Another year is almost at an end. Right now we are slowly moving into the summer season, which means that it won’t be long before we reach the final cold months before 2020. And with another year, we get another season of the hit Netflix show, Stranger Things, which still remains to be one of the streaming services most inventive and lucrative properties.
And I mean – lucrative. In fact, this season of the show proves to be the most cinematic yet, with a larger budget and more inventive camera work than ever seen before. Honestly I can now see why shows such as Jessica Jones suffer from such blatant cheapness when Netflix pours most of its money into shows such as this. But that’s honestly not a complaint, because this season is both vast and beautiful in equal measure. In fact, this season feels more like a long movie than it does an eight part drama – encapsulating the best of the 80’s nostalgia.
Set during the summer of 1985, the story focuses on our wide cast of characters having to now battle the Russian Government, as well as a newly resurrected Mind Flayer. And overall the season demonstrates the usual Duffer Brothers talent. Not only do they juggle a wide range of storylines and characters, but they also extend and deepen the unique mythology they have constructed for their own little world.
Once again the cast proves to be one of the best ensembles working in television today, with both Winona Ryder and Millie Bobby Brown delivering their usual powerhouse performances. In fact, Brown’s performance once again demonstrates how likeable and engaging Eleven is as a character – with her arc of developing her own identity being one of the most touching in this season’s narrative. Her friendship with Max also proves to be another empathetic moment in the show. Giving the show a well-deserved female friendship that feels both genuine and familiar. While Ryder’s Joyce continues to demonstrate both strength and determination, facets rarely given to the maternal matriarch of the show.
In terms of the male talent, both Dacre Montgomery and David Harbour should also be acclaimed for their performances. In this instance Montgomery continues to play the handsome yet unhinged Billy, but now also being influenced by the Mind Flayer’s evil. And Montgomery plays the divisive role with a rawness that actually makes Billy sympathetic, giving the character some much needed depth after his one-note role in season two. While Harbour’s Hopper continues to be a character who does what needs to be done. Although he does suffer from being portrayed somewhat negatively this season, the overall arc the character embarks on makes the journey with him worth it.
The show also continues to make numerous allusions to the 80’s time period, with this season referencing classics such as Alien, Back to the Future, Day of the Dead and even Exorcist – making it a true treat for any hardcore film fan.
However, the series does seem to have difficulty this season juggling the large cast, with favourites such as Nancy and Jonathan sadly falling into the background in terms of story and development. The show also continues to inject more and more supporting members into the narrative, with characters such as Erica being much more prominence in the overall season. This is fine, especially with new characters such as Robin having time to steal the show, but it does make me wonder if this show will be too overpacked by the time it finishes it’s run?
But overall Stranger Things delivers on yet another strong and solid season, I am interested to see where the show will go next, and if it will indulge more in the body horror it introduced this season. Although season three may not live up to the standard of season one, or pack as many punches as season two – it still gives a fan what they want.