Stranger Things

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Bram
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Stranger Things

Post by Bram » Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:11 am

For whatever reason, I've had no interest in this show, even as it's blown up in the media.

I even struggled through the first episode a couple years ago and found it disposable.

But, I watched it on Saturday of the past weekend and was immediately hooked. So far, knocked out the first 5 episodes.

Tight pacing, good characters, an aura of suspense/horror, mysteries continuing to unfold....plus it's a great homage to the 80's with synth-heavy music, awesome props and period costumes, etc.

From what I hear the show dips in the second season, but so far 10/10. On Netflix.
"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Shapecharge
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Re: Stranger Things

Post by Shapecharge » Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:53 pm

Bram, same...the wife and I started watching it last week. I saw something a few days ago that was critical of the series relative to all the smoking. Hilarious...we can recreate the past only so long as we avoid the vices of that time. Makes sense.

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Grandpa's Spells
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Re: Stranger Things

Post by Grandpa's Spells » Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:17 pm

Read complaints about how Hopper developed in S3 that I somewhat agree with, but overall very solid.
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Mickey O'neil
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Re: Stranger Things

Post by Mickey O'neil » Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:25 pm

Fantastic season!

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terra
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Re: Stranger Things

Post by terra » Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:00 am

If you like 'Stranger Things', I Strongly recommend 'Black Spot'. I found the later to be a more nuanced, mature, and stylistic version of 'Stranger Things'.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
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Re: Stranger Things

Post by Boris » Fri Aug 02, 2019 4:55 pm

I'm a fan even though it takes a lot for me to give a thumbs up on a tv-series.

Wynona Rider + 'IT' meets Steven Spielberg + Dungeons and Dragons and assorted 80s nostalgia = a win for me.

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Bram
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Re: Stranger Things

Post by Bram » Fri Aug 02, 2019 6:57 pm

So I finished the show yesterday and am gonna post my thoughts. BTW, at 1:12:00 of the Season 3 finale, there's some extra footage in the credits.

SPOILERS AND CRITICISM INCOMING

Positives

First up, I just want to talk about the outstanding production values -- it looks like an 80's movie, it sounds like an 80's movie, the special effects are top notch. They nailed the outfits, the mall, the arcade, the lighting, etc. There's a scene where Hopper sprays the guards with bullets that looks just like Jack Burton in "Big Trouble in Little China." Murray's mic'd up like Bruce Willis in "Die Hard."

Second, great casting. While there are a few weaker actors, almost everyone is excellent, with there's great chemistry on-screen. It's pretty surprising and is a testament to money, vision and luck. In particular, Dusty and Steve's interactions (love the lightsaber handshake), Murray, Hopper, Eleven, and even Sean Astin as Bob.

Going back to the camera work, I watched all the extras, and they got the steadi-cam operator from Pulp Fiction and their principal camera guy is outstanding too. Out of all the extras this one I thought gave the most insight into what a massive, ground-up undertaking this was.

The story work in Episodes 1-5, Season 1. Super tight, nothing wasted.

Negatives

Starting especially in Season 2 -- insane plot armor. The main characters might take 20 hard punches while unconscious, and a few minutes later are back to 100%. The problem with plot armor is that, for me, it disengages you from fear, or suspense, or anything truly consequential happening. If your heroes are fine, no matter what, then the dramatic tension gets dissipated. This gets even worse in Season 3. Now, you might have B characters get axed, but if you put the mains in danger and no matter what they get out, it makes the show seem fake.

Starting with Episode 6 of Season 1 and continuing through the rest of the show -- wasted storylines and forced emotional tension. There's an entire episode in Season 2, that could have been cut and the story wouldn't have been changed, at all. Constantly creating drama between the heroes also just seemed like fluff, and felt forced. Now they hate each other, now they're friends, now they're separated, now they're not.

Lastly, as the son of a practical special effects worker (my Dad spent 20 years working on Star Wars, Indiana Jones, etc.), the show shifted from 95% practical effects in Season 1 (the creators words), to a lot of CGI in the later season. The problem with CGI is that unless done insanely well, it disengages me from the reality of the world they are creating. The effects are top-notch, but still lack the visceral appeal of the first season.

Season 1 - Episodes 1-5 A
Season 1 - Episodes 6-8 B+/A-
Season 2 - B
Season 3 - B
"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work." - Thich Nhat Hanh

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