TV Series Review: Stranger Things

So Stranger Things... so much have been said about it.. The series draw elements from several films from the 80's but mainly a couple of movies - Jaws, ET, Alien and The Goonies. There are also references to a dozen Stephen King novels, Predator and even an anime called Elfen Lied.

But before everything - I trully trully enjoy this series. So nostalgic to a person who was born in 1980 (things appear in Portugal couple years later eheh)... I Trully love this series. I didn't felt this way for a long time...

And another thing.. Did you know the Brothers try this script with other fifteen companies and they all turn it down?? FVCK THEM.. Netflix did it and $$$ enter their account. It also reminds of some movie, well book... DUNE by Frank Herbert. Reject fifty times and now it's the most important ecological sci-fi novel of all times.

The Characters

Mike, Dustin and Lucas are based on The Goonies and mix it with ET characters.  In the start of the series they are playing D&D like in ET - I remember one line Steve said like when his mom asks him how do they win he says something like "There's no winning, it's like life, you don't win in life..." - Awesome...

Only Mike's parents appear in this show (Lucas's appear but only at the funeral) and they are like all parents in the world... oblivous of everything.

I will talk about Will in a bit...

Winona Ryder plays Will's mother - Joyce. She is a single mother with two boys. In ET it's the same, and coincidentally both are roughly the same age as in this show. Joyce is the first feel something was not right. She reminds me, at times, with Carol from Poltergeist  with Stephen King's character Jack in The Shinning (the all axe wielding thing and both see things that to others feel like they are going crazy but they are real supernatural phenomena). Winona is an excelent actress, well here she was - vulnerable and strong. In poltergeist both mothers say they can feel the presence of their son (daughter in poltergeist) and nobody believes them at first.

Jonathan Byers is Will's brother and from the start he is trying to find his son. He is an outsider in school (quiet - hearing not that main stream music and such). Also in The Groonies there is a character He loves Nancy Wheeler. He is part of something in the last episode that made me laugh. I will get back to it...

Nancy Wheeler - is Mike's sister. She is always fighting with her brother. She fells for the jockey and the most looking guy in school (like most movies of the 80's) but then something happened that I will be back to it.

Steve is the cool guy in school and recently seduced Nancy Wheeler...

Now about this trio... Usually in this kind of stories we've got the cool guy seducing the angelic figurine and then act like a beast and making the girl cry and at same time the other misunderstood boy (or possible best friend that loved her since forever)  confort them and they would be together. Until episode 7 everyone would ship them together - Nancy & Jonathan but the last episode the producers said "fvck this, we are doing a homage to the 80's but we want something ours" and in the last episode we saw Steve redeeming himself - being a hero and Nancy staying with him in the end. How cool is that? AWESOME guys. Truly mindblowing... I bet noone saw that coming. We all thought, yeah they are going to kill off Steve and so Nancy will be with Jonathan but no... Mindblowing I tell... But who knows what happenned in season 2. Nancy still cares about Jonathan.

Barbara - Tragic girl and totally inspired in a girl from the Goonies (Stef) Look her up here

Now lets go to Chief Hopper - another great character. So good... He is undoubty based on Chief Brody from jaws... (big city cops who go to a small village, both have beasts to fight, both  have problems with high authorities, both beasts are drawn to blood, both are protecting their children (one of the interesting addons is the small people complaining in the background about absurd non-related plot things)

Eleven or El... WOW - She is a mix of several characters. First of all Stephen king's main protagonist in Firestarter & Carrie (powers and such), then we've got Elfen Lied an anime, you should check this scene here - it's 1.14... Awesome 

- What are the similarities you ask? 
a) They both are young girls with psychic abilities,
b) both were experimented on, 
c) both have father figures (that abused them - in the experiments) 
d) they can both killed with their mind - (The scene with Elfen Lied escape is truly awesome.. 
e) Both have a boy who trust her and other friends do not.... 
f) They are both weirdos & unstables
g) The name - Elfen - Eleven (Btw, did you know El means deity(god?) - interesting no?

There is some similarities with ET, even the dressing up costume... but in ET the main boy say gross and here he says - pretty....

And Will he only appears in a couple of episodes but it's one of the central characters and probably our main character from season 2 which leads us to the first couple of minutes of season 1 episode 1

From the beginning we are introduced to D&D and we understand that those first few minutes  are a image to what will happened in the series....

