Bandwagons are awesome. That’s why I’m jumping on this one really hard. And late…
Honestly, if you don’t know it already, you’re obviously out of the loop, but I’m here to say that Stranger Things is one of the most brilliant pieces of scripted television entertainment I’ve seen in a very long time…since I’m re-watching Lost right now, I’m really struggling to fight the urge to compare it to that terribly-concluded saga of awesomeness.
But honestly, I’m not really here to talk about how awesome it is. Well, not directly anyway. If you haven’t heard that it’s awesome already, well, it is, but being told that won’t sell you on the series. What will sell you is turning that thing on and giving it a good watch. I was hooked from the first episode. My wife took until the second.
What I am here to talk about is WHY that show, or other shows, like Lost, are so simply amazing. I mean, Stranger Things, from the basic description, isn’t doing anything new. It proclaims itself to be an homage to action/adventure/horror films of the 80s. And it’s based in the 80s. Really, it should jus be a rather by the books B-movie.
In fact, for reference, Stephen King, after watching the series, tweeted that it felt like a Stephen King novel. Which I wholeheartedly agree with. And if you’ve ever seen a film based on a Stephen King novel…well, you know what to expect.
So why is it so amazing? Why would I feel the need to come on here and talk about it with you from more than a perspective of just how much fun and engaging of a story it is?
The answer is simple…because of the writing.
There are so many things about Stranger Things that work really really well. The central cast are almost all spectacular. Millie Bobby Brown alone makes the show worth watching, as her performance of Eleven is quite simply some of the best wordless acting I’ve ever seen. The sets are great, the costumes really put you in the middle of the 80s, the music is spot-on, and even the monster, who is a little on the goofy-looking side, never really pulls you away from the story because of it.
Nearly everything about this series is spotless in its implementation. But I wholeheartedly believe the series would have been able to skimp on all of these things and still achieved such an amazing response simply based on the writing.
Sure, as a writer, I may be a little biased. But from the first moment, they’re building toward the ending. The dialogue between the characters, and the interaction of how each piece fits into the larger puzzle, the specifics on how everything plays out in just the right way to add suspense while also continue to reveal the final story, it’s all just brilliant.
So, while everyone is focusing on those cute little kids being super awesome, or the spectacular turn Wynona Rider takes as crazed mom, or how much it just feels like something you would’ve watched in the 80s, I want to say, none of that would have mattered if it weren’t for the absolutely pitch perfect script which made the whole thing come together. Even more than that, it made the whole thing worthwhile. It made you actually care about what was going on in the Upside Down, it made you continue to question what was going on afterward, and it made you want to know more.
When an episode ends and you NEED to watch the next one, even if it’s well after your bedtime, that’s a sign that the writers have done their job exceptionally well. And if you’ve watched this show, you know that’s the case.
Have fun out there!