By Tim Drenckhan
The obscurity arrives in your Netflix account
Retro lights, arcade games and mullets are bringing the 80s feeling back into your living room with the second season of Netflix’s highly anticipated TV show – Stranger Things. The darkness from another dimension is now back on its way to make the viewer feel frightened again. The Duffer brothers have continued with their unique setting – combining teenager’s life and supernatural activities. But is the feeling still the same?
The show returned in ultra high definition on Halloween and was perfectly suitable for an extended Netflix evening. The season features nine cliff-hanging hour-long chapters, which made it impossible for me to stop watching. Apart from a few new characters, everything remained the same and the gang is now back on it’s mission to defeat the evil.
Everything starts one year after the tragic incidents of season one, and Will is having difficulties becoming normal again. He is treated like an odd person in school and is getting chased by the darkness from another dimension. The other kids are struggling with their emotions and the younger boys are also confronted with the topic of love. In particular, ‘Madmax’, a girl who recently moved to the town, is creating trouble in the group.
As for the main actors Winona Ryder consistently suits the role of an anxious working-class single mother who’s constantly overwhelmed by her feelings. She is psychologically supported by her new love Bob Newby (Sean Astin), who some of you may know as Sam from Lord of the Rings, and her old friend chief Jim Hopper alias David Harbour. The head of police is often represented as a rough person but also insightful when it comes to his beloved ones. He is fighting to save Will’s life and tries to protect the gang from danger. It’s worth noting that the children’s cast was chosen by a video contest and nobody of them is really popular in the film industry, but they act like they have more experience in front of the camera than they do. In particular Eleven reaches extensive emotional states and is acted in an outstanding way by Millie Bobby Brown.
The whole story is often captured in close proximity shots with modern camera techniques. In many situations the image is at first focused around a small angle, which then expands to emphasize the vastness of the new threat/danger. Among these features many quick cuts are used to show that the action is taking place in different locations at the same time with a high rapidity. All in all, the TV show perfectly integrates in the Netflix collection and is part of modern Americanized culture.
Stranger Things is, once again, showing how the government may operate behind our backs, and makes you think about what is happening secretly in today’s society. Honestly, I can’t think of another hybrid form which combines all these different genres in such a gorgeous way. Supernatural powers, teenager’s life and covert operations by the government accompanied with diversified music episodes, which sometimes gave me goose bumps. The sound features some vintage 80’s tunes but also precise arpeggios, atmospheric polyphonic leads and dark analog sounds which envelop the whole scenery.
After ten hours of continuous watching I can truly say that the second season isn’t as creepy as the first one but Stranger Things fans will fall in love with it. The show hasn’t lost it’s outstanding character and even if you weren’t born in the American eighties you would like to travel back in time to this charming atmosphere. A time without cell phones and vinyl instead of Spotify.