Netflix original “Stranger Things” is no stranger to me

This summer’s Netflix original series, “Stranger Things” left me in tears and suffering withdrawal from the eight-episode season.

Netflix released the series July 15. It’s already rated five out of five stars with over 3,000 user reviews, making it one of the network’s hottest shows.

The show offers something for everyone. With ‘80s throwbacks like cassette mixtapes, extraterrestrials from a second dimension, government conspiracies and teen romance, it makes for a series the whole family can enjoy.

The sci-fi series casts the iconic Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers, a single mother living as an outcast in a small town in Indiana. Ryder is known for her memorable performances in the ‘90s and her role (literally and figuratively) in this Netflix original is just the beginning of an “adult” Ryder era.

“Stranger Things” also stars four adolescent best friends who bond over Dungeons and Dragons, science club and warding off their bullies as a team. It’s homage to black sheep everywhere ─ young and old.

The first episode, “Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers”  sparks things off quick as Will, boy number four and son of Joyce Byers, immediately goes missing in a paranormal mystery that molds the entire season’s plot.

The fact that each hour-long episode is a different “chapter” is representative of how heavily weighted they are. That being said, attempting to watch multiple episodes in one sitting can be a lot to comprehend.  

Take it from someone who made the mistake of finishing the series in a single weekend, there are only eight episodes ─ savor them.

As for the quality of the series’ horror ─ it’s actually convincing. If you can’t handle watching scary movies on your own, then don’t attempt this. Even the soundtrack, compiled of mostly synthesizer, left me feeling tense with anticipation before the scary parts even occured.   

The on-going quest for Will forces Joyce, the boys, their older siblings and even the sheriff to get involved in trying to uncover what exactly is happening in their small town.

When they introduce Eleven, cast by Millie Bobby Brown, the psychokinetic government experiment escapee, the show gets another edge.

Now not only is there an “Is that an alien, a monster or am I seeing things because it’s 3 a.m.?” aspect, they now introduce top-secret government motives to take advantage of Eleven.

As the season progresses, all of these “strange” elements circle back to the small town, and we realize it’s all connected in some way or another.

All the while, each character is maturing as they have to battle what most would consider a living nightmare.

Leaving plenty of room for a second season, the finale “Chapter Eight: The upside down” left me feeling uneasy. Though they pretend their lives have been pieced back together, normalcy has yet to be restored. Will it ever be?

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