Viewing “Stranger Things”

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

Hopefully, by looking at the title, you’ve already realized that I am not going to be talking about “SportsTalk” this week.

Instead, for this Independence holiday, I wanted to share some thoughts on one of the most popular television series (some refer to it as an extended movie) that is available for RCN internet customers through Netflix (for details on how to view it, go to www.rcn.com/netflix to learn more.)

The series is called “Stranger Things.”  With two seasons already in the books, the entire third season launched on July 4th.

When it comes to drama, I consider myself a pretty tough critic and am hard-pressed to highly recommend television series to video viewers.  But after binge watching this show (several times, I must admit), I think it would be a great idea for you to check it once it becomes available this week.

This program is not your normal, everyday-type of mystery. It deals with supernatural forces, has an alternate dimension and features a few gory scenes from time to time.  It’s also inundated with 1980s pop songs, trends and “far out” references, both with a nod of respect and an air of sarcasm mixed in for some lighter moments.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!!!!!

Before proceeding, here’s a brief rundown on the story and where we are approaching the beginning of season three (I won’t give too much away, just a few “basics” about the premise in case you’re planning on jumping right in on the series without viewing the first two seasons.)

  • The main storyline is set in the early-to-mid 1980s and has focused on four pre-teens (which has spawned several “friends” joining the group over the series’ run) as they advance to their adolescent years while uncovering an alternate dimension (the “upside-down”) in the otherwise sleepy town of Hawkins.
  • Winona Rider stars as the mom of one of the boys (Will) who was “abducted” into this parallel world in season one (and then inhabited by a monster in season two).
  • David Harbour (from “Hellboy” fame) co-stars as the town’s skeptical police chief (“Jim Hopper”) who also has been in the “upside down” while helping to rescue Will in season one.  In season two, he has adopted a young girl (“Eleven”) who has special telekinesis powers, which she has used on several occasions to save her friends’ lives from the “other-world” creatures.
  • Season two ends with the kids attending their first “Snow Ball” dance with several members of the kids’ group partnering up in an apparently normal school setting, only to have the camera pull back to reveal much more sinister happenings, which paves the way for the new season.

Publicity for the new season (set on and around, appropriately enough, July 4th) has included everything from character action figures, to a book focusing on Chief Hopper’s backstory, to a “new” release of 1980s songs (on vinyl, no less) that captures many of the hits used in the series.

There is even a “fake” commercial posted on YouTube for Hawkins’ new, “state of the art” Starcourt Mall that will be opening in time for season three (1980s teenagers at a mall–what a shocker!!!)

There’s plenty of rumors out there as to what might happen for the new series (are the Russians really involved in this?), but I don’t want to spoil any of the additional elements of the show for you.

Would I consider “Stranger Things” the greatest mystery event of all time…or even the very best show on TV over the last decade?

No.

But I would certainly recommend this series for anyone who likes horror, clever writing, atypical mysteries with appropriate twists-and-turns and some tongue-in-cheek laughs about an era gone by (word was the show’s creators, the Duffer Brothers, were incredibly intimidated by Rider when they approached her about the role because they grew up watching and admiring her iconic roles in 1980s films).

Be sure to check out “Stranger Things” and other streaming programs by using your RCN interview and visiting: www.rcn.com/netflix

Chris Michael About Chris Michael

Chris handles play-by-play for RCN sports events, including baseball, football & basketball games and produces/hosts the station’s 60-minute live call-in show. Among Chris’s other responsibilities include reporting on local news & sports stories, conducting “Take 5” interviews with community and political leaders, producing commercials, voiceovers and promos; and generating blog entries and videos on the internet. Click here to listen to the weekly Sports Talk podcast.

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