The Stranger Things season three trailer was just released a couple weeks ago. So I would like to broadly share some thoughts on it and the show in general. Also, this would be my first entry for my new series focusing primarily on trailer reviews called Trailer Hoopla! Just a way for me to check out trailers and give some enthusiastic opinions on them. I figured Stranger Things would be a good start because (in my opinion) they are highly energetic and create a great deal of buzz.
For starters, I am a fan of Stranger Things. It is my most favorite show in my lineup and I adamantly talk positively about it to anyone interested… just not on this blog. Usually my entries are horror movie related in general but Stranger Things has horror elements in the show… so it counts.
Like many people Stranger Things season one hit me like a fat man hit with diabetes. My wife and kids went up north to visit the grandparents for a while so I had the house all to myself. Just me eating pancakes and cereal all day after work. Nothing better! Little did I know there was this unknown show floating on Netflix. Just waiting to turn me into a full blown binge watcher. I swear I watched the entire season in one day. Afterwards I felt like Gollum as I creepily came forth out of the house. My taste for real non-breakfast foods was eroded and the dark circles under my eyes grew. Stranger Things was my Jim Jones and I drank his cool aid with bliss. I was ready to put that short sleeve white button shirt and black tie on and stake out the neighborhood. Knock on peoples doors and say “Hello brother, have you heard the good news?”
As a kid born in 1982; I have the blessings of growing up in both the 80’s and 90’s. That is like getting the best of both worlds! My young 80’s years let me experience the likes of The Monster Squad, Thunder Cat pajamas and He-Man toys. While my annoying middle school and high school days got to experience Magic cards, SNICK, annoying goth people and the show Jackass. Thus, Stranger Things strikes a chord with me. I’m filled with a flood of nostalgia when watching. The tributes and homage to the bronze age of horror films is like finding treasure. The acting is wonderful, the tones and elements all seem to work perfectly. I think the content is intriguing and I never feel bored with any particular episode. This is not to say the show has faults. One in particular is season two.
I’m not saying Stranger Things season two was terrible. I liked it… really I did. Yes, the Pittsburgh episode was a train wreck… everyone knows that. But other than that the season was exciting. But that’s because I loved season one and season two is an exact clone just on a larger scale. The seasons plot is repetitive and thus lies the main problem. The scientists discover/open a portal once more but this one is bigger and it looks like an uncleaned vagina! Then once more a monster (or monsters) is unleashed to reek havoc on Hawkins. But this time, there are a bunch of them and one boss monster! Once more, Will is effected by the upside down and it’s evil masters. It all concludes with El going all Jean Grey and using her powers to defeat the problem… again. But this time she’s stronger and screams even louder than before. That blood just keeps pouring from her nose like Christine from Drag Me To Hell. Seriously, how much blood does El lose in this show? She has to be going hypoglycemic.
Each character carries on their own intriguing layers, which is one of the best parts of Stranger Things. They’re like rainbow jello molds my grandma used to make for Thanksgiving; in that they all have depth and diverse aspects that make them believable people. Each person it vibrant and defined! Gosh it’s awesome, like watching a Stephen King novel unfold on screen.
In season one we learn about Hoppers past and him losing his young daughter to cancer. It’s a sad and moving character arc. Yet one that proceeds further into season two. In season one it drives him to pursue his search for Will. Actually pushing him to his limits by being the protective hero. But then his protectiveness and commitment are strained through his relationship with Eleven (El). Their father/daughter relations alone is wonderful and the most redeeming quality of the season. It makes gripping television and the show is filled with the same wonderful dynamics. But you need more! As much as I love the characters from Stranger Things; it’s not enough to consider season two great like the first. Sure there are scenes that were great but they aren’t plot inducing moments.
Mike Stoklasa from RedLetterMedia.com made a great simile to movies by referring to film as cake. Yes, like the one we eat for birthdays. Most films, cake filling is the plot. Full of events that makes the movie progress. For example, Back To The Future is about a guy named Marty that travels back in time to 1955. To get back he has to seek out Doc Brown to repair the time machine. But then has to help bring his parents back together or else his existence ends. That’s the filling of the movie/cake and it has events that make the plot progress, speed up and slow down. A great cake filling that describes the movie perfectly. But then there is a layer of frosting on the outside that adds a highlight to the film. In Mad Max Fury Road, we get a crazy cake filling of survival, perseverance and a damn sweet point A to point B and then back to point A plot. Layered with an ideal amount of action, violence and drama that gives us one hell of a good desert! Interesting characters and sweet stunts! Back to The Future is comical and a period piece kind of film. There’s a good mix of amazing cake filler with sugary frosting to give it some style and attitude.
But give it too much frosting or too little and it overpowers/weakens the cake and thus completely uneatable or boring. I actually thought this about Deadpool 2. There was SO much damn comedic frosting that the story sucked giant donkey balls! I couldn’t give a rats ass about Cable or the fat kid! I didn’t know what anyone was doing and why we were doing it. It was like the cake filling was the comedy but the plot was the frosting… but real bad tasting penguin shit frosting. YOU CAN’T DO THAT! Stop making those moronic jokes Ryan Reynolds! Those weren’t Deadpool jokes, they were Ryan Reynolds jokes! I can’t even remember the last joke you made because it was literally three seconds ago! You struck gold in the first movie so stop messing it up!
Stranger Things two is kind of like an uneven cake. The plot is too thin and the same. It’s not fluffy and moist, savory in each bite. The characters and 80’s homage is the frosting but it’s so much that there isn’t a good blend. What person wants to eat only frosting? You might as well give yourself diabetes you cinematic fat turd! Moving on.
A Theory Concerning the Alien
I might understand what went wrong. The first season was so successful and the masses were clamoring for an immediate sequel. Maybe there wasn’t enough time to write something original? Maybe is the wrong word, more like probably. Fan pressure is a powerful force when it comes to the creation of schlocky entertainment. After-all, the Duffer brothers admitted that El was meant to die and stay dead, but due to the love for the character; they had to bring her back. We wanted more Stranger Things and the Duffers gave us that. Just missed the point on coming up with something new that makes the story progress. I mean the ending to season one left us suspicious of our heroes future. Will spits out the worm and sees a glimpse of the upside down. So “OH MAN! Shit is still bad!” By the end of two, we see the dance where morons delighted in seeing small children kiss. That’s another thing! Can we kill everyone that is turning these kids into celebrities? We’re so obsessed with who Millie Bobby Brown and who she is dating that it’s real pedo-scary! Anyways, the mind flayer hovers over top in the upside down. What the hell does that mean? Are we in danger? What makes what the monster is doing compared to what he was doing in the beginning and how am I supposed to feel seeing that?
Then again Stranger Things is a homage show. It does seem the entire premise is meant to glorify the 80’s and what better way to glorify the 80’s than to exemplify even in it’s plots. To be honest, Stranger Things season one and two is very similar to 1979’s Alien and it’s 1986 sequel Aliens. Think about Alien and Aliens compared to Stranger Things! The first Alien, there is one xenomorph and it’s scary as hell. More horror and less action like Aliens. Aliens has a shit load of xenomorphs and one queen alien. Stranger Things 2 we have loads of Demogorgons and a Mind Flayer that pretty much resembles the queen alien. You have to see it right? The Demogorgons most prominent feature (the mouth) is exactly like the Xenomorph. It’s their main killing mechanism. So maybe the show is just paying homage to two major players in bronze age horror! I can appreciate that!
I bring up season two because it’s a good way to show how season three needs to be different. I really hope we get something brilliant because I love this show. I want to see it flourish and have much praise. But more importantly, I want a new group of episodes that have an original story that takes us on an insane horror filled science fiction ride.
Am I hopeful for season three? Hells yes! We weren’t given a new season in 2018 so they’ve had a great deal of time to plan something out. Something that will be original. Something that will be different yet continue the life of Stranger Things. I’m sure the characters will remain wonderful and we’ll get back to pointing out the references. The trailer does seem hopeful, but then again; season 2’s trailer was just as energetic and amazing.
Do you sort of see a similarity in trailers? Now compare those two with the original season one trailer.
Such a big difference. It seems that the marketing teams were like “the trailers need to be as epic as the show!” Gosh I hate that. When did movie trailers start becoming bigger than the actual movies and since when did TV shows start getting trailers? Trailers are all blown way out of proportion. Given way more enthusiasm than the movies really let on. I can only count how many times I’ve seen a kick as trailer and was completely letdown in the final product. Stranger Things 2 was kind of like that. Hopefully season three doesn’t do the same. I’m not saying reinvent the wheel here folks. Just give us some real good cake!