It's been quite some time since I last wrote a post of a TV Series. I have heard about this one few months ago but I cannot remember now where I first heard it. Anyway, when I got the chance to watch it, I finished this in just 2 days as it was consisted only 8 episodes. In fact if I watched it during the full weekend when I was having nothing to do, I am very sure that I would have finished it within 1 day. Anyway, what is the story all about? Let's find out, shall we?
Brief Story Line
This series was set in the year 1983 in a town named Hawkins, where a group of 12 year old children consisted of Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Will (Noah Schnapp) were best friends and loved to play Dungeons & Dragons board game at the basement of Mike's house. One night after their full day of > 10 hours playing, Lucas, Dustin and Will went home late at night by bikes. In one of the crossroads, they split their ways and Will heard some sound when passing through a dark road. When he heard the growling voice from unknown source, he tried to run away.
Long story short, the following day, Will's mother Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder - Edward Scissorhands, Dracula, The Age of Innocence etc) and her eldest son Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) just realized that Will never came back home. Panic with no information, Joyce went to the police office and file a report directly to the chief named Hopper (David Harbour - Quantum of Solace, The Equalizer, etc) who was directly involved in trying to find Will.
At school, Nancy Wheeler, Mike's older sister (Natalia Dyer - Hannah Montana: The Movie) was having the usual teenager situation with her love interest, Steve (Joe Keery), the popular high school jock. Nancy's best friend, Barb (Shannon Purser) did not really agree to this relationship, but since Nancy was very sure of her feeling towards Steve, she could only support this.
Meanwhile, a young girl with shaved head suddenly came out of nowhere and reached a diner where she tried to steal some food. That girl who later on mentioned her name was Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) was having limited vocabulary and could not really expressed herself. She would later on be revealed to have a very important part of this series. Slowly also we would see that she actually came from the place where they did experiments on her which was camouflaged as some kind of power company under dept of energy, led by the scientist Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine - Full Metal Jacket, The Dark Knight Rises etc).
In addition to the above, there were also some additional notable characters such as Mike & Nancy's mother Karen Wheeler (Cara Buono - Hulk 2003 Ang Lee version, Paper Towns etc), Joyce's ex husband Lonnie (Ross Partridge) and several others.
As it would be virtually impossible to continue the story line without revealing too much information, I better let everyone continue to see what the series were trying to tell.
End of Brief Story Line
All the brief story above was only things shown in the pilot episode. As this is a Netflix original series, just like similar series such as Daredevil and Jessica Jones, the length of each episode ranged from 40-55 minutes. There were lots of things that would only be revealed in the subsequent episodes such as what experiments were done by Dr. Brenner, what relations was Eleven had with the things happening in the power company, what happened to Will Byers, what was the growling sound who seemed to got out of the experiment lab and so on.
I trully enjoyed watching this TV series as it has all the ingredients that make a powerful, edge of the seat science fiction thriller that literally made me could not stop watching. If I had not remembered that I need to work on Monday morning, I might have continued the whole 8 episodes till 3AM. I believed that the pace of the series were quite constant. There were no bad or very slow episodes as each one would reveal something new which would explain to us why things happened as well as the solution to the problems Mike Wheeler & the gang were having and Nancy Wheeler's problems at school and outside, and of course the efforts done by main characters of Joyce and Hopper.
Watching the kids' adventures actually made me having a nostalgic feeling of reading children's adventure book but with science fiction twists. The set in 1980s also made me love the series even more, with some songs that I liked also. Plus as I said, it's a dream come true for science fiction lover with so many scientific things exist in this series (which I could not say here without giving spoiler). Just that you won't be disappointed. Of all the characters development here, I enjoy seeing Hopper's character and also Eleven's character. Funny thing is Millie Bobby Brown the girl playing Eleven is a fan of Liverpool FC (just like me and I remember seeing her mentioned by LFC twitter. Ya, rather out of topic. LOL) Oh Mike and friends relationship also very nice to see, but I do not really enjoy the storyline of Nancy & Steve, though I changed my mind after episode 6 and beyond. I am sure that you would understand where I am coming from if you watch it till then.
The special effects for this TV series were pretty decent. The sound effects were so so. But the main positive of the series to my personal opinion was the story & character developments combined with the mystery surrounding the city and also the combination of thriller, coming of age drama with science fictions.
So if you are a fan of science fiction and you also like the 1980s era, plus you happen to have the chance of watching this series through live streaming or whatever mode of watching you can nowadays, pls be sure to see this one. It would be worth your while. However, if you are not a fan of such things, or you do not really like stories set in the 1980s, then perhaps you would not enjoy it like I did. But I do believe that you can still give it a try, as it's only 8 episodes and it would not take too much of your time to complete it like watching other TV series with 12-24 episodes per season. Good news that it has been confirmed there would be a second season of 9 episodes, which is a very good thing as there was something happened in the end of the series finale which would be making me mad if there was no continuation to that.
Mike's movie moments rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars