade, skateboards and just recently transferred from California, what's not to love?
But Mike is not too happy about this arrangement because he thinks they're replacing Eleven. He's very annoying about this but it's understandable. Eleven's story is so disconnected from what's happening with the boys as she's on her own journey of discovery. She spends 8 out of 9 episodes away from them and I would've liked her to be reunited with the boys a lot sooner. Mike and Eleven are the cutest and it would've been nice to see them together for longer.
This season was fantastic though and practically perfect. I was so entertained from start to finish and the only reason I would stop watching was so that my children wouldn't have nightmares. Each episode was well crafted, the terror was palpable, and the soundtrack was nostalgic. While I do want a season 3, I also want these kids to catch a break and have happy, boring lives.
(Photos: Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix)