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Netflix Series - Stranger Things 2 - Oct 27 2017

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Adam Lenhardt, Oct 22, 2017.

  1. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    I finished watching the second season last night. I don't think it was obviously stronger than the first, just different, with each having its strengths and weaknesses.

    Besides the nod to Aliens with the casting of Paul "Carter Burke" Reiser, I also found a lot of the action in the tunnels reminiscent of that film, as well as the Mind Flayer's general shape looking not unlike the alien queen.

    Will got put through the ringer over two seasons, so I hope he gets to catch a break in the third.

    I really dislike the Billy character and feel like he's going to become one of the Mind Flayer's willing pawns / soldiers next season (not unlike the bully in relation to Pennywise, from It). From an appearance standpoint, he's also totally gross, as the kids would say. Though I did find his moment with Mike and Nancy's mom rather humorous. Cue the porno track...
     
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  2. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    I bought the Blu-Ray of the first season and the UHD of the second season when they came out at Target, but never actually watched them. I figured with the third season premiering a week from Thursday, now was a good time.

    Physical Media Rewatch:

    Season 1: Post 1; Post 2

    Last night I rolled right into the second season, this time in UHD. Another excellent downconversion to 1080p by the Panasonic DP-UB820-K. I watched the first two episodes of the second season last night, and the next three tonight. I'm just over the halfway point for the season.

    Even more so than the first season, this is playing very differently for me the second time around. The first time I watched Stranger Things 2, the amount of time that Eleven was kept separate from the rest of the group really got my antsy. I was sure with each new episode that that would be the episode where Eleven and Mike were reunited. And that anticipation distracted me from some of the pleasures of those early episodes.

    To introduce Eleven in the first season, they needed to be missing a member in the group. Will's disappearance created an opening for Eleven to step into. To introduce Max in the second season, they needed to be missing a member in the group. Eleven's disappearance created an opening for Max to step into.

    While the show uses that time to build the relationships between Max and Mike/Dustin/Lucas, it's developing Eleven as a person. She had a very unconventional childhood, with pretty severe limitations. Now she is faced with the possibilities and problems that come with a normal life. I love the relationship between Hopper and Eleven. There is so much loss there; Hopper raising Eleven as his daughter, when he lost his daughter way too young. Eleven realizing that she had a mother, and the bad men did horrific things to her mother from her. It isn't easy; some of those fights get kind of scary. But Hopper has grown to love Eleven; the girl he sold out at the end of the first season has become probably the most important person in his life. And Eleven has grown to love Hopper, the first truly selfless parent figure she's had in her life since she was born.

    Sean Astin is great at playing almost painfully earnest characters, and this is one of his better ones. Bob is so uncool, but we like him in spite of ourselves.

    After Matthew Modine's creepy aloofness as Dr. Martin Brenner in the first season, Paul Reiser is a stark contrast. Same mission and, in some cases, the same shady methods. But he strives to cut with a scalpel what other might cut with a broadsword.
     
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  3. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    Just watched the sixth episode of the second season tonight; I'll probably end up watching the remaining three tomorrow.

    The first time around, I seem to remember thinking that Lucas and Dustin were in a a real horse race for Max's affections. This time around, it's perfectly obvious that Lucas and Max have a connection with Dustin on the outside looking in. That Max's family -- or at least Max's abusive stepbrother -- disapproves because Lucas is black is never explicitly stated but is clearly understood by all parties involved. But Max is someone who is very bottled up, and Lucas gets her to express herself. The confrontation in the junkyard is a big action set piece with lots of CG and lots of dead federal operatives, but the heart of it is these two kids starting to fall for each other, while Steve Harrington slips into his hero pants.

    The sixth episode has a great scene where the majority of the scientists at Hawkins Lab are pushing to resume the burning, but Dr. Owens refuses to do it because it will harm Will. Prioritizing Will ends up having tragic consequences for the team in the tunnels, but I love how human Paul Reiser's performance is. Owens is ultimately responsible for some terrible things, but unlike Brenner he's never more evil than he needs to be.
     
  4. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    Watched the last three episodes tonight. This show is a perfectly fine horror series/science fiction thriller, but it's a great character drama. The season finale in particular, there is just so much kindness in moments that a lesser show would have gone for drama instead. If it weren't for the last thirty seconds, this would have made a perfectly fine series finale. That being said, I'm glad it's continuing.

    One thing I did notice as a dangling thread:
    When the Mind Flayer left Will's body, it soared off into the night. Max's stepbrother was drugged and unconscious on the floor of the Byers house, so it would make sense that that wisp of the Mind Flayer took Billy as its new host.
     

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