This one goes up to Eleven: A Stranger Things Season 1 review

Created by: The Duffer Brothers.

Starring: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfherd, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Mattarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Matthew Modine.

NOTICE* I try to keep my reviews as spoiler-free as possible but their may be some references to plot points that may be considered mild spoilers, reader discretion is advised.

By now I’m sure you are aware of Stranger Things, the new serial sensation on Netflix, if not, what sort of parallel dimension have you been living in?! You are missing out on something amazing. Set in 1983 in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana, Stranger Things tells the story of a missing 12 year old boy, his family and friends, a mysterious girl who appears to have psychokinetic powers, the shadowy agency that stalks her and something far more sinister hiding in the shadows.

From the minds of Matt & Ross Duffer, Stranger Things is an unabashed love letter to the 1980’s, in particular the works of Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter and Stephen King. It is a show that you could spend your time playing a game of ‘spot the reference’ but this show is so much more than a pastiche to the halcyon days of coming of age cinema and horror literature, it is one of the most original, captivating and downright brilliant shows to emerge in the last few years. 

Held together by a great cast, Winona Ryder as the missing boy’s mother, conveying perfectly the helplessness, heartbreak and desperation of a parent who refuses to give up on the hope their child is still alive. David Harbour as the towns Sheriff, a depressed alcoholic, unable to get over the death of his daughter and breakdown of his marriage, determined to find some retribution in finding the missing boy. Special props has to go to the remarkable young cast, in particular Millie Bobby Brown who plays psychokinetic Eleven, she brings incredible depth to the role of the scared, damaged Eleven for one so young, she barely speaks for the whole show but when she does, she owns it, she makes you a believer. She is also suitably commanding when she goes full on bad ass with her powers. For me a big shout out has to go to Galen Mattarazzo as possibly everyone’s favourite character, Dustin. A loveable uber nerd with a lisp and an attitude who pretty much is the shows arch scene stealer.

This first season really has been a shot in the arm for genre TV. A great story, wonderful cast, the warm fuzzy feeling of nostalgia that permeates it’s very core to only leave you slightly traumatised a moment later, it is just full of win. From its Steven Speilberg amiable child actors, to its John Carpenter synth score, to it’s Steven King ‘WHAT THE F**K IS THAT?!’, you will walk away from Stranger Things a evangelical convert, one of those ‘you have to watch this’ people. You will also feel slightly on edge until they officially announce a second season which amazingly they still haven’t done. Get on it Netflix, because you have something very special on your hands.


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