Every single one of you with a Netflix sub...go and watch the 8-episode series Stranger Things right now. If you don't. FIND A WAY. JEFF GOLDBLUM YOUR WOES AWAY.
Quite confident in saying it's the best new show this year, or many years for that matter. I couldn't stop and I ended up binging it all in one sitting.
For one, this is a legit modern work set in the 80s that does it's dues as a love letter, without going full on self indulgent.
The plot is also interesting in that there really isn't a 'main' character. Much closer to an ensemble work, with each plot thread having a very different vibe. Which makes things interesting as they start merging near the end.
And speaking of characters, it's refreshing how few examples there are of plot-induced stupidity. Just about as soon as you're ready to call someone out on what they're doing is when they wise up or get wasted.
All in all, a work of incredible quality. And apparently, there's going to be a Season 2 already!
Stranger Things: AKA John Carpenter and ET meets Silent Hill
Posted 17 July 2016 - 04:49 PM
Posted 30 July 2016 - 09:20 PM
I'm up to Episode 5 now, and I don't know if I'm exactly loving it, but it is a thoroughly watchable show. It might just be me having way too much sci-fi experience, but this show is derivative of like a dozen other things I've seen before, from E.T. to Fringe to the godawful Beyond: Two Souls, and most pressingly that one SCP entry about the monster who oozes out of walls and drags people back into his nightmare realm with him. Where I left off last night, the boys' science teacher was performing the "poke the pen through the folded magazine" scene from Event Horizon verbatim:
It also has the same Fake '80s syndrome as Super 8, thought maybe a little less on the nose? From what I remember, the reason for Super 8 being a period piece was "Ey remember E.T., tho? #MyChildhood", whereas this is a little more fitting because it slots right in with the MK Ultra/Reagan Star Wars paranoia and lets them poke fun at the idea of three boys who've just seen the Star Wars Trilogy play out actually meet a girl who can move things with her mind. I thought they did a really good job of hiring authentically '80s-looking actors, too. Especially among the main kinds; there isn't a looker in the bunch. Mike has the unfortunate distinction of being a boy who looks exactly like Natalie Portman in Leon, haircut and all.
The illusion is broken when they go around saying things "suck", or delivering the cutting early-2000s insult "You're a dick". I mean, c'mon here; I know we all want to be Spielberg, but when you make the decision to go period piece (a decision which, you will note, Spielberg didn't make, because E.T. is set in the present day that just so happened to be in the '80s), you have to get into period voice to write it.
I feel the Game of Thrones approach of not necessarily having every character appear in every episode would have been helpful, too. Specifically Winona Ryder, and you have no idea how much it pains me to say that. It takes something special to make me not want to see one of my earliest and longest lasting movie crushes, but she has such a thankless role in those early episodes. There you are enjoying your intriguing, fairly light-hearted mystery, wondering about the weird government guys led by Matthew Modine doing his best Ted-Danson-in-Fargo impression, and then suddenly you're dumped into the emotionally overwhelming nightmare that is the life of a woman whose young son has disappeared. Talk about your tonal whiplash. All of a sudden everything gets 100% super serious for a few minutes, and then you're dumped back into the life of some kids who are out adventuring with walkie-talkies and a slingshot. And then next episode they check back in with her and it's, yep, still it's still the most horrific situation one could find oneself in, thanks for the update. Her story does get much more interesting, to be fair, but the early going is pretty rough.
Oh no I did that thing where I say I like something and then I just complain for eight solid paragraphs. Sorry. I am going to keep watching to the end, of course, because it's a good show that I'm enjoying and I want to see how it ends
Posted 31 July 2016 - 12:54 AM
I'm glad you brought up how derivative it was, because I was gonna point out (regardless of how good the decision was) that was basically what they were trying to go for. Something that felt like it could've been made in the 80s, but also modern at the same time.
Posted 31 July 2016 - 11:09 PM
OH GOD I TAKE IT ALL BACK! I just watched the second half of the season and it was so good! And then the ending was a bit disappointing, but I'll get to that.
UNF. You guys, I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but one of my absolute favourite tropes in all fiction is something I actually don't think TV Tropes has a page on (or maybe I just don't want to search too hard for fear of getting trapped), but I'm going to call it Enough is Enough. It's the moment where our scared, traumatised protagonist/s decide that they're sick of running, they're sick of hiding, and whatever this thing is that's been terrorising them, THEY WANT IT DEAD. Oh my God it is so awesome, and it never fails to get my hyped up to the eyeballs. It happens in The Edge, it happens in The Descent, it's the driving force behind the Earth-shattering drum solo ending in Whiplash, and it's in any number of other things, but oh man I love it so much. And in Stranger Things, when little braces-mouth Nancy turns to Jonathan and says "I WANT IT DEAD", I wanted to scream "**** YEAH YOU DO!"
My other favourite thing is a montage of our heroes turning a bunch of seemingly disparate objects into weapons and traps and coming up with a plan that we don't fully understand until we watch every piece fall perfectly into place, so of course THAT HAPPENS TOO! UUUUUNG, I resent that our English script can't fully portray the grunts of satisfaction that I need you guys to understand. Any work of fiction that involves something like this automatically becomes like ten times better. It's all the catharsis of seeing an underdog come out on top, mixed with the payoff to your curiosity about the plan you don't understand yet, with an extra dash of watching the characters you've grown attached to overcoming their personal and/or literal demons; it's the factual best way of telling a story, and have I mentioned that I love it?
So, yeah, Stranger Things does all that and I really liked it. But then they just kind of throw away the fan favourite character at the end for no reason.
- Saber-Scorpion likes this
Posted 31 August 2016 - 12:33 PM
Netflix being all teasy already.
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