Netflix just got a little bit stranger with its new original hit, “Stranger Things.” If there is one thing Netflix knows how to do, it’s originals. With each new release comes the thrill of another well-casted, well-directed, intriguing and entertaining story. It came as no surprise that the company that produced “House of Cards,” “Orange is the New Black” and “Daredevil” released another binge-worthy show to latch onto.
The story centers on the disappearance of a local boy, Will Byers, from the small town of Hawkins, Ind., in 1983. After Will vanished without a trace, his three best friends Mike, Lucas and Dustin are left behind to piece together a puzzle. They find the first piece of the puzzle with the girl called Eleven. Eleven’s past and abilities are the key to Will’s disappearance. While the trio does their best to figure out how Eleven fits in, they lack pieces of the puzzle. Some of these pieces are found with Jonathan, Will’s older brother, and Nancy, Mike’s older sister. This intermingling storyline begins when Nancy’s best friend, Barb, goes missing after a party with Nancy’s boyfriend, Steve. Nancy and Jonathan team up to try to find out what took Will and Barb and how to stop it. The remaining pieces of this puzzle fall to Will’s mom, Joyce, and the town Sheriff, Chief Hopper. They do their best to figure out how the government plays into the disappearance of Joyce’s son and how much harm or good they can do in their search for Will.
While the Duffer brothers, Matt and Ross, are relatively new to the directing world and the Hollywood spotlight, their inexperience is hardly noticeable. The Duffer brothers, with the help of their cinematographers, Tim Ives and Tod Campbell, created the familiarity of a small town with the constant use of bikes as the main form of transportation. The wildfire-like spread of gossip aided in creating this small town where everyone knew everyone and their drama. In an ironic contrast the majority of the main characters are able to keep secrets from each other. This is exactly what made the show so delightfully paradoxical. Despite the compact town and the closeness of the characters, they managed to keep their secrets and plans to themselves.
The acting brought the story to life with formidable talent such as Winona Ryder, who played the panicked and jumpy yet determined Joyce. David Harbour played the uninterested and tragic Chief Hopper whose sense of reason was found in his search for Will and the resolution of the mystery surrounding his disappearance. Young, new talent was found in Millie Bobby Brown, who plays Eleven, who performed with such honesty and passion for her character that the role seemed only natural for her. She played the perfect scared and detached little science experiment that evolved into a little girl who longs for solid friendship and home.
The music lent itself to the nostalgia created by this show. With hits from popular eighties artists like the Clash, Peter Gabriel and Corey Hart, immersion in the world of the eighties
was an easy task.
The setting, plotline, cinematography, music and scene direction mixed to create a combination of X-Files, the Goonies and E.T. The mystery is what grabs audiences but the nostalgia, character development, plotline and constant cliffhangers are what keep fans returning. Audiences are so swept up in whether this boy will be found and with the past of characters like Chief Hopper and Eleven that the ending will come all too quickly. The eerie and ominous conclusion will leave fans waiting for season two due to be released in 2017.