Thursday, July 28, 2016

Stranger Things

Does a strange job of plucking all the strings...

I've heard that Netflix analyzes its massive customer usage database to determine what its viewers will pay to see.  The idea makes an interesting sort of sense in a business in the age of big data sort of way, but I've never felt it being done to me. Until now...

Stranger Things, starring Winona Ryder, offers up elements, touches, and tropes from a wide array of 1970-90s SciFi, Romcoms, Horror, and Coming of Age movies.  It riffs on Close Encounters of the Third Kind (frazzled mom desperately seeking her missing son, check!), Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Mia Sara look-alike, check!), E.T. The Extraterrestrial (Drew Barrymore knock-off, blonde pigtails and all, check!), any 
Molly Ringwald movie (gangly redhead with big glasses, check!), Firestarter (psychokinetic waif preyed upon by nameless government agency, check!), Altered States (under water sensory deprivation tank, check!), Poltergeist (Craig T. Nelson stand-in, check!), The Lost Boys (improbably capable pubescent nerds to the rescue, check!), Alien (Giger-esque monster life cycle, check!), The Fury (death by SPOILER, check!), etc., etc...

The "old" cars, dated fashions, and pre-internet technology evokes a strange nostalgia (most of the 80s really were not the good old days).  The storyline is compelling so far.  I'm going to continue binging.  I hope they have sussed out the sort of ending I'll enjoy.

[UPDATE: Yup, they did good. Fun stuff.]

[UPDATE: Sharon Hill @IDoubtIt at Twitter added: "Also X-Files derived, with some Stand By Me." Good points.]

[UPDATE: Others have suggested references to The Goonies, but I'm not quite feeling it...]


  1. The 80s were the decade I first realized that no one is happy to see me.

  2. I originally shied away from the series because the cover art and the description made it sound like what has become the all too common(IMHO) mystic/demon centered plot line. I'll have to give it a second look.
    Have you looked at "Jessica Jones" on Netflix? Suggesting that "superheros" could suffer PTSD was an interesting concept. Also casting David Tennant, on of the recent Doctors was an interesting twist.

  3. I have to admit, I binge watched the crap out of that show. I loved it. Like you said, it hit all the right notes and left me wanting more.