I was going to write this whole review while I was upside down, but I realized early on that it was too much work. The blood rushing to my brain might have been another factor. Anyway, here is my upright, spoiler-free review of Stranger Things season 2.
Stranger Things was my favorite new TV show of last year. I figured it was going to be good when I saw the first trailer, but I didn’t expect it to be so good that I’d binge it in two days. Everything about the 80’s infused series hit every note perfectly for me.
Then season 2 was announced for late 2017 and I absolutely lost my freaking mind. The wait was horrifyingly painful, but even a two year wait would have been worth it. Why is Stranger Things season 2 so damn amazing?
There really isn’t one single thing that causes Stranger Things 2 to succeed. All the ingredients in this season add something special to the dish, even if you don’t realize you’re tasting them.
We got an extra episode this season, bringing us up to nine total episodes. If you’ve watched the first season (stop reading this and go watch it if you haven’t yet), then you know the series is more of an extended movie than it is a TV series. That’s why it’s almost impossible to put down; there isn’t really a good stopping point when you reach the end of an episode.
Every actor pours their soul into the performances, with some of the most genuine acting I’ve seen in the last few years. Noah Schnapp (Will Byers) who barely got any screen time on the first season absolutely rocks his performance. I don’t know if I’ve ever had an actor of his age bring out so much emotion in me. All of the young actors in this show seriously deserve awards. Each of the kids, including some new faces, give the adults some competition. It’s amazing that Netflix was able to find this much talent across the age spectrum.
Winona Ryder (Joyce Byers) gets a wider range of emotions to work with this season and David Harbour (Jim Hopper) makes a worthy return as a fan favorite. There are quite a few new characters in this season, including Sean Astin’s Bob Newby, and they all feel like they’ve always been part of the show. The chemistry between paired actors seems so natural. It just works.
The characters provide the faces to root for and hate, but they aren’t the only stars here. The production values have skyrocketed this season, but not for visual-sake only. They aid the story rather than hinder it. I never felt like things were done just to be flashy or to show off. Yes, they have a much larger budget this time around, but the story lends itself to that.
Accompanying the incredible art direction and set design is an amazing soundtrack. The original score turns the first season’s upside down and kicks it into a tunnel to rot (don’t get me wrong, I still love the first season’s soundtrack). Additionally, the old school tracks that they’ve picked for the show add another dimension of legitimacy that simply wouldn’t have been there without them.
I was wrong, the single biggest thing this show has going for it is the general vibe you get from watching it. It really is an experience like few others. The cinematography, sound design, and just about every aspect of this show draws you into these characters’ lives.
I personally think Stranger Things just cemented itself as Netflix’s best series after this incredible season. Go check it out and decide for yourself.
I thought the first season of Stranger Things was nearly perfect. Season 2 builds off what we saw the first time around and drives a car through it. The Duffer Brothers know how to make a high quality production without coming across as pretentious or preachy. Even though I just finished this season, I’m ready to jump back in to watch it again. It’s that good.