Stranger Things (season 2)

My rewatch of the excellent Stranger Things continues as I run towards the new episodes. Season 1 both tied up the initial story and left an obvious way to continue. And so, welcome back to Hawkins, Indiana, just in time for Halloween, 1984. It didn’t occur to me at the time, but each season revolves around a holiday: Christmas, now Halloween, then July 4th.

Anyway. For the main part, all the players from season one are getting back to normal life – more or less. Mike is missing El(even) badly, and Will is still suffering from his trauma. But otherwise the kids are growing up, the adults are moving on, and everyone thinks things are over.

We get some new faces here, notably Billy and Max, step-siblings, who provide the nasty (now that Steve is turning into the perfect babysitter ;)) and a new friend/crush for the growing lads. Joyce (Winona Ryder) has even started dating, the oh-so-dull but safe and dependable (and rather adorable) Bob (Sean Astin). And Hawkins lab has new oversight in the shape of Dr Owens (Paul Reiser). These new faces are brought in very naturally, too.

Of course, normality is not a sure thing in Hawkins, and slowly various members of the group realise that all is not well…

I’d say nothing could quite match the experience of the first season, but this one does very well. The 80s vibe is, if anything, even stronger – probably leaned into all the harder after it worked well in s1 – with many joyful references to all kinds of pop culture: music, video games, movies. The characters no longer need introductions but have been allowed to develop, some better than others. The kids are getting kind of awkward, very in keeping with teenagedom, but it did mean I much preferred any time with the older characters, although it’s nice that Will gets a much bigger role after being stuck in the Upside Down for most of the first season.

There is one episode that leaves them all for a side-quest of El’s (yeah, spoiler: she’s back! And the whole El-Hopper thing is just lovely :)) that doesn’t fit well, though: it doesn’t wholly go anywhere, or add that much, really. Perhaps if they’ve revisited some of these elements in – well, maybe season 4?

So, it’s all kind of a nice reunion. Well, nice as a relative term, as the dangers mount. It wasn’t quite as fun as a rewatch as season one but it’s still some of the best TV of recent years and I’m glad I indulged another binge 🙂

Stranger Things season 2 poster

First broadcast: October 2017
Series: 4 (with a final season due… next year?)
Episodes: 9 @ ~51 mins each

My rating: 8/10

Season 1
Season 3

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