Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Daredevil. What do these three shows have in common? Well, they are some of Netflix’s highest praised programs to date. Whether it’s the strong performances, comedic wit or intelligent drama, viewers have been flocking to the streaming service just to get a glimpse of what everyone’s been talking about. It’s these programs that keep viewers coming back for more, but it certainly doesn’t hurt for Netflix to try to add some more addicting programs to draw more crowds. So, it comes with great satisfaction to say that Netflix’s Stranger Things is the next quintessential streaming service show that audiences all around should binge watch.
Stranger Things is a supernatural thriller created by The Duffer Brothers. In the year of 1983, the small town of Hawkins, Indiana hasn’t seen a heinous crime befall on its citizens in over a decade. So when a young child named Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) goes missing, very few are quick to assume the worst. However, when Chief Hopper (David Harbour) finds Will’s bike abandoned in the woods, he begins to suspect that the young boy may be in greater danger than he initially imagined. With Will’s mother Joyce (Winona Ryder) holding out for a miracle, a trio of his closest friends set out to try to bring their best friend back home. Although, what they discover instead is a mysterious young girl wandering through the forest alone, who only addresses herself as “Eleven” (Millie Brown.)
The performances of this new Netflix show are all around superb and applause worthy. The character of Joyce Byers has to be one of Winona Ryder’s finest dramatic roles to date, in large part to how well she sells the heartbreak and mental instability her character is going through. In addition, praise needs to handed to David Harbour for his rendition of Chief Hopper. From his sullen moments, to discovering the reason he has such a drive to find this child alive, Harbour solidifies the character as stern, yet likable, and a large amount of screen time is thankfully provided to his police exploits, so we as the audience get to dive deeper with him.
However, the biggest surprise performance of the entire cast has to be that of Millie Brown as Eleven. She absolutely nails the mysterious, yet childlike innocence of her character, and finding out the mysteries in Eleven’s origins is what drives this season forward so well. Some of the scenarios where we discover her upbringing lead to the most heartbreaking moments throughout all the eight episodes, and even the most stone cold viewer will sympathize with the fragile, tender young girl.
With so many individual stories to follow between these groups of characters, it’s exemplary in how everyone’s perspective feels well-balanced in the plot. Enough time is divided between every individual’s journey, and how every one of them is playing a role in finding young Will. And toward the season’s climactic episodes, they all neatly join together and face an evil force that has descended upon their small town. As a result, when the sinister scenes come from around the corner, you’re bound to feel a sense of dread in the uncertainty of who might live and who might die. But fear not, for every time there’s a nail-biting segment, there’s a good balance of light-hearted humor or youngster escapades to ease the tension without the story breaking its hold over you.
Everything about Stranger Things feels so perfectly 80s’. With its themes of adventure and mystery, this supernatural sensation hearkens back to beloved 80s’ films like E.T or The Goonies, and anyone who’s been missing the magic of youngster escapades will undoubtedly find it here. Even if that’s not what you’re looking for in a Netflix program, there’s still a great mystique worth exploring alongside the missing child narrative. With such a plethora of exceptional performances, and a mystery that grabs hold of you from beginning to end, Stranger Things is easily one of Netflix’s most outstanding originals to date.