A perfect mix of misfit kids and science fiction, Stranger Things packages everything good about eighties cinema and presents it in eight fun, tense and supernatural episodes.
Set in small town Indiana, the series centres around the disappearance of Will Byers after a day and night of playing Dungeons and Dragons with his friends. This sets his family, and the rest of sleepy Hawkins, into a downward spiral that includes dangerous experiments, government agents and the Upside Down – a parallel dimension filled with other-worldly presence.
Distraught at his mysterious predicament, Will’s pals are the most endearing group of nerds imaginable, struggling against the usual high school bullies while hiding out in the AV room and geeking-out over new radio equipment. Their cool-factor is raised significantly with the arrival of Eleven, a mysterious girl sporting a shaven-head and supernatural powers that could be the key to returning their missing friend.
You’ll find elements of E.T, Jaws, Poltergeist and more than a few nods to Stephen King, but it never feels like a rehash, always sticking on the right side of homage.
There are subtle hints to the influences – watch out for a state trooper reading Cujo while guarding the morgue – and a few that are slightly more obvious like the giant cracked glowing egg that just might remind you of Alien. These are handled really well, bringing an additional element of nostalgia to the series.
The soundtrack adds another layer of cool with with more eighties synth than a Nicolas Winding Refn movie alongside appearances from The Clash, Joy Division and an EXTREMELY effective use of classic Bowie.
All eight episodes are full of suspense, humour and genuine scares – I was totally hooked only a couple of minutes in and couldn’t wait to hit play on the next instalment.
The first season of Stranger Things is available on Netflix now. What are you waiting for?!