Stranger Things Season 2 Review

*Spoilers Ahead*

Everyone’s favorite group of Hawkins, Indiana middle schoolers are back together again and facing an even bigger monster in this season of Stranger Things. Netflix released nine new episodes on Friday, and they’re filled with copious amounts of friendship, love, and of course, the supernatural.

After finishing the whole series in one day, I can say that this season lives up to the hype of the first season, and in my opinion is even better than its predecessor.

A majority of the show’s success can be accredited to the innovativeness of its creators: the Duffer Brothers. I mean, how do you bring a fictional midwestern town to life even when you’re filming in Georgia, only one hour outside of Atlanta? How do you perfectly craft an authentic 1980s society in a modern television show? The only answer is the Duffer Brothers’ creativity and attention to detail.

From the beginning of the first episode, the audience is immediately engulfed in living rooms with patterned wallpaper and kitchens with laminate countertops in houses with Reagan Bush signs scattered across their yards. The town of Hawkins itself is occupied by arcades with fluorescent lights and games like Dragon’s Lair and Dig Dug. The stores sell the latest technology: walkie talkies, VCR, and video cameras bigger than the TVs. Middle and high school students roam the halls in their turtleneck sweaters and high waisted, acid washed jeans and brightly colored bomber jackets. There are no Toyota 4Runners or Volvos traversing the streets of Hawkins, instead there are green Ford Pintos and Chevy Blazers. To fully craft this town, the creators had to think of every aspect: the houses, the clothing, the storefronts, the schools, and, of course, the music.

Since the show’s start, music has been vital to the plot line. In season one, “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash links Joyce Byers to her son Will who is stuck in the Upside Down. In season two, there are even more tunes interspersed between scenes. The opening episode features early eighties jams like “Whip It” and “Rock You Like A Hurricane”. Some other popular songs throughout the second season are “Ghostbusters”, “Girls on Film”, “Love is a Battlefield”, “Time After Time”, and “Every Breath you Take”. The success of the first season allowed the Duffer Brothers to acquire the use of these chart toppers and even have artists reach out to them who wanted to see their songs featured in the show.

Season two exceeded season one in my opinion because of its character development and exploration of different relationships between the characters. Steve Harrington experiences the most growth, shifting from a stereotypical, popular jock to a caring, compassionate protector. In the original idea for the series, Steve wasn’t even going to make it through the whole first season, and now he has become someone that Hawkins wouldn’t be the same without and a new fan favorite.

The Duffer Brothers explore these interactions between characters such as with Steve and Dustin, Hopper and Eleven, and Nancy and Jonathan as a way to add excitement and create deeper levels of meaning in the new season. In these nine episodes, they analyze how new friendships form, what drives people to fall in or out of love, and what constitutes a family. The friendships and romances provide comic relief during intense scenes and emotional responses during the final episode. They truly are the greatest and most unlikely thing to come from season two.

Although the series relies heavily on suspense and an eerie aesthetic, the moments of comedy in the seasons need to be appreciated too. The Duffer Brothers create ingenious scenes like in episode six when Nancy and Jonathan visit Murray Bauman to lighten the mood of the show and develop relationships. Some of my other favorite amusing season two scenes include Max racing down the road in the ’78 Chevy Camero LT to save her friends, Dustin running away from a monster wearing vintage hockey goalie gear, Steve’s reunion with his baseball bat, Mrs. Henderson’s love for her fluffy cat, and¬†Billy showing up at Mrs. Wheeler’s door to look for his sister.

Stranger Things is one of the best modern television shows because of its use of nostalgia to connect younger generations and generations of people who actually lived through the wonderful decade of the 80s. Every element of the show pays homage to the time period and classic films that were released during that era. Season Two was beyond a success in my books, and I can’t wait to see what the Duffer Brothers come up with for future seasons.¬†Until then, everyone should watch season one and two that are on Netflix as well as the show about the creation of the series called Beyond Stranger Things.

Enjoy your time in Hawkins, Indiana!