‘Stranger Things’ falls short of expectations

After much anticipation, season 2 of Netflix’s hit series Stranger Things is finally here. When the critically acclaimed first season ended, fans found themselves wanting more of the story to satisfy their viewing needs. So, does this season bring the goods? For the most part, yes, but there are plenty of exceptions.

The second season continues the story of the same group of characters in the same small town of Hawkins, Indiana. While the first season focused on the small-town feel and really navigated the through all the streets and forests in the area, season 2 introduces a larger scale production and includes more big budget scenes with high-quality special effects.

One of the main aspects that the show gets right is the chemistry between the four main boys. This was one of the highlights of the first season, and it doesn’t disappoint here. It’s easy to see how they’ve matured since the first season, and when they’re onscreen together,the viewers can truly feel any emotion they are trying to put out.

Even without the four main boys in the mix, Stranger Things still carries an extremely talented cast that viewers have grown to love. It’s not too hard to understand how any of the characters feel, and it’s easy to truly care for each one of them. Along with the talented actors, the show also carries other characteristics from the first season that provide excitement, like the cliffhangers. At the end of each episode, they make fans thankful that all nine episodes were released at the same time, allowing for the famous binge watch.

However, this season does not give quite the experience that season 1 does, and this is mainly due to the mediocre writing. While watching, it is also incredibly easy to predict the next line of dialogue, word-for-word. It is also really easy to see exactly where each character’s story arc will go, with a few exceptions.

The storyline also has a tendency of doing exactly the same thing that it did in the first season. It seems like show creators, the Duffer Brothers, were short on ideas for some minor plotlines, so they cut and pasted some of the recurring themes that they had already used.

Nearly every performance is great, but the standouts, character-wise, are Dustin and Steve (Gaten Matarazzo and Joe Keery), who have a very unexpected and heartfelt relationship that is a remains a strong plot point through some weaker storylines.
The performances, however, cannot save some storylines from becoming dim-witted and simply boring. For example, Millie Bobby Brown is great as Eleven, but her character’s storyline gets taken in a direction that seems like it was written at the last second by the Duffer Brothers so they could add an extra episode.

Overall, the second season is uneven. Episodes 5 and 6 deliver the material that the show needed, but every other episode is somewhat lackluster. At times it feels like that a team of different writers were working on it, so the viewers get a whole bunch of different perspectives. Stranger Things season two is in no means a disaster, but it is definitely disappointing. The quality is reduced to that of every other teen show that is on air, and viewers have come to expect more from Stranger Things.

~nate thomason and joel alexander, design director and entertainment director

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