Truth be told the Stranger Things series did not give out a very strong vibe when it was announced. It was expected to be some kind of generic Sci-Fi project developing in the recent past. All this, however, changed with the pilot episode. Nerd nostalgia hit the viewer like pancakes on Saturday morning. For us in Bulgaria, the 80s came a little later, but we can certainly associate with almost every element introduced in the series. The very dynamics between the 4 main characters returns the viewer in moments when the playing outside was the most anticipated thing on the summer vacation. You will ask where the Sci-Fi element is intertwined here and you will be right because it seems like nowhere. To break things up, I will write a few short words for each season, about the evolution of the story and the dynamics between the characters.
So, starting with Season 1, the story introduces us to a 4 “losers”, about 10-11 years old. The boys boast of the nerd culture, including comics, gadgets, board games, and so on. Their city of Hawkins hosts one of the most advanced laboratories in the United States at that time, which is engaged in governmental experiments. At one point, however, a severe mistake “releases” two creatures from the lab. One is a monster from another dimension, the purpose of which is simply to feed on as many people as possible, named by our main characters, the Demogorgon, and the other is actually a girl whose life was spent into the laboratory but possesses an unbelievable power. Both the monster and the girl are connected in an extremely interesting way. In fact, the work of the lab was to open a hole in the dimensions to the so-called Upside down, which, although much resembling our world, is inhabited by quite unpleasant creatures, one of which roams free in the small town of Hawkins. Along the 4 main characters we meet some teenagers who also participate in critical ways in the story, as well as two adults. The latter are the mother of one of the four children – Joyce and the local sheriff – Jim Hopper.
As a matter of fact, all participants in the events have great dynamics and chemistry among themselves. The moment the monster kidnaps one of the main characters, Will in the other dimension, the other children perform even impossible feats to find him. With the help of Eleven (the lab girl), they manage to defeat the monster and save Will, but at a heavy price. I do not want to spoil the full pleasure for the people who have not seen it yet, so I will not reveal the full dynamics of the events. But this first season, just hooks you up for the show in the most unexpected way. Whether you are a fan or not, it gets under your skin. Every single moment of the first season is brilliant on its own and builds a new universe of characters, which although find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, are able to save the day.
Entering Season 2, things are a bit different now. Eleven is gone, Will is still experiencing the horrors that have occurred in the Upside down. He even “meets” the strongest monster which wants to capture his body, aiming to create an army. Here, the battle is no longer just to save Will, but to prevent the plans of the Mind Flayer to take over our world. The characters have grown a little and the dynamics are different. Puberty has its influence, creating the familiar hormone bombs. Teenagers face life for the first time, and the new addition Bob, who is Joyce’s boyfriend, conquers the hearts of viewers as the MVP of the season.
Again, I will not spoil the end, but the growth of the characters is clearly visible in the time skip between season 1 and 2. Naturally, the pop culture of the 80s continues to hit the viewers as a truck, now entering quite unreal even for Sci-Fi elements. However, the season is exceptionally strong, featuring a dramatic growth of our favorite characters. If you are binge watching it with the first season, be prepared not to get out of the couch for a few days. It’s that addictive.
And for the final, we are entering the last for now, 3rd season, which came out less than a week ago. Here I will be totally retracted in words, because if there are people who have not seen it, they should do so right away. This is the most dynamic of the three, presenting an almost non-stop action all the time. Including even conspiracies for Russian intervention. That brings us back in the years when Rambo, Terminator, Die Hard, and other action movies dominated the box office. It may not be the best quality in storytelling, but it definitely does not leave the viewer bored. I myself saw it in a blink, given that I rarely come across such an addictive series. The characters are visibly grown and they are already interested in quite different things, but unfortunately fate once again confronts them with a known enemy. It is as if the monsters do not give up at all.
The reason behind this article is that, according to the plans of writers and directors, the Duffer brothers, there will be only one more season that will close the story. In this line of thought, the open ending of Season 3 makes us wonder, what the hell more they can think of. In conclusion, if you’re looking for a series which incorporates monsters, sci-fi, 80s, conspiracies and invasions, that’s the right one for you. I strongly recommend it, because Blockbuster and arcade games are still alive, and the summers spent outside brings wonderful memories. “Strange things happen in Hawkins, Indiana!”