This summer, I started a new show. Let me preface this by saying that I am not a big TV watcher or Netflix user. However, as a massive fan of Stephen King, 80s movies, and cheesy haircuts, I knew it was my duty to give Stranger Things a try, at the very least.
For those of you who haven’t watched Stranger Things, I’ll try to make this as spoiler-free as possible. The Netflix original series is a thriller/mystery that grabs you in the first five minutes. The story centers around a group of quirky young boys in the 80s (à la Goonies) as they try to find their missing friend, Will. It also follows the efforts of Will’s frantic mother, who is desperate to prove that her son’s disappearance is attributed to supernatural forces.
The show delivers, in every sense of the word. The acting is top notch, the music is synthesized to a fault, and the plot is easy to follow, yet complex enough to be compelling. Actually, it’s so compelling, that many viewers have spent hours binge-watching the entire first season in one go, a common side effect of Netflix watching. It is no wonder that so many students, like myself, spent a part of their summer getting hooked on such a fascinating show.
Like any compelling story, there are obstacles. Stranger Things features a corrupt establishment, bullies, a Demogorgon, a giant, and a faceless monster that feeds on the bodies of the taken.
Even though the show seems to be a tribute to all things 80s, amidst all of the Madonna, BMX bikes, and Dungeons and Dragons, the show has a clear message: there is no limit to what you can achieve if you believe you can do it. Anyone can stand up to a bully, or go to battle with a monster, even a group of nerdy kids.
Maybe it was fate that I, like so many grown-ups-to-be, stumbled upon Stranger Things this summer. College and careers and relationships have always been part of the plan for so many people. But for me at least, they have always stayed somewhat in the distance, in some indefinable folder marked “future.” As the school/work year begins, we are all forced to open that folder and face the unknown, our own Demogorgon, if you will. And there is no turning back.
But if Stranger Things has taught me anything, it’s that we are our own greatest obstacle. There is nothing more hindering than self-doubt and fear. And in a way, that’s a more daunting enemy than anything. It cannot be slayed with a wrist rocket like a Demogorgon or stood up to like a schoolyard bully. It requires us to look within ourselves and see our true potential. It requires confidence and drive. It’s a lesson so simple and obvious, yet something many of us have lost sight of amid the craziness of growing up.
It is because of this theme that I recommend Stranger Things. While the show itself is definitely fun to watch, its relevant message is what drives the show’s success among a wide range of audiences, from nervous freshmen, to nostalgic adults. As a binge, or a spaced-out divulgence, Stranger Things does not disappoint.