By Kevin Sninsky
When Stranger Things originally debuted on Netflix it was a surprise success. A homage to ‘80s monster movies of all kinds, Stranger Things is familiar but fresh. It was an unexpected hit, but once the secret was out, it spread like a wildfire.
Stranger Things 2, released on October 27, which has been long awaited and, finally, binge watchers and “party members” can rejoice. Stranger Things 2 is finally here and trouble is brewing in Hawkins once again.
It has been about a year (both in show and out) since Eleven slayed the Demogorgon and Will Byers was rescued from the Upside Down. Will and the group are finally back together and preparing for the most important night of the year, Halloween. It seems that everything is finally back to routine in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana.
While this may be true, viewers soon find out that even though life appears to be back to normal for its residents, nothing is the same.
Stranger Things 2 has a much darker feel to it than its predecessor. How do you darken a show when its first season focused on an interdimensional monster kidnapping, murdering and eating people? You show the emotional aftermath these events have left on those involved.
Will is going through PTSD-like episodes as a result of his time trapped in the Upside Down. This season’s Mike is more mature and serious now, grieving the loss of Eleven. Nancy is struggling with the fate of Barb, who’s death finally gets a little attention.
Rest assured, the wit and humor of the first season is still present in Stranger Things 2. The character’s fans have come to love and are still just as likeable and well-written. If not more so, and all the kids are smart-mouths still. However, most of them have come out of the Demogorgon encounter damaged in one way or another.
While this shift in tone may not be exactly what fans expect after the search for Will in season one, in my opinion, it is a good choice for the narrative. Who would not be a little depressed or stressed after being hunted by monsters and watching their friends die?
It is reassuring to see that the show’s creators, Matt and Ross Duffer, are serious about the development of their characters and not just about keeping viewers happy with more of the same.
The best comparison I can make regarding the difference between the show’s two seasons, Stranger Things is akin to “The Goonies,” whereas Stranger Things 2 is more like an upbeat version of Ridley Scott’s “Alien.”
For the most part, the show keeps its focus on the odd happenings in Hawkins, though there are signs which hint that the creators may expand the Stranger Things universe beyond the small Indiana town. Though, for the sake of avoiding spoilers, that is as much as I will touch upon at this the point.
With the events of this season, and the addition of a few new characters, it is safe to assume things can only get stranger from here for the group.