Weekly Blog November 5th, 2017: Stranger Things

*** WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR STRANGER THINGS SEASON 1 AND 2 ***

Hello Internet!

I hope you had a wonderful week. I’m sure many of you are still coming off of a sugar high since Halloween was last week. Maybe you marathoned movies or went to a Halloween party. Whatever you did, I hope it was awesome and that you had a good time. I’m glad you are spending this time reading the stuff I write. If you are new here, I want to welcome you. Or even if you aren’t new here, thanks for coming back. Sundays are my usual Weekly Blog days. There are also creative writing pieces released throughout the week: New Chapters of Pokemon Fanfiction which parallels the Pokemon Sun and Moon Games on Wednesdays and Creative Writing Pieces based off of Writing Prompts on Fridays. We had a lot of Halloween and spooky stuff posted this past week so make sure you spend a little time on the website checking out that kind of stuff if you like. There’s a ton of stuff to check out, so I’m sure you will find something you’ll enjoy. Again thank you for spending some time on my website and viewing my stuff. Your views, likes, comments, and shares mean the world to me and really brighten my day!

Now if you’re like me, the end of October was not just about Halloween and Trick-or-Treating. It was all about the return of one of Netflix’s best shows: Stranger Things. I’d to take a moment to reiterate my warning before I go any further. This Weekly Blog will contains SPOILERS for Stranger Things Season 1 and 2. If you have not seen this Netflix Original, I’d highly recommend. If you love Science Fiction, Horror, the 1980s, and/or Steven Spielberg Movies (think ET), then you’ll love Stranger Things. Even if you don’t particularly like any of those things, I still think you should give it a try. If it doesn’t hook you by episode 3 or 4 of Season 1, then you can give it up. But I’m pretty sure it will hook you episode 1 just like it hooked me. Honestly, it’s probably the best Netflix Original (shots fired at House of Cards…also RIP House of Cards). Ok now that you’ve binged watched all of Stranger Things and Stranger Things 2, let’s talk about how great it was and our favorite parts. This Weekly Blog is going to heavily focus on Season 2 of Stranger Things, but I do want to talk a little bit about Season 1 as well because you need to have Season 1 to set everything up that will be important in Season 2.

First I want to talk about the setting. I am a huge fan of the Hawkins, Indiana in the early 1980s. As someone who loves 80s movies, this falls perfectly into any of those settings. Hawkins feel like every small, Midwestern town while also feeling like a Stephen King’s East Coast Town. You have a small town where kids are allowed to ride bikes by themselves to and from school, but big enough to have a major governmental building with a bizarre secret hiding below the surface, an arcade, grocery store, movie theater, and library. It feels big enough to house all of these characters and a local ecosystem while also being small enough where a boy’s disappearance or the apparent suicide of a local restaurant owner is completely unheard of. I think that Hawkins, Indiana feels like the idealistic, quaint Midwestern town people would love to live in. That is until, they realize what is lying underneath the surface. Also the 1980s is the perfect period where Americans are still rallied together wanting to defeat The Soviet Union and the government is trying anything in its arsenal to stay ahead of the Communists.

Now let’s talk characters because there is a huge list of characters and they are all amazing. I feel like I should talk about the four kids who are the main characters of the show, but I want to say that my favorite characters are Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and Hopper (David Harbour.) Their father-daughter relationship in Season 2 melts my heart. I love them so much! Honestly I feel like I could write a whole Weekly Blog about their relationship, but first let me talk about the four boys because they are the “main characters” among this crazy cast of characters which all have their own character arcs. So the four boys are Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), and Will (Noah Schnapp). These four all have great chemistry with each other both on screen and off. They seem like they are lifetimes friends and their group dynamic works really well. The first season is all about Will being missing and in The Upside Down. This causes the other boys to join together and search for Will. Their group dynamic becomes complicated when Eleven shows up and a connection grows between here and Mike. Lucas and Mike go head to head while the stress of Will being missing grows. The whole group dynamic gets shuffled going into Season 2. Will and Mike become closer as they try to figure out what is going on with Mike. Lucas and Dustin friendship becomes strained when they develop a love triangle with the new girl, Max (Sadie Sink) (who I’ll talk about in a moment.) All of this comes to a head when the boys must come together with Max to fix Will and distract the Demo Dogs to allow Hopper and Eleven get to the portal. Mike and Eleven’s relationship grows deeper when they are reunited after almost a year away from one another. Dustin and Steve form a bromance all about hair products, Lucas and Max end up falling for each other, and Will… well of my only complaints about Stranger Seasons 1 and 2 is that Will Byers gets screwed over. Like for almost the entire first season he’s stuck in the Upside Down holding on to life and communicating with his mom through the lights. Season 2 he is experiencing scary “now memories,” being haunted by a shadow monster, and coloring elaborate maps of roots spewing out of Hawkins National Laboratory. All of these other characters get these amazing story arcs where they get to develop all of these new relationships. They go on all these adventures. And then there is Will Byers. In the second Season 2 he has the introspective parts and the more serious parts, but he just kind of just hangs out in his house and talks to his Mom about his visions. He does get to have conversations with Bob (Sean Astin), but I give more credit to Bob rather it being a focus on Will. Altogether I love all four of these kids and the story arcs they have. I can’t wait to see what Season 3 has in store of the boys. I’m hoping that Will gets to jump into the action instead of sitting on the sidelines.

