Sometimes it can be really bad for a show if a first season does phenomenally well. Fans will build up a show to a standard that can’t possibly be met for future installments in the series. When a show doesn’t meet and exceed its standards in future seasons, the series will inevitably face severe backlash.
I am happy to say that the second season of “Stranger Things” is not in that situation. This article is a review of my assessment of the show but I promise to avoid any major spoilers.
First, let’s talk about what season one did right. The show opened with a group of middle-school-aged misfits played by half of the best child actors working in Hollywood today. That’s not a compliment I give lightly.
After playing Dungeons and Dragons, the boys bike home and one of them, Will Byers, disappears after facing a monster. While his friends look for him they come across a mysterious young girl named “Eleven” with telekinetic powers. It’s up to our heroes to find their friend and defeat the monster while learning more about Eleven’s backstory and abilities.
In addition to the stellar cast including 80s acting queen Winona Ryder, the show has a lot going for it. “Stranger Things” made the careful choice to not reveal the monster’s appearance until the end of the season, building up suspense for the viewers. The humor is spot-on. The characters are well written. The mystery is thought provoking. Everything about this show just works, as showcased by the many fans who have used the show as inspiration for their Halloween costumes.
While season one was nearly universally acclaimed, fans were anxious for what season two would bring. Well, season two has come and gone and it currently rests at a 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
What’s great about the second season is that it’s not a rehash of season one. Like any good sequel, it advances the story instead of repeating it. We get character interactions never-before-seen and see the growth in characterization of the people we’ve watched over the course of the show. We get introduced to new characters and a new, ominous antagonist emerges.
Even the stakes in this season make season one look like child’s play.
That’s not to say the show is without flaws. There were a couple of scenes between characters I felt weren’t consistent with their arcs. Some new characters weren’t as established as they could have been. Overall though, I can guarantee that the ending to season two is not only satisfying, but will also leave fans still excited for what is to come in future installments.
What else can I say? The cast, story, ‘80s nostalgia and suspense knock it out of the park in season two. If you haven’t checked it out yet I recommend you do so immediately. If you think you won’t like it I’d say go into it without that skepticism; it may just turn your expectations upside down.
Halle Nelson is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with minors in deaf studies and English literature. She can be reached at HN824858@wcupa and on Twitter @Halle_N_Nelson.