Just started binge watching Stranger Things this morning. Very entertaining 80s tinged sci-fi in a small town. Pretty similar to JJ Abrams Super 8 movie from a few years ago.  Anyone else watching this?

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They were pretty serious about the period props, as this WIRED article spells out.

Since my last post we've seen all eight episodes. Great from beginning to end!

It's so amazing, isn't it? This is really a crown jewel in the Netflix Originals.

I intend to talk about the last episode, so:

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Are we good? Just to make sure, I'll steal a page from The Baron's book with the following photo to give you time to figure out if you're going to continue or not:

If you don't know what that photo is, then you have to turn in your Geek Card™. Seriously, it's a thing that all of us should know. Google it.

OK, on with the comments and questions about the final episode of Stranger Things, as I saw it:

* They held strongly to the '80s scenario and '80s influences consistently right to the end, didn't they? I swear, sometimes I'd get immersed and feel 30 years younger watching this show. (Then the show would end, I'd snap back to 2016, and realize how fudging old I am. Bummer.)

* One of those influences was Alien, from the way the creature's face opened to the egg they found. If Will Byers isn't impregnated with the monster's spawn, I will be very surprised. For one thing, he survived meeting the monster, and no one else did. (See: Barb. See: The "18 people who have gone missing," according to one deputy or other. See: Matthew Modine and all the mad scientists who met the monster.) And, of course, he coughed up a giant sea slug and didn't tell anyone, as if it was as routine as brushing your teeth. This kid is compromised.

* I realized belatedly that the creature being drawn by blood was another movie reference, even older than the '80s: Jaws (1975).

* A great many film critics have made mention of Charlie's photo enthusiasm as a Rear Window reference. I see it as more Blow-Out or other films of the '80s that delved into voyeurism. I seem to remember a few, although I'd be hard-pressed to remember their names. (They were all riffing off Rear Window, of course.)

* I was surprised at the end, when the expected couples did NOT occur. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks and the popular girl did NOT end up a couple. The depressed, alcoholic sheriff did NOT end up with the poverty-stricken, frazzled single mom. What really surprised me is how much I EXPECTED that to be the end. I realized with a jolt how I have been trained by movies to expect these laughably implausible happy-ever-afters. I will have to re-examine my comfortable assumptions in future.

* Part of this was another genre-challenging moment, when the douchebag boyfriend failed to die. Think about it: The scene was set for the sneering, too-rich bf to get offed by the monster, while Charlie and Nancy escaped. That ALWAYS happens, and it usually happens when Douchebag is ratting out or betraying his friends to save his own skin. Instead, Douchebag picked up the bat -- and being an athlete -- knew how to use it to beat the crap out of the monster. (Both Charlie and Nancy proved un-adept with said bat.) When was the last time, post-Goonies, that the high school jock was heroic? As much as this was a show about the '80s, it's more about how the '80s REALLY were, instead of how they were in movies. Stranger Things loves to subvert expectations.

* Nancy just looked weird to me at first. Then I realized what it was is that she was too skinny even for the '80s. She was an older actress, I thought, who just played younger because she was so unnaturally thin. So I looked her up, and yep, she's 21-22. That's not really unusual -- a lot of actors play younger, especially if they are thin -- but she just looked out of place. Meanwhile, the boys -- Douchebag and Charlie -- had the right look. They were thin, but they also looked young. And their jeans didn't fit well. They looked very much like the guys in my high school, whereas Nancy looked like a Bulimia victim who was in college.

* The younger boys, especially Mike and Will, didn't look just '80s, they looked Spielberg '80s.

All in all, I loved the heck out of this show, and will be back for the second season. I do wonder, however, how much of my enthusiasm is founded on nostalgia, instead of actual quality. I honestly don't know. I wonder what millennials (and later) think about this show.

Instead, Douchebag picked up the bat -- and being an athlete -- knew how to use it to beat the crap out of the monster.

