I never review television of any kind, not because I’m above television, but because my attention span normally can’t withstand following a show for season after season without getting closure or what have you. With Netflix Original Series’, I get freely told, usually uncensored storytelling in a way I want and like as an adult. When I heard about the 8-episode sci-fi mystery series that people couldn’t get enough of I had to give it at least one try. Turns out that one try turned into a mere night and a half of binge watching one of the most entertaining shows I’ve watched since Daredevil.
The original show follows a small town in Indiana during the 80’s and the mystery that surrounds the disappearance of a young boy. With inspiration from nearly all the classic 80’s films and novels by Stephen King, Spielberg, and John Carpenter, we were able to follow the townsfolk search in different ways for a boy that isn’t just lost, but simply not there…or is he? While the rating is TV-14, the suspense and imagery for the early episodes are suspenseful and spine chilling.
The cast that includes a paranoid Winona Rider (who’s terrific) as well as David Harbour, Matthew Modine, as well as some incredibly talented kids. Everyone serves as an enthralling and well developed character which is rare in both TV and film most of the time, but you get a realistic sense of who the characters are and which era they live in. The kids actually sound and act like kids as they swear and go on dangerous adventures like nerdy boys and girls would do, but they are also naturally funny and sensible in their roles which makes you want to follow them for at least another season. The adults are the same thing with Rider giving which may be her best performance in years since I saw her in Beetlejuice, but the break out star is a young girl of few words.
The real show stealer is Millie Brown, a young girl with a shaved head and telekinetic powers and every scene she delivers feels like you’re watching a young Natalie Portman. She’s terrific and emotionally captivating beyond her years as an actor with more to be seen if she continues to take on acting as a permanent profession. Her presence brought a gravitas to a show that was great without her, but she only elevates the cast and the plot like you would have hoped for from a show we all seem to rave about, but if I had a small qualm with the show, it had nothing to do with the acting.
I jokingly told my mom that you could make a great drinking game out of the series for how many nods to 80’s sci-fi film the show makes and not many will catch them all, but if you’re like me, you will see them like the kids see monsters. That’s the only real gripe I would have and that’s not even a real issue, it’s just that the head nods to old films can be cool once in awhile, but at some points film makers and creators have to be careful that they don’t completely steer away from the originality of their already terrific storylines at hand. Other than that, the show is a pure success that has room to grow into one of the many other great Netflix series that they have and has the options to go in all different directions if they wanted too.