STRANGER THINGS takes place in a small Indiana town in 1983. It begins with the disappearance of a young boy named Will. As the search for Will continues, unusual things happen all over the town. A young girl appears out of what seems to be nowhere, on the run from something and possessing telekinetic powers. In the first season, the townspeople confronting these strange occurrences eventually must join forces to combat evil forces from another dimension.
STRANGER THINGS is a Netflix original series. The first season’s scripts are very well written. The basic story captures the viewer’s attention immediately and continues to build throughout the season. The first season contains elements of telekinesis and references to other dimensions, but the references to an “upside down” dimension can easily be considered a metaphor for another spiritual realm where evil beings dwell. Some episodes contain a significant amount of foul language. Also, some of the violence and images are disturbing or scary, and a couple early episodes make references to teenage sexual behavior. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises strong and extreme caution concerning STRANGER THINGS.
In 1983 in a small town in Indiana, in STRANGER THINGS: The First Season, four young boys are wrapping up their tenth hour of playing an intense game of Dungeons and Dragons. As they part ways on their bicycles, Will sees a strange figure in the road, turns into the woods and quickly goes to his house. The next day, his mother Joyce realizes Will didn’t come home the night before and begins her frantic search for him.
When the police seem to not be moving quick enough, Will’s three friends take it upon themselves to locate him. At the same time, there are top-secret experiments happening at a nearby science lab that are beginning to raise questions. Escaping from this lab through an underground tunnel, a young girl appears in the woods, running into Will’s friend, Mike. Mike and the others take her back to his house, but she doesn’t seem to speak and only has a tattoo on her arm with her name on it which says “011” or Eleven.
Meanwhile, Mike’s sister Nancy is developing feelings for a boy in school named Steve. Wanting to hang out with him, she drags her friend, Barb, to his house for a party while his parents are away. Taken by her raging teenage hormones, she abandons her friend by the pool to go be with Steve. Now dark outside, with the woods very close nearby, a strange creature flashes by the house, and suddenly Barb is gone. The next day, Nancy can’t find Barb, and she’s beginning to become concerned.
Will’s mom continues to look for him and is becoming convinced he’s trying to communicate with him by the lights in the house. The sheriff in town is doing his own investigation. He’s discovering more and more suspicious activity going on around the town, specifically surrounding the science lab.
While everyone is investigating on their own, Eleven is helping Mike and his friends find Will, after she recognized him from a photo in Mike’s room. Just when they think they’re beginning to make headway finding him, the police find the body of a young boy in a nearby quarry.
Unconvinced the body is her son, Joyce refuses to sign the paper at the morgue and keeps trying to communicate with Will by using the lights in her house. The sheriff, prone to believe the crazy stories that Joyce is telling him, investigates further into the body and into the laboratory in town.
Meanwhile, Nancy teams up with Will’s brother, Jonathan after she sees a strange creature in a photo that he took of Barb the night she disappeared. Mike and his friends are continuing to search for Will, with the help of Eleven, who has something to do with this creature who is terrorizing the town. As everyone realizes they’ve been working on the same case, they all come together to fight the evil that has entered their dimension.
STRANGER THINGS is a Netflix original series. The first season contains eight episodes ranging from about 45 minutes to almost an hour. The scripts are very well written, with an overarching story that captures the viewer’s attention immediately and continues to build throughout the series. The series captures a 1980’s vide with a nostalgic flare that is very appealing and harkens back to classic Spielberg movies.
The episodes draw viewers in immediately and holds them on the edge of their seat from first to last. The children actors are some of the best in television. There are some elements such as the “Upside Down” that seem supernatural, and there’s much more about this other dimension than is revealed in the show. For example, the “Upside Down” also plays as an allegory similar to what Ephesians 6:12 reveals, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Thus, there’s darkness and evil in our world that needs to be fought with goodness and light.
Having a primarily moral, redemptive worldview, STRANGER THINGS portrays good overcoming evil, and shows that friendship, love and loyalty are characteristics that will lead to success. However, STRANGER THINGS has quite a few images that could be very disturbing or scary to a younger viewer, as well as some strong doses of foul language and violence from time to time. Also, a few early episodes make references to immoral teenage sexual behavior. Episode 3 in particular has a bedroom scene that can easily be fast forwarded. Consequently, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for viewers who might consider watching this series.
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