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Stranger Things - Netflix Series Review

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

Stranger Things is what you get if the classic TV show Twilight Zone is crossed with the Disney movie Enchanted. The story for this series is set in the '80s when the Landline was the cutting edge of communications technology. But it manages to serve up the nostalgia of that time with the fast-paced storytelling style of today. Read on to find out if this weird-sounding series is your cup of tea.

Stranger Things Review

Stranger Things Plot Summary

Stranger Things starts off with a suspense-filled scene where a group of people who look like scientists are being hunted by something unseen in an underground facility. The scene is edge-of-the-seat stuff. A lone person in a lab coat is trying to close elevator doors with lights flickering in a long dark hallway. 

First Scene of Stranger Things Netflix Season 1

This cuts to kids playing Dungeons and Dragons in a basement. One of these kids

(Will Byers) goes missing in the town of Hawkins in the US where they live. The connection between these scenes is that an interdimensional gateway is discovered that lets monsters out and leads people into it. 

The plot is centered around how this interdimensional gateway is closed, stopping an invasion of sorts. On the way to saving the world, government conspiracies and human experimentation are uncovered. There is telekinesis, telepathy, people falling in love, and more.

Unique Things

Stranger Things has great visuals and good depth to its characters. It has great casting with Winona Ryder playing the missing boy's mother and energetic young preteens who are fresh new faces. It has a background score that is calm and reminds one of life in the suburbs.

The title theme, of course, is thrilling and what made me start watching in the first place. The title Stranger Things is a callback to the era of Neon lights- the iridescent red glowy letters ( u can almost imagine the buzzing ).

Eleven using Telepathy in Stranger Things Netflix Season 1

What I love is the way they show telepathy. The Eleven character is seen in a dark environment with only the subject and her in view, with a shallow pool of water.

It has a good blend of CGI and actual stunts. The characters actually grow significantly as individuals,  as the plot moves forward. This is rarely seen in most series. 

Similar Things

Stranger Things has drawn inspiration from shows like "The Outer Limits" and "The Twilight Zone". It pays tribute to them through subtle similarities in plot and music. It also reminds one of the Stephen King novel-turned-movie "The Mist".

It sees people trapped in a supermarket and surrounded by a thick fog while monsters pour in out of the fog. This also has an interdimensional gateway. There is also a light X-Files vibe if it is slightly older. 

Eleven overthrowing a van in Stranger Things Netflix Season 1

Of course, there is a clear reference to the Steven Spielberg movie E.T where the alien is carried in a bike basket. A central character named Ele ( short for Eleven ) flips a truck while sitting on a kiddie bike in the front.

Stranger Things Netflix Season 1

The guys in Stranger Things Netflix Season 1

Season 1 sees the friendship between Mike Wheeler, Will Byers, Lucas Sinclair, and Gaten Matarazzo bloom. These four friends are played by Finn Wolfhard, Noah Schnapps, Caleb Mclaughlin, and Dustin Henderson respectively.

When Will goes missing, they stumble upon Eleven who has escaped from the US government lab shown at the start of the series.

Meanwhile, Nancy Wheeler, Mike's elder sister, her love interest Steve Harrington, and Will's older brother Jonathan have their own love triangle that evolves with time. Will's mother Joyce is played to perfection by Wynona Rider and Hawkins Sheriff Jim Hopper by David Harbour.

The episodes show Eleven bonding with the bunch of boys and forming a special connection with Mike Wheeler. Eleven ultimately saves the day by locating Will with Steve, Nancy, and Jonathan helping all the way. The first season is what got me hooked on Netflix as a streaming service so I highly recommend it!

Stranger Things Season 2

The Hawkins AV club looking at d'artgnan

The second season picks up where Season 1 leaves us with Eleven going missing again and the four friends welcome a new friend into their group. The second season has more suspense, jumpscares, and moves at a much faster pace. Will exposes something called a Mindflayer, which is a massive monster in the upside-down.