Now let me talk about my favorite characters of Stranger Things: Eleven and Hopper. By far these two characters were my favorite from Season 1. Both had these broken stories which led them to be scarred and distant from others. Eleven was the naive girl just trying to survive and escape the government people holding her hostage. She was just learning about the outside world and developing the friendship/relationship between her and Mike. Plus she has Psychic powers which makes her this force of change within the town of Hawkins. She’s the one who opens the portal which releases the Demogorgon and leads to Will’s abduction to the Upside Down. She represents the unknown while also being a catalyst for the entire show. Contrast that with Hopper. While Eleven gets her power from her Psychic powers, Hopper represents the traditional power. He’s a small town Police Chief tasks with keeping order in a post-Eleven world. He’s supposed to keep the Status Quo in Hawkins, Indiana, but Eleven comes along and flips the status quo on it head. (I wanted to make an Upside Down reference, but I held back.) Season 2 brings their relationship to a whole new level when Eleven shows up and Hopper tasks himself in keeping her safe. They develop a Father-Daughter relationship which is a sore spot for both of them. Eleven’s Papa was a maniac who imprisoned her and used her powers for his own gain. Hopper lost his daughter to cancer and he still misses her dearly. So they kind of fill holes in each other’s heart and it’s adorable and makes me cry a little bit. The conflict of Hopper trying to keep her protected and away from people and her need to reach out, contact Mike, and just live a normal life leads to a lot of headbutting. They are both such powerful characters that when they clash, you can feel the tension. That relationship is great on one level because of the writers and they vision for the show, but it is even better because the actors playing Eleven and Hopper are so good. I can not overstate how great they are.

Now my third favorite character of Stranger Things is Steve (Joe Keery). Steve starts as a jerk/jock who is dating Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer) (Mike’s Sister) at the beginning of the show. He makes out with Nancy in the bathroom, sneaks into her bedroom so they can “study”, invites her over to his house when his parents are away, and is generally not the best person. This all changes near the end of Season 1 when Steve helps Nancy take down the Demogorgon using a baseball bat with nails in it. He has a bit of a redemption arc starting in Season 1 which comes to the forefront in Season 2. Steve goes from Nancy’s “Bad Boy” Boyfriend with great hair to Group Mom/Babysitter when Dustin drags Steve into helping Him, Lucas, and Max fight the Demodogs (one of which used to be a tiny slug that Dustin found). His arc in Season 2 and his relationship with Dustin changes him from a minor, background character to a foreground character that I love. He has some of the best moments filled with his classic charm and wit. Again I believe this is a mix between the showrunners and the actor. He really lives this personality and makes it believable which adds depth to the character. At the end of Season 2, Steve and Nancy are broke up and Steve’s future is hanging in the balance. He’ll be graduating High School soon and it’s unsure whether or not he’ll stay in Hawkins, Indiana. I’m interested what will happen in Season 3. I hope Steve continues to be connected with the kids as well as an arc which expands upon his own identity as a character. We’ll just have to see.

