I watched all eight episodes of Stranger Things on Netflix, and I can’t say for certain that I recommend it. The story does show potential, but it fails to live up to its promises. For one thing, the filmmakers seem to have confused filling time with building suspense. Waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop feels more like waiting in line at the DMV. Worse, when the writers can’t find a reasonable way to get the characters out of a tight spot, they just cut to a different scene with other characters and come back when the endangered characters are already safe, without explaining how they got to safety.
The final episode seemed to leave some room for a second season, but so far there is only the one season. The acting is top notch, including performances by Winona Ryder and David Harbour. Matthew Modine makes a great villain, but the writers didn’t give him much material to work with.
One of its many flaws is that Stranger Things failed to select a target audience. Is it a show for adults, or teens, or children? Yes. It uses a shotgun approach that attempts to appeal to viewers of all ages, but in the end it fails to satisfy any age group. Children will not appreciate the distraught mother or the teenage sex scene. Teens will not appreciate the children riding bicycles everywhere while they hunt a mythical monster. Adults might feel warmly toward the children and teens, but they will not take kindly to the screen time that they take away from adult interactions. In fact, while the adults attempt to solve the mystery, the children do most of the leg work and refuse to tell their parents what they are up to.
I’m not saying that this show as a waste of time, but it promised much more than it delivered.