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Stranger Things | Season One In Review


Listen to the Podcast:

Josh Wigler (@roundhoward) and Antonio Mazzaro (@acmazzaro) are the fleas passing through the tight rope into the upside-down world of Stranger Things, the new Netflix horror series filled with ’80s nostalgia, Steven Spielberg and Stephen King references, and much more.

In this podcast, Josh and Antonio preview Stranger Things for anyone who has not yet watched the show, and perhaps have never even heard of it. Then, they launch into a spoiler-filled discussion of the season, picking apart their favorite moments, their favorite characters, and theorizing about a possible second season.


Links from the Show:

A Stranger Things Glossary: Every Major Film Reference in the Show, From A–Z

Stranger Things Finale: Duffer Brothers Talk Cliffhangers, Death and Season 2

Eleven and the Party, by Joe Eisma:


Pour one out for Barb:


  • GeekFurious

    I completely adored the first four episodes. And I enjoyed the final 4 episodes but also felt like the show quickly and consistently, toward the end, lost a lot of my good will toward its story telling. I didn’t appreciate the inconsistency in the monster’s capabilities… and while that is inherent in a lot of monsters movies, it didn’t need to be. The show was doing fine telling a creepy thriller with some horror elements.

    As it stands, the first 4 episodes are a 10 out of 10 for me. The final 4 episodes are around a 7 out of 10. So, even though I was disappointed with parts of the second half, it’s still a high recommendation from me. Easily my second favorite thing Netflix has ever made.

    • homertownie

      I generally agree. The monsters in these movies are always irritatingly very inconsistent. Bullets never hurt them, but a punch or a kick somehow hurts them. They outthink the humans and corner them, but then just stand there and roar awhile for no reason.

  • christyk

    I was hoping you guys would discuss this one. Can’t wait to listen!

    • christyk

      This may sound crazy but there is the distinct feel of an allegory re: Hollywood pedophilia. (just sayin’)

      • christyk

        Yep– Mystic River..

  • realtrinilostgirl2007

    I was waiting for you guys to do a recap. I have watch the entire series twice since its release and love it. What i like everything you said about the show but I also like that I am not scream that the laptop screen to the characters of the stupid decisions most thriller tv shows/ movie makes. Almost everyone makes a sensible decision that would happen in real life.

    • GeekFurious

      People were making sensible decisions for the first half and then that became less consistent in the second half. It still had a logic that didn’t go too far off the rails which is why I feel good recommending it to everyone I know. For the things I didn’t like about the second half, I’m still very high on the whole of the series.

      • realtrinilostgirl2007

        I get that. At least it was not like the bad screaming viewers had with reckon.

  • TrentC

    I binged the season and couldn’t see what others liked about it. It started off promising and the supernatural ideas seemed interesting, yet overall it felt less than it should. I felt the younger group of kids overacted to the point of screaming, some of the adults seemed to be spectators and the core intent of the upside down was muddled having entrances in a tree, 11’s mind and a government complex.

    Don’t get me wrong, it was still an enjoyable watch. Just couldn’t get past the sense the original idea was not fully realized.

    And I haven’t heard the podcast yet as usual. Going back to hear the recap…

    • GeekFurious

      Overacted? That must mean something else in your universe than it does mine. Of all the problems I had with the series, the acting was not one of them. That was rock solid throughout. One of the best cast shows.

      • TrentC

        Yeah the kid who played Mike Wheeler tended to overscream and repeat his lines (how could you how could you HOW COULD YOU) when the situation at hand was relatively calm and Lucas used some sarcastic remarks and behavior more suited to 2016.

        Not gamebreakers for sure but compared to other current child actors, they came across as a little grating in my opinion. And Matthew Modine was so restrained, I’ve seen rocks with more range and intensity. You thought the acting was rock solid, I felt that was the weakest point.

        I want to make a couple more observations about the supernatural parts of the show, but they will go into spoiler territory. Briefly, some ideas started well and developed poorly by the end of the series. Again, I enjoyed it overall, just not to the degree others have.

        • GeekFurious

          You mean he did what the script called for in believable ways? Yeah. It’s called good acting.

      • Anna

        Agreed! I thought Mike was great and the 3 boys were my favorite part of the show

    • Christine Larivière

      I expected more from Winona, but her performance was flat for me.

      The series was more than an homage to ’80s films. It was copied and pasted. With the whole speaking through the lights part, I expected to hear: “Carol Anne, run to the light!” and then Will spells out “RUN.” It ended the same way as “The Fury” which I thought it drew from more than “Firestarter”. It had some scenes taken from “Altered States” as well. Hard to praise blatant plagiarism or I might have to praise Melania’s speech as an homage to Michelle Obama.

      • TrentC

        I’m glad you brought up homage to 80’s films as I noticed the cinematography in particular. Dimly lit, far shots, almost blurry at times using natural lighting. The background music was a definite nod to soundtracks of the time, using the synth. The production values really did remind me of 80’s low budget videos and I’m sure that’s what the directors were trying to emulate (the Duffer bros?).

        It lost me by the end of the series which was too bad, because this is the type of show I enjoy and was raised on.

  • YES Thank you gentlemen

  • Anna

    As a ~millennial~, I didn’t really get any of the 80’s references but I still enjoyed the show. I liked the look and feel of it. Wasn’t the best thing I’ve seen on Netflix but was a very enjoyable 8 episodes

  • homertownie

    We tried the show one night, ended up watching two in a row. Then three the next night, and almost died waiting to finish the final three last night. The plot and all is very familiar and not original, but it is a very fun watch as the movie carries all these familiar plots from other movies and does it very well.

    The most surprising moment was the first appearance of the “social services lady” and it suddenly turned dark. The worst scene was at the quarry when suddenly all these young teens act totally out of character and essentially seek to gruesomely murder other kids for a small fight. Way too much and unnecessary.

    I hope they make another series, but not as a sequel to this one. The shows are great as one season — longer than a movie but more focussed and complete than a running a series. This story was told and it would just handicap the next year to try to add it on to this one. I hope they tell a different story with the same mood and tempo and that it is a complete story in one season.

    No more shows that start with a good premise and then just drag it out until it dies, like “Under the Dome”, “The 100″, and “Lost”.

  • Shevek

    I enjoyed the show from start to finish. Winona was a little weak in some moments for me, but only if I have to criticize.

    The Hot-Take I had while watching and imagining a season 2: What if they took this universe they created and set each season in a completely different time a la Fargo. Could they make a season set in 2010 and manage to keep the 80s adventure/horror feel? I know the creators have already voiced their season 2 overview and it wasn’t this, I just wanted to share a raw thought I had during my initial viewing.

  • Paco

    By far the best thing Netflix has done!

  • J.R.M

    Think this is by far the best thing that Winona has done in at least a dozen years. Very good cast. I think the focus is on the young actors. The adults just kind of fill in for the great cast of young actors here. But Winona and David Harbour…Great. I love all the mixes of 80s genre. Plus it borrows from things made after the 80s that pay homage to the 80s. It’s very much like Super8. If you have not seen that you should. Also, it reminds me of the Goonies, the adventures in baby sitting, Harrison Ford, Stand by me, Heathers, steven spielberg, George Lucas, Steven King, The Karate Kid. Plus I love all the music. All the references to the 80s all the way to the typeface used and the intro music. Just fantastic.

  • Omega Kin

    Now we know there is a season 2 with 9 episodes, i hope they make the other kids parents a little more relevant & that way we can have more realistic obstacles. And hopefully they focus on Will’s PTSD from being in Upside Down.