caleb mclaughlin, david harbour, duffer brothers, dustin henderson, eleven, finn wolfhard, gaten matarazzo, jim hopper, joe keery, joyce byers, lucas sinclair, mike wheeler, millie bobby brown, nancy wheeler, natalia dyer, noah schnapp, paul reiser, sean astin, steve harrington, stranger things, stranger things 2, will byers, winona ryder
Hell yeah. The Duffer brothers knocked it out of the park again, at least for me.
Let me preface this by stating I’m a nerd born in 1973. I played the same games, watched the same movies and rode BMX bikes like the main characters.
So I was more than a little excited for Stranger Things S2.
I devoured it, binge watching it as much as the need for sleep and work allowed. I wasn’t disappointed.
If you haven’t watched season 1, stop reading and go watch it. I’ll try not to spoil season 2, but season one is fair game.
Stranger Things S2 picks up almost a year after Will’s rescue and the final defeat of the Demogorgon.
The boys are all back together, Steve and Nancy are still dating, and Joyce is splitting her time between work, fussing over Will and a new squeeze, played by Sean Astin.
Will is super messed up, seeing into the Upside Down as revealed in the finale of season one.
Mike is angry, missing Eleven. Dustin is showing off his new teeth and Lucas is his normal grounded self. Hopper has a secret.
And the Upside Down has not been idle.
Stranger Things S2 manages to build upon the characters, themes and mythology of the first season and build it into a bigger and more expansive story.
We see outside of the small Indiana town, the threat is larger, new characters are introduced, and we explore the backstories of some of the more interesting characters.
This season seems to pick up on the action side of things more than the first. The best analogy I can come up with is the change between Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986); the suspense is there, but the threat, and the response, is larger.
How can I review this show without talking about the one thing that made me squeal with joy throughout the first season…nostalgia? Man, I was in 80’s geek heaven with all the Easter eggs and references.
Ghostbusters, Aliens, Dragons Lair and DigDug.
IMDb has a list of 51 Easter Eggs referring to classic 80s films and games, and they probably missed more.
As I said at the start, I’m pretty much the same age as the ‘party’, so this was gold to me. Paul Reiser’s inclusion really gave me echoes of Aliens, especially in one particular scene.
Yet the Duffer brothers have managed to do it in a way that is not cheesy or gratuitous.
The pacing on the show was great, the characters developed well and the action was well done.
The acting is strong again, and we see some really fantastic performances.
As usual, the CGI is on point, slickly executed and not overdone. The monsters and threats are believable and frightening, and the protagonists’ responses seem to be realistic whilst remaining heroic.
The new characters are great for the most part, but one character and his particular arc seemed to me to be such an 80’s cliché, from the car to the attitude to the music choices. Judd Nelson, no one forgot about you.
For me, the stand out character and his development is Steve Harrington, that big haired douchebag that was slated to be a stereotyped 80s bully, who developed into a deep and multi layered character that will really warm your heart in this season.
Massive props to Joe Keery who plays Steve; it was his overall likability that transformed the character.
I had a blast watching Stranger Things S2. If you liked the first season, you will love it.
The Duffer brothers have built on what worked in the first season, and not allowed it to get stale. The cast and production are overall fantastic.
– Noel Page