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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Review: Stranger Things


I kept hearing about a TV series called Stranger Things over and over. It seemed as if everyone was talking about it and the overwhelming majority didn't just like the show, they thought it was awesome! It also sounded like something right up my alley and I caved in and joined Netflix so I could see it.

Basically, it has a paranormal premise. A young boy goes missing and there are dark and scary things on the loose.

Episode one was...okay. Not good, not bad, just okay. IMO. But sometimes shows take a little while to get rolling. I'd give it another shot.

It took me a few weeks to carve out time to watch again. Unlike the first time, I wasn't feeling excited about it and I didn't make it a priority. Finally, though, I managed to watch episodes 2 and 3. And I am still feeling meh about the show. I had to think about why since this should be something I liked and I'm not sure I have all the answers, but I have some suspicions.

The big thing is that I don't feel really invested in any of the characters. I don't feel like I really know them. Sure, I have facts about them, but that's not the same thing. I feel very distant from them and that makes it difficult to care.

Of all the characters, the three boys who are looking for their friend are the most interesting and I didn't expect to relate to them. When they're on screen, it's more interesting to me, but they're not on screen often enough.

I also really like the sheriff--he's smart and suspicious--and I like the missing boy's older brother, although in episode one, I didn't because of his carelessness.

There are characters I don't much like, too. Most of the rest of the cast. Winona Ryder's character, the boy's mom, is weird. She believes her son is communicating with her through the lights. Okay, so he is, but she buys into it like immediately without any skepticism at all. WTF? No matter how distraught someone is, I find it difficult to believe they'd leap at blinking Christmas lights the way she did. I'd have no problem if it took her an episode or two to believe it, but immediately? No.

I also hate the teenage girl who's younger brother is one of the friends. She is totally TSTL (Too Stupid To Live) and the worst thing about her is her stupidity got her friend killed. I know teenagers are not known for their good judgment, but her actions are not motivated well enough to make me like her despite her idiocy. It's too bad the monster/alien/whatever didn't kill her instead.

To get away from the characters, the show's lighting is also dark. I know, it's a dark show and a lot of it happens at night. I also know that a lot of TV shows have dark lighting now, but honestly, I find it annoying. Brighten it up a little bit.

And I'm not sure why else I'm so meh on Stranger Things. It feels as if there should be more reasons than this, but I can't come up with them. Although--for me--the weak characterization alone is a big thing. I want to know and love the major characters.

What I liked about the show? The sheriff and the fact that he's not stupid. It's set in a small town, so it would have been easy to do that to him. I also like the music! Hey, 80s music is the best music. It was also kind of cool to see the old phones and period cars and stuff.

So I don't like the show, but I don't really dislike it either and that makes it hard to know what to do. Do I keep watching it, just to see if it improves? Or do I write it off and watch something else?

I guess I give this 2.5 stars which is exactly half of the 5 star scale and befitting a meh show.