|Image via Vulture|
Fans of the era's genre films will spot plenty of visual and narrative homages in Stranger Things, from the synthesizer-driven score and the Stephen King-style title card to the presence of eighties mainstays Winona Ryder and Matthew Modine in major roles. There are shout-outs to movies such as Poltergeist, The Goonies, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and Less Than Zero, and to pop-culture touchstones from X-Men comics to Dungeons & Dragons.More, if only slightly, than a mere nostalgia machine, Stranger Things aimed to subvert at least one horror trope -- the sexually active teenager will be murdered -- and possibly a second if we consider the wealthy, entitled sport/prep boyfriend has no redeeming features. (The latter, I suppose it could be argued, wasn't crying out for subversion.)
Not a classic, but if a summer read is a thing, then I'd call this a serviceable summer series. Flawed, but not fatally. For example, Winona Ryder didn't really get a chance to shine until the back half of the series, but her character finally got a little room to breathe, so she wasn't completely wasted. Did the "upside-down" parallel dimension make sense? No.
Black Mirror and Les Revenants have been languishing in my queue, think I'm going to finish them off before I finally give Breaking Bad a try.