Show of the summer: ‘Stranger Things’

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Show of the summer: ‘Stranger Things’

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In the past few years, Netflix has been churning out a slew of top-notch original television series like “Orange is the New Black,” “Daredevil” and “House of Cards.” Their latest new show, “Stranger Things,” conquers their list as the best yet.

“Stranger Things” developed a stellar formula for the perfect TV series—the ‘80s, a strong storyline and a stellar cast filled with a crew of quirky and adventurous kids. These three elements, combined with great direction by creators the Duffer Brothers, will keep you glued to your Netflix account until 3 a.m.—when you finally finish all eight episodes.

Starting off, “Stranger Things” captures your attention by its glorious setting in the ‘80s. You immediately feel nostalgia for ‘80s films like “E.T.” and “Goonies,” classics you watched growing up. Pop culture references fill the plot, and the characters’ use of walkie-talkies and cassette tapes introduce a new generation to what life was like thirty years ago.

Combining influences from the great minds of Steven Spielberg and Stephen King, “Stranger Things’” story follows a perfect balance of horror and humor. Yes, it may be obvious by the title that the show will have a scary element, but it is not the type of scary that will traumatize you from ever wanting to be alone in the dark. The show slowly introduces the horror elements, adding more and more intensity with each episode. However, the fearful moments are not without their fair share of comedy. Quirky one-liner jokes relieve some of the horror in the best way possible—they do so without taking away the intensity needed in the scene.

The laughs and scares keep the plot rolling along perfectly. The Duffer Brothers also managed to give the show an amazing amount of mystery. Each episode gives you enough to understand the plot, but always ends with a cliffhanger, keeping you entranced in the series.

The setting and script make the show great, but what truly sets “Stranger Things” apart is the phenomenal cast. First, you are introduced to a crew of four boys, Will (Noah Schnapp), Dustin (Gaten Mattarzzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Mike (Finn Wolfhard). Reminding you why being a kid is so great, they ride their bikes and play board games, teasing each other along the way. When Will suddenly goes missing, they team up to find their friend. Their mischief leads them to a young girl, Eleven (Millie Bobbie Brown), who possesses secret powers. Only twelve-years-old, Brown’s talent goes beyond her years, as she is able to steal every scene she is in while having very limited amount of dialogue.

Winona Ryder’s portrayal of Joyce Byers, mother of the missing Will, is absolutely heart-wrenching. She refuses to give up the search for the son, even when the whole world is against her. David Harbour plays Jim Hopper, a Hans Solo-styled police chief who starts off a little rotten, but ultimately shines when he helps Joyce find her son. Compiling the rest of the lead cast are Natalie Dyer (Nancy), Charlie Heaton (Jonathan) and Joe Keery (Steve). These talented teens introduce a compelling love triangle, again giving the audience a taste of ‘80s classics like “The Breakfast Club” and “Pretty in Pink.”

The casting, tied in with a brilliant mysterious story set in one of the greatest decades, makes for a perfect Netflix hit. “Stranger Things” keeps you hooked from its eerie beginning to its cryptic ending. With a second season already confirmed for 2017,  “Stanger Things” has already become a classic hit, just like the ones that inspired its creation.