I should probably do an actual review on this but to be honest I’m probably not going to. The reason being that I watched about half of this, and then took a break and then watched other episodes off and on while sick and busy so didn’t really pay enough attention and to be honest I don’t feel like watching it again to review.
That doesn’t actually mean Stranger Things season 2 is bad. It actually manages to capture most of what made the first season a really enjoyable nostalgia trip without the poor video quality of 1980’s films. But I undeniably struggled with maintaining interest early in the season and ultimately just found the sequel baiting ending a little hard to swallow. While this is my favourite Netflix original story after two seasons it seems pretty clear they plan to just keep running this idea into the ground until any small speck of originality or energy the series may have had is squished completely and totally flat.
So what was good about season 2?
The big bad was bigger and badder even if they did just kind of up the body count by killing off the extras and one character that you kind of knew early on had raised so many death flags that by the time they finally did him in you weren’t overly surprised. Still, forget what seemingly invisible enemy. Now we have an unseen threat that is widespread and getting out of control fast and when we do see the threat the word horde comes to mind.
The cast are still fantastic. Child actors who can mostly act (the exception being Will’s older brother who’s name I have once again forgotten). I think Nancy actually did a better job this season and Will’s character gets to do a lot more this time round and he is fantastic. The addition of Max to the party, contentious as some of the characters may have found that, was a really good choice and worked well and the other characters mostly maintained what they were known for in the previous season so more of the same which works well enough.
The 1980’s soundtrack, while pretty literal at times, is still amazing to listen to and this along with all the other nods to the era makes for a really fun watch. Though I’m still trying to believe that anyone would mistake ghostbusters for exterminators back in the 80’s.
What was less good?
The set up process of this story. A year has passed and everyone is a little older and a little jaded by the events the year before and the cover up. There’s some trauma and there are some new relationships and some fairly fractured relationships but it takes three episodes to really establish all of this before anything actually happens with regards to the new story. I’ll admit, after the story started you realised how necessary most of that set up was, but it was kind of dull and a little bit painful to watch.
The Sherriff and Eleven have zero chemistry. Eleven is really sidelined for the first half of this series and her only interactions are with the Sherriff. While I get the story they were trying to establish here, he doesn’t pull enough emotional weight to really sell the anger as over-protection and she isn’t given enough time to establish herself as an actual person so basically we just see them go through the same cycle of eat and play happy families before he ‘lies’ and she has a tantrum leading to him throwing a tantrum over and again until she finally ups and leaves.
Which leads to the story with Eleven and Eight which again could be awesome but is most definitely just setting up potential future storylines and has no relevance here other than Eleven gets a bit of a power up because of Eight’s advice. And a make-over. Anyway…
How dumb are those scientists? I get bad guys being dumb and characters in stories sometimes making dumb choices but these guys have had an entire year to clean up the mess and not only have they failed, the mess got worse and they didn’t even notice. Not one actual researcher makes one actual useful contribution for the entire length of the series. How do these people keep their jobs?
All and all, if you liked Stranger Things, Stranger Things 2 is enjoyable enough and the second half definitely steps it up. Still, I’m not so sure how many more seasons of this I’m going to be thrilled to see. I’d really like them just to resolve the issue and let Will and his friends get on with their lives at this point.
Thanks for reading.
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12 thoughts on “Random Thoughts on Stranger Things Season 2”
Hello! I am a new Stranger Things recruit, and I proudly admit I blazed through seasons 1 and 2 in 1 1/2 weeks. I was a zombie at work but it was totally worth it- ha! As a parent, I was leary to watch it due to the missing kid aspect because that kind of stuff just totally rips my heart out, but there was so much more to this story. I think for many Generation Xers, myself included, the great thing about this show is the nostalgia and what it was truly like being a preteen in the 80s, and this show captures it perfectly. I love the actors and the whole weird “upside down” sci-fi element to it all. I did think they wrapped up Season Two a little too well, for some ridiculously stupid reason Netflix decided to pull the plug on ST, it would be a decent farewell, unlike the first season when there were so many unanswered questions. I am still looking forward to season 3 and I am curious what storylines the Duffer Brothers have up their sleeves. I loved your review, it definitely shined another light on the characters and the show 🙂
This is a really interesting read! It’s good to hear how others perceived the show, and what they loved/didn’t love. I feel similar to Orange Is The New Black, I get excited for the show, binge it and then it never ends up the way I thought it would.
I posted a blog yesterday similar if you wanted to hear my views on Stranger Things? I’m new to this and starting out trying to build an audience. I like the way you write, so any feedback would be much appreciated. Thanks for your time 🙂 x
I️ really need to watch this show. This post made me need to go see it!!
Hope you enjoy.
No love for Hopper and Eleven? WAH? I adored their relationship. He got a second chance at being a father and he helped introduce her to what a real dad is like.
I agree with your 8 note though, that whole episode was just to setup a future meeting and really should have been interlaced with what was going on in Hawkins. I love Eleven but Kali wasn’t much for her to play off of and Kali’s friends made things mad corny.
And why the dig at Jonathan, Will’s older brother? He is everyone’s crutch but rarely is anyone there for him in his time of needs. Nancy FINALLY steps up but I honestly didn’t want them together.
Jonathan doesn’t look right (age) for the part and he really goes from blank neutral expression to scrunched face in pain/concern/anger and any other emotion. He just isn’t holding up compared to the fairly solid performances the other characters are giving.
Agree though that I didn’t want to see Nancy get with Jonathan. As a character, he deserves better than Nancy who has taken a long time to finally doing the right thing.
OMG SOMEONE AGREES NANCY IS A SELFISH CHARACTER! And that is why I didn’t want Jonathan going for her. I wanted him to have someone of his own, outside of Nancy’s nonsense. And them just really not making it clear whether she cheated on Steve in the process bugged me.
For while they both used Dustin to boost their characters, I feel that even her dancing with him in the end wasn’t a completely redeeming moment. Even though whole Justice for Barb thing was more about her own guilt than the parents.
The Barb thing was definitely about her feeling guilty and trying to make herself feel better. Ultimately it wasn’t going to change anything for the parents or anyone else, but Nancy can feel better about herself.
And yeah, the dance with Dustin, which was nice for Dustin because he kind of needed it, again Nancy did it for herself.
I kind of wish the story would stop using Steve as a punching bag though.
Well now he gets to play big brother to the only kid without a accessible male figure in his life. That is, besides the teacher he has the home phone number to…
Great post, and there I definitely agree with most of the things you have written. This season was playing things awfully safe. I understand that they don’t want to experiment and diverge too much, but if they continue down this path, the upcoming seasons might be in trouble. Still, I can’t help it, I just love this series. I enjoy the characters so much. They are just awesome. Hopefully season 3 will try and bring a little bit of originality as well, and some surprises 😀
I did enjoy this, at least after the story got going in episode 3, but really just don’t know that it added enough that just watching season 1 wouldn’t be enough. Still, it was great to see the kids back together as they are pretty great fun to watch in action.
Yeah, it’s the characters that just make this series such a fun watch. But I do hope that the next season will add a bit more new elements to make it more surprising.