Review; Stranger Things Season 2

Its been a little over a year since the hit Netflix series unexpectedly became a pop culture phenomenon. Its a show that I decided to watch when I was bored and it might just be the best decision I’ve ever made. Last week saw the release of the eagerly anticipated second season. Filled with thrills, frights and delights, the second season builds on its momentum and bigger budget to deliver another masterful series that sees our favourite group of adolescent teens return to once again battle monsters from the terrifying ‘Upside Down’.

Following on from the first series, Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) has returned to normal life in Hawkins, Indiana after being trapped in the Upside Down by the terrifying Demogorgon. He starts to experience episodes in which he seemingly returns to the Upside Down where we witness and even bigger threat. And that is all I’m going to say, because I do not wish to give away anything in this series.

Incase you missed the first season, here is a re-cap by Millie Bobby Brown who plays Eleven.

 

Personally, I don’t think that this was better than the first season, but I do think both are equally as good as each other.  The tone is still fraught with 80s nostalgia, and full of pop culture references from that period, the way its been made as well feels like an 80s film and don’t even get me started on Steve Harrington’s hair! To me, this show feels like that Stand By Me and The Goonies got together and Stranger Things was their love child.

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Source: Google Images

One of my favourite aspects of Stranger Things is the incredible synth based soundtrack by Kyle Dixon. The soundtrack itself, is very much a character in the show and it helps to build up tensions in the creepy moments and will then send you on a feels trip in the shows more melancholy moments. A big difference in this series is that it isn’t as creepy this time round, yet was still shrouded in mystery. However, the feel I got from this was more of an Empire Strikes Back/Aliens-esque feel about it. This is because season one had the group of kids and the adults working together throughout the series and battled against the singular foe which was the Demogorgon. This time round, the stakes are higher and time is running out in a life or death situation, not only for our characters, but for Hawkins. This series, each character has their own thing to do and was a lot more action based than its predecessor.

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Source: Google Images

Once again, the child cast are terrific, I often think it is quite rare to find actors who are this young and this good and the fact that there’s five on one screen is nothing short of a miracle. Seeing them all on social media hanging out together has clearly had a good effect on the way they act together makes their friendship onscreen seem genuine, so when arguments and fall outs occur between them, it certainly tugs at the heart strings for the viewer. It was nice to see Will Byers get more screen time this series as we only had a few moments with him in the first series. However, Noah Schnapp who portrays him is excellent this series, and the series is certainly bolstered by his presence this time round. The rest of the cast are brilliant, Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Dustin (Gaten Materazzo) once again put in great performances but it is Dustin that is the stand out, serving as the comic release once more, he’s character I would always be watching when he was on screen.

The older characters too also hold their own on screen, Winona Ryder as Joyce is great and the love triangle between Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Steve (Joe Keery) and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) is certainly an emotional one, because you like them all and don’t want any of them to be hurt by a relationship. One of the best characters in this series is Jim Hopper (David Harbour) and I think that he is a man who every young male should strive to be. Being a paternal figure to Eleven this time round, we see a different and loving side to him that was absent from season one and it gives us many funny and heart warming moments between the two.

There are many great character moments, a special shout out to to the unlikely but terrific duo that is Dustin and Steve, or as I like to call them ‘DusSteve’. They had great chemistry on screen and had some of the best moments of the series together.

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Source: Google Images

However the best moment belongs to Jim Hopper with his excellent dad dancing to Jim Croce’s ‘You Don’t Mess With Jim’.

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Source: Google Images

There are new characters introduced, Max played by Sadie Sink I felt was a good inclusion to the gang and bounced off the actors well. Sean Astin, famous for his roles in The Lord of the Rings and 80s classic The Goonies portrays the wholesome Bob Newby who brings an innocent feel to the show and helps keep the show as grounded as it can be. However, another new character introduced is Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery) wasn’t as developed as he could have been, but some revelations leave space for some character building in season 3.

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Source: Google Images

A factor that I felt was key to this series being so brilliant, was its marketing campaign. Taking influence from iconic films in its promotional posters showed the kind of films that the Duffer Brothers are heavily influenced by such as Jaws, Alien, A Nightmare On Elm Street and many more so it was fun to see which film the next poster would be paying homage too.

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Source: Google Images

After the disappointments this year in TV that were the seventh season of Game of Thrones and the third season of Rick and Morty, I was able to breath a sigh of relief that Stranger Things is still very much excellent television. I originally didn’t want a second season, as I felt season one could finish as it did, but I am glad that I came round and enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed season one. With incredible effects and brilliant story telling that constantly had me sat on the edge of my seat, it is easy to see why this show is at the top of its game and will go on to be one of the best television shows of all time. Bring on season 3!