Okay, you got me internet: I like Stranger Things.
Now, to add context to that statement, I only finished the show today, and I watched it over a large chunk of time (a couple of months). And I never felt the need to binge the whole thing in one marathon. I never got fanatical.
In fact, up to the last episode, I just thought it was okay. Decent.
But then…dammit, Stranger Things got me.
Now, I must say, Stranger Things is not a “new” story. The show is so thoroughly an amalgamation of other creations that the entire thing was a sort of repeat.
But (*spoiler warning*) when Will almost dies, and they try to resuscitate him in The Upside Down, I bawled. I don’t even understand why, still, as I’m writing this, why the scene hit me so hard. I’d had the fact Will would be okay spoiled months ago—I knew Stranger Things would not have a child’s death.
And still, as the scene played out, I clutched my chest, looked at my clenched hand in confusion, and promptly went about sobbing. My whole upper body tried to curl up into itself. I took a solid minute to recover, and only Pixar’s movies can do that to me, usually.
So, clearly, regardless of what I’d assumed about Stranger Things, whatever cynical things I’d thought in my observation of the show: it totally got to me. Wormed right into my heart and sat there.
And if I had to wager why—if I had to figure out my own reasons for that moment of it hitting me in the chest: I’d have to go with the sheer tour de force of acting on display in that scene. Chief Hopper is one of the best characters I’ve seen on television in a long time, and I witnessed Joyce tear herself apart over the course of the entire series looking for her son. And to see them, for a moment, doubt that this kid would survive, broke me.
We don’t spend that much time with Will, but we do with those two. And what they cared about, I cared about, a lot. Something like losing Will happening to Joyce would break me open and shred my insides.
I have a mother too, and I would never want to see her in such emotional… anguish. Even if logically I already understood things would be okay, for a few moments, regardless of my knowledge, the show made me believe in the drama through sheer awesome character writing and excellent scene setup and a whole heck of a lot of buildup. And its reward is I will never forget the show.
And, duh, I will watch season two.
So… yeah, go watch Stranger Things if you haven’t. This is from a holdout. This is from someone who had the plot spoiled.
Go watch it.
Go watch it.
It doesn’t matter if you know what will happen. The story holds up and hits hard, no matter how genre savvy you are. A show can succeed despite a lack of innovation. A show this expertly done can and did tug at the heartstrings of even a character killer like me, armed with my spoilers.
It’s not that hard to believe. After all: stranger things have happened.