Is Will's turn and  Demogorgon appears. He decides to launch a fireball and missing. Later on he is attacked by the creature (which they later will call it Demogorgon) and he also fires a rifle and misses. They  say that the Demogorgon is drawn by blood which it's the same as Shark in Jaws

A bit of fluff. The Demogorgon, in D&D, is a powerful demon prince. He is known as the Prince of Demons, a self-proclaimed title he holds by virtue of his power and influence, which, in turn, is a title acknowledged by both mortals and his fellow demons. Demogorgon was also named as one of the greatest villains in D&D. His title as Prince of Demons is contested and somewhat misleading in that in the chaos of the Abyss there are no official titles and positions. He holds this title through sheer power and the fact no other demon has been able to prove themselves his superior and wrest the name from him. Demogorgon is also known as Lord of All That Swims in Darkness (Swims = Water = Eleven?)

Talking about the beast itself... He is a Xenomorph from Alien (the egg and probably the way he reproduces - Will), Predator (his body), Freddy Krugger (coming from other dimension and the moving walls - which can also be from Poltergeist) Tremor (look at his face by god... tulip-shaped head) & Jaws (drawn by blood). IT reminds me as well as a monster of the week from x-files (The Host)

And we can't forget the other more evil guys who experimented on El... MK-Ultra it existed from the 50's until the 70's... Much of it was destroyed by CIA. CIA was conducting in four objectives:

(1)   discover a means of conditioning personnel to prevent unauthorized extraction of information from them by known means
(2)   investigate the possibility of control of an individual by application of special interrogation techniques
(3)   investigate memory enhancement

(4)   establish defensive means for preventing hostile control of agency personnel

They are the true evil of this series and they will return for season 2 undoubtedly.

The Story itself

Again this is basically a mash-up of several stories... Nightmare in Elm Street and ET and the Groonies (a bunch of boys must confront an evil and nobody believes them).

Remember the scene where they are being chased in the bikes? It happened in ET as well. But in ET he makes the bikes fly and in the Stranger Things the van flew. 

The story changes a lot also for Jonathan, Nancy and Steve. It's almost two series in one... first the teeneage movie of cheesy scenes and then the arm themselves to catch a monster. 

Chief Hopper is another character who has so much development. From the beginning we know that he had a child who died and in the last episodes he is so obessed to find Will as he wants to do that for him because he couldn't do for his own child. The last episode when Will comes to life he is seeing flashbacks it's almost as a curse being lifted from him.  But there are something as well - When he is playing with his child she was looking at somewhere and was scared shit? What was she looking at? This is something probably will see in Season 2... I even think that she is not dead at all...

Talking about the Upside Down. What a heck is that place? They say it's like a interdimensional place but I got some doubts the origin... First I thought it was the future because, in the last episode we saw Hopper and Joyce looking for Will and I don't know but it felt it was the future after some cataclysm or else everything would be the same. If a building would fall in our world how would it behave in that Upside Down?

Then I thought more about it and it's either an alternate reality where things went out of hand or some imaginary placed created by Eleven psychic powers - after all it was her who created the portal and before that she only saw this beast in a black place with water... I really think that in some way that place is Eleven's creation...

Oh, Demongorgon could be Eleven again because in the fluff of D&D demongorgon had two heads and they hated each other and at war. One head is destructive and the other is deceptive and clever but could not live one without the other. In this movie we've got Eleven and Demogorgon and they both disappear at the same time... At some point when they are battling they both raise their hands one at each other and she even says... "I am the monster".

The place itself reminds me of Silent Hill (the movie) and Insidious - an horror movie from the 2010 and the video game Last of Us. - The metal rope they used to send the guy through the gate? - There is one in Poltergeist (and Jaws).

