Stranger Things 2 picks up where the first season left off, quickly resolving a handful of cliffhangers and establishing the current states of many of the show's characters. As Hopper secretly cares for Eleven in a remote cabin, the boys deal with a newfound creature, the new girl in town, and Will's increasingly apparent visions of a massive monster over the town. Experiments continue around the portal to the Upside Down under a regime of benign scientists. The invasion of the Upside Down's inhabitants escalates and the group must find a way to stop the beings of the other world once and for all.
Stranger Things Season 2 Review
So the question on everyone's mind involving Stranger Things was whether the Duffer Brothers could continue the magic of season 1 into season 2. And of course the answer was yes. Stranger Things 2 is just as good as season 1. It's some of the best serialized entertainment out there. Everybody saw it coming. It didn't disappoint. So now that we've got that out of the way, let's dive into the nitty gritty of season 2.
There are a handful of elements in season 2 that don't feel as strong as season 1. Since I found the overall structure and quality of the show on equal footing with season 1, it's these choices that separate it and make it worth critiquing. In order to do so there are MAJOR SPOILERS ahead. So if you haven't seen it, don't read on!
I didn't care for the way Eleven's "side quest" was handled. Not that it was included, but how it was produced. I think the episode in question involving Eleven meeting her mother and "sister" from the lab she grew up in was a necessary development for her character to establish who she is. However, I felt the opening scene of the show depicting the sister was misleading to its significance to the story. There was an awkwardness to the delivery of it all. It wasn't flawlessly presented.
I do not care for the trope of simply multiplying the number of vicious creatures, as implied in our comic above. I just don't see the appeal. I loved the massive Lovecraftian monster, but its "demodog" minions weren't what I was hoping for in the progression of the Upside Down in our reality. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't original.
And speaking of tropes, season 1 thrived off of its homage to old scifi and horror films of the 70s and 80s. That is far more scant in this season. We get a little bit of that, but nothing like it was in season 1. If anything, most of the homage was just carried over from season 1 and then it progressed as any high quality show does from there.
Season 2 kept stride with season 1, I won't deny that at all, but it lost some of its charm and mystique with a few of its decisions. Make no mistake, I loved it and wish that I had binged it sooner. And there's no "but" to that. The show deserves the accolades it receives from its viewers and it was another hit. It makes you wonder where it could go from here. I still want more from this universe. I just hope that future installments give me a little more of that originality/homage blend that made season 1 so special.
Horror Qualifier: 6/10
Horror Quality: 6/10
Serial Quality: 9/10