Monday, November 13, 2017

Now on Netflix: Stranger Things, Season 2 (2017)

Stranger Things, Season 2 (2017) - Created by Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer; Starring Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Sean Astin, Paul Reiser.

By Kenny Howell

The Duffer brothers had a huge task at hand.

They had to follow up one of the most popular shows of the last 10 years, one of which had no pressure when it was released because it was plopped down with little to no fanfare, the Netflix way.

For the most part, they are able to retain that formula that made it so popular the first go around, keeping that infectious, fun tone. I wasn't one of those people that had to binge watch the show first time around, but I can't deny it had a certain watchability that was hard to turn off. I mean I could turn it off, but still, I get it.

The second season is pretty similar to the first. The upside down is still messing with Will (Noah Schnapp), and the kids jump in to help figure out how to rid their friend of the monsters on the other side. Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) is being hid out by Sheriff Hopper (David Harbour) in a cabin in the woods for her safety, so no nefarious people get to her. In her place, is a new girl in the school that instantly catches the boys attentions because she is good at arcade games. Her name is Max (Sadie Sink), and she goes along with the boys despite them being sort of stalkery against her. Will's mom Joyce (Winona Ryder) also has a new boyfriend, a dorky guy named Bob played by Sean Astin, which I think is a way to cram some more nostalgia in there.

I think that series slightly misjudged what made it so popular this first time go around. The whole upside down is interesting enough, but it isn't totally original. What sold the first season so well was the kids, and the second season really deals more with the supernatural elements instead of the awkward kids being awkward kids. There is a balance there, and the Duffer brothers don't quite find it in season two.

However, they do know how to tell a story, the kids are still good, Harbour is still good, and that watchability is still there. But that's only going to go so far. You have to wonder at what point they have to seriously shake things up, because I think it is getting close to being there.

The first two seasons of Stranger Things is now streaming on Netflix.

Rating: **1/2

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