Stranger Things (Season 1): Character Action

I watched this show when the craze and talk was all around. People were praising the show up and down, noting no flaw at all. But, at that time, I thought it was just okay.

I mean, I still enjoyed it, don’t get me wrong. I thought that the premise and story flowed naturally from one point of view to the next, and the plot was mysterious enough that I had no idea how the season would turn out. But with the release of the teaser for season two, I returned to the show and really started to understand all the praise. For a show to absorb into the 80’s time period and look/style, it was unlike any show I’ve ever seen before.

And I credit the buzz towards the characters. In the show, we pick up with points of view of the kids(Mike, Eleven, Dustin, and Lucas), the sheriff(Hopper), the oh-my-god-just-love-each-other duo(Nancy and Johnathan), the mom(Joyce), and occasionally the boyfriend(Steve). These characters present themselves as characters – people who have  dramatized personalities and quirks but react to situations realistically, which created a believable level of authenticity. And while their characters do feel familiar, some of whom taking on basic 80’s archetypes, they earn a sense of uniqueness through, like I said before, reacting to their world with realism and drive.

With these crazy awesome characters, we have to thank the wonderful writers, including the creators of the show, the Duffer Brothers. These guys are very smart to set up our expectations with our knowledge of 80’s sci-fi tropes and take them in more grounded and interesting directions. I also have to give props to them for setting up the show like a campaign of D&D. For me, I’m just getting into D&D and about to start off my second campaign with a group of friends, and I already see parallels with how this show is structured to the construction of campaigns. I take it as a lesson; when you have an idea for a story, start of with great characters. Without great characters, how can you create a great story? Plus, you got to cast amazing actors, because in most shows, only one or two really shine. In this, it’s like a fucking starry night.

So I just want to end on saying if you want to see a great show, that radiates craft and care, check out Stranger Things.

And as always if you want to like, comment, follow, etc, go for it, I would love it. Have a good weekend!

-Jake Enemark

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