Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Stranger Things 2 is nine hours of pure, unalloyed televisual delight

Yes, I know - you're busy working your way through a box-set of really depressing Jean-Luc Godard movies, or you're catching up with some frocking historical drama series on ITV, or...

...you simply must watch the 23 hours of programmes about how awful Brexit is going to be that are currently clogging up your Sky Planner. Besides, you don't like science fiction or horror and you simply can't abide films or TV programmes featuring American teenagers or pre-teens, because they're all absolutely frightful, what with the swearing and drug-taking and underage sex. Anyway, you already subscribe to Sky or Virgin Cable, and you don't want to waste another £72 a year just to watch one silly, distinctly juvenile little series...
Yes, I get all that - but I nevertheless urge you to go ahead and just do it. Your life will be immeasurably improved by not watching Jean-Luc Godard films (I know whereof I speak - I actually subjected myself to Vivre sa vie last week), there'll be another 23 apocalyptic Brexit programmes along any minute, there's not that much swearing, the kids don't take drugs, and, if there was any sex, I can't remember it . What you get is oodles of charm, humour and excitement. As for the horror and SF elements, they're as much parody as anything - simply cast your prejudices aside, go with the flow, enjoy the script and, especially, the acting.
 Eleven (aka El) is played by Millie Bobby Brown, a 13-year old English girl, who is destined for great things. I suspect the same might be true of Gaten Matarazzo (15), the boy wearing a cap in the above photo, who plays goofy nerd, Dustin Henderson - he's just naturally charming and funny. As for the others, the jury's out - but 13-year old Noah Schnapp (bottom left) certainly does a good line in suffering (and gets to do a lot of it, what with being possessed by the Lovecraftian, spider-like Shadow Monster from the Upside Down and all). As for the older members of the cast, Winona Rider and David Harbour are again terrific, as is newbie Sean Astin (playing a character called Bob Newby - geddit?), who was Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings

I don't think you have to be a horror/SF fan to adore Stranger Things 2, but I must admit I enjoyed picking up on the numerous references to 1980s films. I'm sure I missed most of the nods - they come thick and fast - but I did catch ones to It, ET, Jurassic Park, Stand By Me, Alien, The Mist, The Thing, Gremlins, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Cujo and Last Year at Marienbad  (but I may wrong about that last one).
Whatever - Stranger Things 2 is nine hours of sheer, binge-watching delight. I'm already dying for 3 to turn up. 


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