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Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019

Never watched Stranger Things? We’ve got your back

Season 3 arrived on Netflix this week, and it’s all anyone’s going to talk about for a while. Here’s your cheat sheet if you haven’t watched it, and a nostalgic look back if you have.

tv Updated: Jul 05, 2019 19:49 IST
Rachel Lopez & Madhusree Ghosh
Rachel Lopez & Madhusree Ghosh
Hindustan Times
Season 1 started out with a bunch of kids trying to find their missing friend. In Season 3 everything is darker, fiercer, and a lot more gory. ‘We’re not kids anymore,’ one character says. Indeed, there’s teen angst, rebellion, raging hormones. But the show has not lost its sense of fun.
Season 1 started out with a bunch of kids trying to find their missing friend. In Season 3 everything is darker, fiercer, and a lot more gory. ‘We’re not kids anymore,’ one character says. Indeed, there’s teen angst, rebellion, raging hormones. But the show has not lost its sense of fun.
         

This hugely popular sci-fi/horror series is set in a small town in the US in the ’80s that exists side by side with a dark alternate dimension called The Upside Down. S1 of Stranger Things started out with a gang of middle-school kids trying to find their friend, who went missing while cycling home one evening, Things got steadily, well, stranger from there. Catch up with the adventures of Mike, Dustin, Lucas, Will and Eleven, plus, reasons why you really should check out the show.

It’s about kids but not exactly for kids 

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Stranger Things may be about a group of kids, but it’s not kiddie fare. Things get pretty serious (and scary), with monsters from a parallel realm, kids being experimented upon, deaths, nosebleeds and, as always, humans with power who are the most sinister of them all.

It’s an ode to everything ’80s 

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It doesn’t matter which generation you’re from, you’ll love the show’s homages to life in the 1980s. Everything is retro – landlines, single-screen cinemas, Dungeons & Dragons, bicycle chases, walkie-talkies, high-waist jeans, cassette tapes, plot twists straight out of Goosebumps, even Winona Ryder as part of the permanent cast.

It’s every kid’s idea of an adventure

In the first two seasons, the show packs in X Files-style paranormal phenomena, a love triangle, low-tech ingenuity (you’ll never look at fairylights the same way again), humour, coming-of-age tropes, horror, friendship and people with superpowers. It’s the kind of thing you might have cooked up on a hot day during your summer vacation in 1983 — if you were a genius, that is.

It’s got a complicated adult world too 

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Adults are usually relegated to the background in kids’ adventures. Here they’re battling their own pasts and private hells in addition to the horror descending on their town. It’s a treat to watch.

It’s pretty romantic 

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You’ll fall in love with the characters as they fall in love with each other. Winona Ryder is the classic unhinged single mom battling the supernatural, and disbelief from the town, as she struggles to find her son. There’s the brooding older brother, the jock who really a nice guy, the good-guy cop who doesn’t know quite what to believe, and the kids who remind you of just how fierce childhood friendships can be. And there’s Barb: pudgy, geeky, overlooked, protective. You’ll remember Barb.

It’s not really about Dustin but… 

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He’s probably the cutest character, his lisp, curls and naïve loyalty steal the scenes from those with more complex backstories.

It’s your chance to see a star in the making

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Millie Bobby Brown – you’ll see her early on in Season 1 and she’s never too far from the frame in subsequent episodes – is probably the biggest find of her generation. She’s barely 12 in that first season, all scowls, bald head and not quite in control of her abilities. No spoilers, but we can tell you that her role is explosive and she’s had critics, fans and Hollywood sit up and pay attention. Brown has since become one of Hollywood’s top teen stars, with appearances in music videos by Drake and Maroon 5 and a leading role in this year’s creature feature blockbuster, Godzilla: King of the Monsters.

It’s got the best babysitter in all of TV

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Keep an eye on the jock. Steve Harrington starts out as your garden-variety possessive douche high-school boyfriend. He’ll break your heart – he’ll break everyone’s. But stick with him. He morphs into something else entirely as the story progresses. And then all the memes will make sense.

It’s perfect for those who love a good conspiracy theory 

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What has the government been doing clandestinely? Can you really trust the police? Are there secret (and morally questionable) experimental facilities at the edges of American towns? You’ll find out.

It’s out with season 3 

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In Hawkins, the adventure never ends. And in Season 3, which dropped on Netflix on July 4, everything is darker, more fierce — and a lot more gory. “We’re not kids anymore,” one character says. And indeed there’s teen angst, rebellion, raging hormones. It’s also super-fun.