The Verdict: Stranger Things 2

Someone reminded me I never posted my final thoughts on season 2 of Stranger Things after my first thoughts post. So here they are…

Image property of Netflix

Season 1 of Stranger Things was this really great mashup of a solid 80s horror movie, one of Stephen King’s best novels (IT), and the movie E.T. all in one. The first episode had me on the literal edge of my seat and the tension was masterfully consistent throughout. The writers fed us backstory for Eleven nice and slowly. And the musical score was top notch.

I LOVED IT. I’ve rewatched it twice now.

I didn’t love season 2. I don’t see myself ever rewatching it.

Season 2 feels like the producers took all the original directors, writers, composers, etc. and replaced them with slightly less expensive, certainly less talented, versions of the first set. I know that’s probably not true, so I’m kind of at a lose to explain the gigantic rift in overall quality between season 1 and 2.

Mostly, I found myself feeling bored a lot.

The music was meh. We get zero backstory on Will’s struggles in the Upside Down (and thus have nothing to help us care about his character). The tension was all but absent. The storytelling in general left a lot to be desired. And the “boss fight” against the Shadow Monster amd its minions was a joke (notice how Sheriff Hopper didn’t miss once and Eleven didn’t really struggle to close the gate).

Don’t even get me started on the bizarre side trip the writers sent Eleven on right in the middle of what could have been a moment of tension, but wasn’t, thanks to the bizarre break for Eleven’s side trip. That the writers would ever think Eleven would fall in with a crowd like Eight’s tells me the writers had no idea what they were doing when they wrote the script for season 2.
Seriously, did Netflix tell them you have three days to write the script or no season 2?

And while season 1 gave a lot of nods to the things many of us remember and loved about movies and culture of the 80s, season 2 blatantly ripped them off. Namely scene from Aliens and the Jurassic Park sequels.

There were a few things I liked about season 2, like the dynamic between Eleven and Hopper, Eleven’s new style, and getting more focus on Dustin. Honestly, the writers could have killed off Will and just made the show about Hopper, Eleven, and Dustin, and I’d be totally happy. I guess I’d miss Steve Harrington a little, but not enough to make me not watch.

Oh, also, the Shadow Monster menacing the school gym in the final scene? I literally didn’t even care. There just wasn’t enough to make me wonder why or what the implications were for the next season.

Overall, a poor sequel to what was an all-around great first season.

I’ll probably still watch at least a few episodes come season 3, but it’s going to be with a LOT of trepidation. And if it starts looking like a repeat of season 2, I probably won’t finish.

So there you have it. My final thoughts on season 2 of Stranger Things.