With the newest season of Stranger Things coming out at the end of the month I wanted to give myself a refresher for what happened throughout the series so far. I haven’t really thought about anything that’s happened since the third season premiered. That’s the main problem with Netflix shows, they’re only worried about the initial release but aren’t worried about extended discussions about the shows. This season of the show was an anomaly because upon its release and weeks after I would hear about how good it was.
This is probably the fourth time that I’ve seen the first season of Stranger Things. One of the things I’ve noticed upon my more recent rewatches is the mispronunciation of Roane, which is named after a county near where I live. Its pronounced in the show as Ro-An but should be pronounced as Roan, which is roam but ending with an n rather than an m. A lot of the background stuff for this season is based on government secrets including MK Ultra. The Duffer Brothers did a great job of combing all of the influences into a cohesive mix.
Out of the cast of the first season there are some outstanding performances. David Harbour is amazing in this season. He plays Hopper with an underlying rage that permeates everything he does. You get hints of his tragic backstory, which leads to his rage. Winona Ryder is also fantastic in this season, though she barely gets to do more grieve and cry, but she does it incredibly well. Joe Keery does a great job with shifting his character from preppy asshole to repentant asshole. That leads his character to where he will be in the other seasons. Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, and Caleb McLaughlin all put in great performances. I personally enjoy Matarazzo and how his character the most. Millie Bobby Brown knocks it out of the as Eleven and how stifled and awkward.
One thing I do remember about this season that differs from the next season is the use of practical effects. From what I remember of season two is that there’s an overreliance on CG especially for sets. The upside down looks to be mostly practical with CG elements. The Demogorgon is a combination of practical and CG effects. The music by Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon is synth-based goodness.
Stranger Things season 1 is what happens when you mix 80s movie nostalgia with Stephen King stories. I hope that my description doesn’t sound like a knock against it because not only do I live Stephen King stories but I’m all for 80s movie nostalgia. There’s so much to like about this season that you can’t help but want more. I remember the second season kind of loses the plot and seems to ramble and roam around. I’ll see if I still feel that way upon my next rewatch. You can stream it on Netflix. I give Stranger Things season 1 9.5 d20s out of 10.