Stranger Things season 2 begins nearly a year after the first installment, on Halloween in Hawkins, Indiana. (The boys are going as the Ghostbusters, naturally.) Will has rejoined his pals after being rescued from Things’ alternate dimension, the Upside Down.
My favorite Netflix series is back and bigger than before. It is both better and worse than it was in the first season. One thing is for sure, Netflix’s biggest success isn’t just a one hit wonder. It’s so great to see all of these lovable characters back together and they’re the reason the show succeeds as much as it does, however unlike the first season it’s not without its flaws.
Despite my blindness due to how much I love this damn show, even I can see that there are some issues with season 2. Sometimes a bigger budget and more popularity can negatively affect a show, and I don’t know if that’s necessarily the case with Stranger Things. However, it does get a little bit ahead of itself at times. While the first season was very grounded and came together rather quietly, season two is this explosion of different story lines. At many times, it can feel bloated and very top heavy. It feels like there is just too much going on at one time.
While it does have it issues, this season is the same loveable 80s nostalgia it was before. Poor Will Byers is at the center of the conflict once again, except this time a different demon is after him. The first season seemingly drew a lot of inspiration from films like E.T. and the work of Stephen King, I think this season feels more like John Carpenter and The Exorcist. A lot of things feel similar, but it’s also more bold and more risks are taken.
The first episode is great and the rest are just a few notches below, until episode 7 where the bottom drops out. Episode 8 and 9 are fantastic though, as they help redeem the disaster that was the seventh episode of this series. The only character we see in episode 7 is Eleven as she is exploring her past in a very odd way. This is just a rather weird creative choice as this episode feels nothing like anything else in this season or the first.
Now that I’ve aired all of my frustrations, I can talk about all of the good stuff in season 2 and there is plenty. Most of this stems from how great the cast is. These kids are such great actors and just like season one, Dustin is my favorite. David Harbour is once again phenomenal as Hopper, as he delivers a much more demanding performance. Winona Ryder and Charlie Heaton stand out again as well. Poor Joyce Byers is still running around as her son, goes through another terrible incident that no one quite understands. The cast also has a few new additions. These additions are welcome, but are they needed probably not.
Season 2 of Stranger Things doesn’t have quite the same charm that its predecessor does, but it still manages to be a delightfully fun piece of 80s nostalgia. After a tremendous first season, you care so much about these characters that fans like me were dying just to get their hands on more episodes. I feel the exact the same way after this season. I don’t know where they go from here, but once again Stranger Things leaves me dying for more.