In one of those remarkable coincidences that you Just Don’t Question, the release of Season Two of Stranger Things happened on one of my #childfree weekends! Staring directly into the face of this fortuitousness, I decided to take a bash at bingeing the series. It has been Much Time since I last binged anything–having kids tends to eat up your free time–and the closest I’ve come to bingeing anything in recent years is to watch a whole two episodes of a show each night for more than one night consecutively.
With Stranger Things 2 I, at last, had the chance to do it properly. Bear in mind, I didn’t want to just spend nine solid hours on the sofa: I did have some other stuff to do over the weekend, and I did want to savour the show a little bit. In some ways I was reluctant to binge it: it meant that I had to watch some of it during the day, which diminishes the atmosphere a bit, and it meant that it’d be over damn quick. However, the (most likely) alternative was to spend the next two months trying to fit in an episode or two a week …. which really wasn’t ideal either.
So, I hatched a Grand Plan: I would watch three episodes on Saturday (after shopping); three episodes on Sunday morning; then the final three on Sunday night.
And I did it! Which means that this is the point where you might want to look away for fear of spoilers (which I will try to avoid all the same, but they might sneak in all the same) ..
In short, I loved it. Season Two had a huuuge challenge before it: the first season was a massive hit and had the benefit of a deep, underlying mystery to keep driving it along. This time around we already know the score, but we want something as excellent and compelling as the first. Luckily, the Duffer Brothers have a number of aces up their sleeves. First, they have an amazing cast. Second, they have that amazing cast playing some great characters. Finally, with the combination of the Upside Down and the eighties small-town setting, they have a premise that can continue delivering all manner of creepy goings-on. This all makes it sound like it would be hard to fail, but getting all of those pieces into place takes serious skill.
Some of the things I liked most about this season? Eleven, obviously. A number of other characters that I thought were going to go one way, and went another way instead (I always like to be caught out like that). The new characters in general, particularly Max–who was so good that it feels like they should go back and digitally insert her into season one. The wonderful Aliens homage at the end of episode 6. The fact that the entire season could be subtitled: “Dustin Makes Very Bad Choices.”
I liked that all the characters developed in some way or other from season one, but the evolutions that I most appreciated were: Joyce Byers being given more warmth (but no less passion); Will Byers becoming a significant character, instead of a MacGuffin; and Steve Harrington becoming pseudo-Dad (or Big Brother). I also enjoyed the delicate handling of the love triangle between Max, Lucas and Dustin (which could have gone so icky in the wrong hands).
And they even end on a classic prom scene! Just like all good eighties movies should!
So, yeah, I just want to go and watch the whole thing all over again 🙂