Stranger Things Season 2 Review

Things have gotten even stranger in Hawkins…

Aden Morvice, Writer are hard to get right.  This was especially the concern with the hype and anticipation that surrounded the second season of Stranger Things. The pop culture show took the back half of 2016 by storm. Due to this, everything was riding on this second season. The Duffer Brothers, the creators of this show, made an eight-hour movie last year and were hoping for a cinematic sequel this year. There are very few sequels that are better or even on-par with their previous, fantastic installments. Aliens did it, The Empire Strikes Back did it, and…Stranger Things mostly did it.

The Duffer Brothers are not one-hit wonders. They have crafted a sequel that is bigger, weirder, cooler, and almost better than the original. This is not to say that everything works perfectly in the second season, but when it does, it is seamless entertainment and craftsmanship.

Much like the previous season, the show relies on 80’s nostalgia. In the first episode, the show includes nods to arcade games such as “Dragon’s Lair” and “Dig Dug,” displays marquees depicting Terminator, and includes a plethora of 80’s hits such as “Rock You Like A Hurricane” and “Whip It.”  In addition, The Duffer Brothers also add subtle references to other 80’s era films and shows.  The final episodes of the season includes seamless homages to The Goonies, Jurassic Park, and The Exorcist.

Compared to the first season, this season might appear to be a bit slower to some viewers. The first two and a half episodes are a lot of build-up but, once the actions hits, it doesn’t slow down. This all leads to a climax that is so edge-of-your-seat quick, it will make last season’s final episodes feel like a walk in the park.

One of the few flaws of the second season is its need to please fans. Nancy and Jonathan spend the first five episodes mostly doing “something” (spoiler free) to only please heartbroken fans from last year. While this may please some unhappy fans from the first season, it mainly comes across as forced and redundant.

The actors in the show continue to impress.  The performers who do the best work this season are Millie Bobby Brown, who plays the fan favorite Eleven, David Harbor who plays our adult hero Chief Hopper, and surprisingly Noah Schnapp who is absolutely fantastic this season, after having to be saved as Will last year  Also, Joe Kerry as Steve Harrington sees a tremendous amount of positive character development this season.   Unfortunately, Winona Ryder and Finn Wolfhard as Joyce and Mike, respectively, dominate the screen less than they did in the past.  Each comes across as mostly irrelevant until the final episodes.  However, everybody, in front of and behind the camera, does their own job perfectly in creating an almost flawless show.

The show does an excellent job which has left fans eagerly anticipating a third season.  It is clear after two seasons that Stranger Things is here to stay.