I’m almost done talking about characters (again, there is so much I’m not able to get to and there are so many characters I could talk about in depth), but before I’m done, I have to talk about two of the new characters added this season. First I want to talk about “Mad Max.” Max is a red-headed girl from California who shows up at the beginning of the season. She’s a skater girl who’s good at Dig Dug and has an abusive brother. Lucas and Dustin start crushing on this girl who’s great at video games and has a fiery temper. Max is a great addition to the group. Eleven was the “group’s girl” in Season 1, but she was obviously Mike’s love interest and she was the center of the conflict. In Season 2, Max becomes this “group’s girl” which sets up a love triangle between her, Lucas, and Dustin. Seeing Max trying to adapt to Hawkins, Indiana while also being exposed to the world of the Upside Down and the Shadow Monster has its parallels to Eleven’s arc in Season 1, but takes it in a new direction. Max and Lucas end the Season 2 presumably together after they kiss at the Snowball (the school’s annual dance), so I’m guessing we’ll see a lot more of her in Season 3 alongside Lucas and the rest of the gang. Now that the group has Eleven back, Will is presumably better, and Max is here to stay. All of this will affect the group members and their dynamic going forward in Season 3.

The other new character that really stole the spotlight was Bob. Bob started out the Season as Joyce Byers’ (Winona Ryder) (Will’s Mother) boyfriend. He’s Bob the Brain. Just a nice, kind of boring guy who works for Radio Shack and represents a normal life which Joyce longs for. After the craziness of losing Will to the Upside Down and fighting to get him back, Joyce wants something normal and stable. Bob is that foundation he craves. And yeah Bob might be a little boring, but he is good with Will and tries to understand Will’s anxiety around his “Now-Memories” and his flashes of the Upside Down. Throughout the Season, Bob becomes the grounded character that keeps the Byers family and their issues grounded. Eventually Bob gets wrapped up in Will’s visions and the impeding doom coming from the Shadow Monster crossing over to our world. Bob ends up helping Joyce locate Hopper when he’s trapped in the Shadow Monster’s tunnels and goes with Will and Joyce to the Hawkins Lab when Will’s condition worsens. There the Demodogs end up attack and (SERIOUS SPOILERS AHEAD!!) Bob ends up getting killed by one of the Demodogs after helping everyone else escape. Bob sacrifices himself to get Will and Joyce out of the building and away from the Demodogs. He died a hero to everyone. So it is unlikely we will being seeing Bob in Season 3 unless it’s in some kind of flashback. It upsets me that Bob had to die, but it did seem inevitable. The evil of the Upside Down is growing and this shows that it is a serious threat. Bob may not be around anymore, but his heroism will send shock waves throughout the rest of the show. Also Bob’s death has also reopened the door to a possible Hopper and Joyce relationship down the road so I guess there is a silver lining to his end.

Well I guess I’m done talking characters. There is so much more I could get into. The fact that I’ve barely talked about Joyce and how great an actress Winona Ryder is in both seasons, makes me said. But if have watched the show (which hopefully you have), you’ll know what I’m talking about. Her performance as a distressed mom is absolutely perfect. I’ll try to wrap this up nice and neat. Again, I can go on for a really long time about this show. I can’t give it enough praise and I can’t wait until Season 3 which will probably come out in late October of 2018. This show is a wonderful combination of characters, plot, writing, production, cinematography, and so much more. As I write this, I really just want to go back and watch the entire show again. Netflix just makes it so convenient! Also you should know, if you binge watched all of Season 2, that there is an after show called Beyond Stranger Things. In it there are interviews with the cast, directors, and producers of the show. I’d recommend checking that out so you can supplement your need for Stranger Things. Or you could just watch the whole show again like I’m going to do.

Ok I guess I’m done with this week’s Weekly Blog. I could probably go on forever about Stranger Things, but I’ve probably written enough. Thank you for reading all of that and going on that adventure with me. I really appreciate all your support which includes your views, likes, comments, and shares. If you liked this Weekly Blog, there are plenty of other blogs you can read or there are other Creative Writing Pieces. I hope you spend some time reading stuff on my website. Again I really appreciate all your support. Last thing I want to say is that I’m looking forward for 2018 and deciding what I want to write. Basically, if there is a certain thing you like whether that be Writing Prompt pieces or Weekly Blogs, let me know with your views, likes, and comments. The more popular a piece is, the more importance I’ll give to it going forward. That way I’ll know what people want to read and then I can write stuff you guys will read. I’m still going to write what I love, but I want to make sure I have an audience for it. That’s just an idea I want to plant in your brain going forward so you’ll know that I’m watching my statistics to know what everyone wants to read.

Thank you again for your support and I hope you have a wonderful week,

-Allen_The_Writer

 


Header Photo Credit to Stranger Things’ Article on Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stranger_Things

 

 

 

 

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