The Ending

The comic Will won from Dustin was June 134 of X-Men which was about rising of the Dark Phoenix - which reminds us of what? Jean Grey who has the same abilities as Eleven. Both have some bad men who lied to said girl and want to use her for nefarious purposes; and a monster has been awakened because the men tampered with her mind. - Curiosity. One of Mike Trophies in second episode his a... Phoenix statue - oh yeah

And the end of this story is Jean decides to kill the monster by sacrificing herself, because she knows that every minute she continues to live is a risk to innocent lives. She dies in front of her love, Cyclops - With Eleven is of course different but she also sacrifice herself. Like Jean, she knows the monster she’s brought into this world won’t stop killing. She’s the only person who can stop it. So she has to kill it. She wants to protect her friends ... even if it means killing herself and breaking Mike’s heart...
ET guys playing D&D

After seeing Eleven pwoers and reading the comic X-Men No. 137 which I search and read it - Uatu the Watcher — a cosmic character in charge of watching our world — makes a keen observation. He tells us that Jean’s Eleven sacrifice is what makes us all human. Both characters could have moved on with their lives and started anew. But that would have meant abandoning the people who showed them love. "Jean Grey could have lived to become a god," Uatu says. "But it was more important to her that she die … a human." The same could be said of Eleven no?

Oh about that sling shot in the end is the same idea the kids on Stephen King's book called IT had.

In the same line, Grey return so Eleven will too... ( I Hope)

After the Ending
There is some interesting bits of it... first of all

First, the boys are yet again in a D&D marathon - 
- The monster Thessalhydra - Very interesting... new creature? - Or an indication that if you cut a head of a hydra two will come out?
- It was a campaign too short - for us it was too short...
- About lost knight? - Sherrif Hopper (In the end we see that he leaves food for El and previously we saw him enter a car with some Goverment guys - so he is still a very interesting light+dark character)
- About the proud princess? Eleven reference, no doubt
- Weird flowers in the cave? The eggs they found out in the Upside Down (plus the slugs Will is vomiting - Alien yeah...)

Then we've got Will

  1. He was found out with something in his mouth (Alien reference) and he later wakes up in the hospital and the first thing he notices... his brother was cut in his hand which was a bit hidden... (Smelling blood mayhaps?)
  2. At Dinner time Will vomits a slug (and he doesn't look that preocuppied - I would be freak out by it) and for a second or two he goes to the Upside Down returning to the table like nothing had happened... So what a heck? Is he a monster controlled freak? Or is he changing into a new beast? A vessel... mayhaps?
And we never later understand what happened to Eleven and who the monster was... Was he a previous test subject? Evil side of Eleven? Doctor Brennan was not that worried when El tells him he met a monster... He knew it was there...

What about the portal? Is it there? What a heck... Too much questions...

The Nostalagia Feeling

  1. The Poster is Star Wars (Jedi anyone?
  2. Title Sequence is a heavy 80's synthesizers and B-Horror movies (and Stephen Kings novels at the time)
  3. Each Chapter reminds of Choose your own Adventure kind (like Fight & Fantasy)
  4. Each character is a hero in Dungeon and Dragons
  5. Bikes from the 80's...
  6. Should I stay or Should I go (says something... go hear the music from the Clash)
  7. The Levi's jackets
  8. The vintage nike sneekers
  9. The dial rotary phones..
  10. Puffy vests so Michael J Fox in Back to the Future
  11. The posters with the movies Evil Dead or The Thing
  12. The Tom Cruise poster (I bet nobody has those nowadays...)
  13. The Junk food...

References to movies 
(besides the ones I previous talk about - taken from one website I watch )

Under The Skin (2013)
In Under the Skin, Scarlett Johansson plays an alien who masquerades as a human, using her feminine wiles to lure  men to their doom. Whenever she lures a man into her van, the film shifts to an abstract “black room” where the victims are consumed in a liquid darkness. Stranger Things puts Eleven in a similar netherspace whenever she’s dunked into the sensory-deprivation tank. She, too, is supposed to be used as a weapon against men — in this case, Soviet targets in the Cold War — but the mission backfires

The Last Starfighter (1984)
I've watch this movie on youtube (yeah sue me) and it's about a guy who uses his geek and over the top ability to play videogames to go into interstellar warfare. I think this kids are the same. They even mention as Upside Down as The Vale of Shadows in D&D. 
Geek Power!

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
I've watch this movie so much time ago but one of the few things I remember was the blinking lights on the farmacy and I remember Joyce Ouija board on the wall.. Its the same thing. 

This review took three of four hours but it was worth it. Probably only a couple of people will see it but most important I will see it... This series is truly awesome. Thank you Duffer Brothers

This is series are going to be there in 50's years as the great of this decade...

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