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Review Stranger Things Season 1: I enjoyed it but it was a little underwhelming!

genre: mystery, horror, science fiction, thriller, drama
year: 2016

A lot of hype was surrounding this show and I definitely was digging the Eighties vibe and approach. The show really felt like it was produced in that era. That surely is something I appreciate a lot.  However a mystery sci fi show also needs to have some substance and meat to it in order for someone to get swept away by it. 

And it's here where the show lets down. The mystery, thriller and horror elements are very underwhelming. It's almost felt like they didn't matter as much. These elements were just used to give this show an edge or certain appeal. Most disappointing is that apart from a very few effective scenes there isn't that much to sink your teeth in. You pretty much have figured out what is going on early on and then the show rarely gives you something you could not have anticipated. But I do think that next to the Eighties look and feel there was also a lovecraftian style mixed into events that certainly make it seem the dread and horror was going to be epic. It never truly did.

Still that doesn't make Stranger Things bad. Because there are some redeeming factors. The group of kids are immensely likeable characters as they actively go looking for their friend who mysteriously disappeared. That includes the new adittion to this group, an odd girl named Eleven. She spiced up the show quite a lot and she had some good chemistry with the boys. David Harbour, Winona Ryder and Matthew Modine also were top notch. Especially Winona had the difficult task to portray her character as someone walking a fine line between being headstrong and being totally unstable and insane. But she pulled it of masterfully since she is very much a character you want to root for. Matthew Modine is the designated shady guy who clearly is enjoying his evil experiments a little too much. I liked it that David Harbour was a smart cop and that he never was afraid to do the right thing. Socially awkward Jonathan did a good job as the responsible brother who feels has been forced to grow up fast because of his mother's instability. 

While it took me a few episodes to really get into it I did find myself enjoying and appreciating it even if I was a little disappointed the show not quite living up to the hype. Still it is good enough to make me look forward to season 2. I hope it will build on what is set but also is going to improve on the mystery and horror elements because let's face it that is what is going to be most interesting.

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