I was impressed when the jerk actually came back and did what was necessary. Unlike the cliches, he wasn't irredeemable, just a work in progress. In that context, along with his being her "first," it wasn't unbelievable that Nancy was back with him. 

Last night we watched episode 1. We plan to watch one episode per night until we're caught up. I read this discussion up through Cap's "spoiler" post, so... see you back here next week.

Good luck with that Jeff. After watching episode 1 by myself, my wife joined me the following night for episode 2. She was not buying the "one episode per night" idea. We finished the remaining 6 episodes over the next couple of days.

With each successive episode just one click away, it is tough to not keep watching. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Last night we watched episode 1. We plan to watch one episode per night until we're caught up. I read this discussion up through Cap's "spoiler" post, so... see you back here next week.

Yeah, my wife and I watched it in three sessions.

We watch most of our shows at that rate. We've just finished Wayward Pines at that rate, and Stranger Things is the replacement. After that, we plan to move on to Daredevil (which we've been meaning to get to for a long time now).



Captain Comics said:

I intend to talk about the last episode, so:

spoiler photo spoiler.gif

spoiler photo spoiler.gif

spoiler photo spoiler.gif

spoiler photo spoiler.gif

Are we good? Just to make sure, I'll steal a page from The Baron's book with the following photo to give you time to figure out if you're going to continue or not:

* I was surprised at the end, when the expected couples did NOT occur. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks and the popular girl did NOT end up a couple. The depressed, alcoholic sheriff did NOT end up with the poverty-stricken, frazzled single mom. What really surprised me is how much I EXPECTED that to be the end. I realized with a jolt how I have been trained by movies to expect these laughably implausible happy-ever-afters. I will have to re-examine my comfortable assumptions in future.

* Part of this was another genre-challenging moment, when the douchebag boyfriend failed to die. Think about it: The scene was set for the sneering, too-rich bf to get offed by the monster, while Charlie and Nancy escaped. That ALWAYS happens, and it usually happens when Douchebag is ratting out or betraying his friends to save his own skin. Instead, Douchebag picked up the bat -- and being an athlete -- knew how to use it to beat the crap out of the monster. (Both Charlie and Nancy proved un-adept with said bat.)


I read an interview with the Duffers where they said that they originally planned something that was more predictable with d-bag boyfriend but they ended up liking the actor so much that they rewrote the script for him. Then of course they ended up being more pleased with the rewrites than the original script.

We watched episode two last night. Here are a few observations from the pre-spoiler conversation and what I have watched so far.

On Phones: Yes, telephones were sold at retail outlets such as K-Mart and Target during the timeframe the show is set. They could also be purchased at the local Bell storefront (where you could pay your bill in person if you didn’t pay by mail). Common knowledge held that the Bell phones cost more, but the non-Bell phones were cheaply made. I usually bought phone supplies (jack, wires, etc.) at Radio Shack. I don’t recall buying any phones, but I would have trusted one from Radio Shack.

On Eleven: I’m impressed by the young girl who plays El. I am usually unimpressed by child actors (the others in this series, for example), because they don’t have the life experience to draw on to convey complex emotions. What impresses me about El, however, is that she is able to convey a range of emotions through very little dialogue.

Tracy tells me the girl who was abducted (or whatever) from the diving board in episode two is interested in playing Squirrel Girl on screen. I think she’d make a good one. Tracy also pointed out that she was wearing “stirrup pants.” I noticed that, too (because she dangled her feet in the water), but I didn’t know they were called that.



Jeff of Earth-J said:

On Eleven: I’m impressed by the young girl who plays El. I am usually unimpressed by child actors (the others in this series, for example), because they don’t have the life experience to draw on to convey complex emotions. What impresses me about El, however, is that she is able to convey a range of emotions through very little dialogue.


Yeah. I thought she stole pretty much every scene she was in. Another bit from the interview I read. The actress and her parents were very reluctant to have her head shaved (career concerns) until the producers showed her a clip of Charlize Theron in Mad Max at which point she readily agreed.

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