Mike longs for Ele and Nancy gets closer to Jonathan while mourning the loss of one of her friends. Steve Harrington played by Joe Keery gets a lot more screen time this season, taking on the role of a mentor for kids younger than him.

Jim Hopper sees a new addition to his family ( yes it's Ele!) and struggles to nurture a father-daughter relationship with her under duress. Joyce starts dating Bob Newby played by Sean Astin who is a Ned Flanders-like character full of dad jokes.

 Paul Reiser as Dr. Sam Owens

This Stranger Things Netflix season sees another character getting killed off. In the first season, you see Mathew Modine play Martin Brenner, the easy-to-hate head scientist of the government lab being replaced by a more likable one. Paul Reiser plays Dr. Sam Owens, a more empathetic scientist who wants to advance science - just not at the cost of anyone.

Brett Gelman as Murray Bauman

Murray Bauman, played by Brett Gelman is one of my all-time favorite characters who is a conspiracy nut with a deeply sarcastic wit. Ele tracks down her mother and one of her peers at the lab in Chicago. She discovers her name is Jane Ivy and that she was part of an experiment that had many more subjects like her. The action sequences of Ele and her "sister" working together are done really well.

Eleven closing the gateway

Since the gate to the upside-down is open, Ele and Hopper try to close the gate at the lab while others handle the demi gorgon minions of the upside-down.

Stranger Things Season 3

This season is bigger and better than both the last two seasons put together with an international plot! Sadie Sink who plays Max Mayfield has much more screen time along with her brother Billy Mayfield.

Starcourt Mall

In the summer of 1985, Hawkins, Indiana, is shaken by strange occurrences centered around the newly opened Starcourt Mall. Teenage relationships evolve amidst these events.

The menacing Mind Flayer returns, controlling Billy. Russians are revealed to be experimenting with the Upside Down dimension using the Starcourt Mall as cover.

Hopper versus Viktor against a particle beam background

Hopper, Joyce, and Murray unite to stop a massive Russian conspiracy at the mall. A dramatic battle ensues, resulting in heartbreaking sacrifices, and the Byers family decides to leave Hawkins. Maya Thurman plays Robin Buckley in this season and does a fantastic job of playing a character with depth.

Joe Keery and Maya Hawke

In a post-credits scene, a captive Demogorgon hints at ongoing threats. "Stranger Things" season 3 sees so much more action, and a bigger depth of characters and has a much grander feel.

The Battle at Starcourt

My favorite episode is of course "The Battle of Starcourt" which sounds amazing, almost like a Frank Herbert novel or a George Lucas film. You get a blast of colors from the 80s in this episode with infinite pop-culture references that will quench your thirst for nostalgia. You also lose a major character in this season, along with Ele losing her powers, just to make you cry.

Stranger Things Season 4

Stranger Things season 4 is set six months after the Battle of Starcourt Mall, which devasted Hawkins. The expanded group of friends that has formed after season 3 is put to the test when they face a horror-movie-level threat.

The Hellfire Club in Stranger Things Season 4

The Byers family and a powerless Eleven move to California to put all the carnage behind them until Joyce gets a mysterious message about Hopper in the mail. Teens start getting killed in Hawkins reminding you of a cross between The Blair Witch Project and Friday The 13th.

An innocent metalhead Eddie Munson played by Joseph Quinn is blamed for one or all these killings with him being a Satanist. But Eddie Munson is a Satanist to the extent we all are who listen to Slayer and Black Sabbath - so not at all.

You see Hopper is alive and in terrible living conditions on the other side of the world

This season uses Kate Bush's song "Running up that hill" as a beacon of positivity and is key to defeating the Big Bad in this season. This season is way more philosophical and deals with hero and sacrifice tropes, there are tragic redemption arcs and massive future threats that are uncovered.

All Things Put Together - A Must-Watch!

At least the first season. This series has something for everyone. There are good character arcs, there is action and suspense. There's young love and sacrifice. This is a soulful endeavor that will leave you wanting more. Give it a go!

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