Stranger Things: Full of Familiar Things?

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I’m a little relieved that there are only 8 episodes in this series that draws heavily on 1980s-style thrillers, especially some of the earlier films by Steven Spielberg. I’m hopeful that the relatively short first season of Stranger Things will help it to be more focused and efficient than it might have otherwise been. Even most good TV these days becomes a little tiresome at times, and baggy, or it is spread too thin. Less is more. (Netflix’s Jessica Jones and Daredevil seasons could have benefited from being a little shorter).

Haven’t we seen all this before? I hope the “stranger things” on this show actually end up being truly stranger-than-strange and not merely familiar-strange. “Familiar-strange” may be the perfect oxymoron-phrase for this show.

I’m intrigued by the possibility of episodes existing as stand-alone entities for a TV show that is always available to view the season at whatever pace the viewer might choose. This makes these made-for-streaming, TV-show drops lean even closer to the format of a novel, with episodes being analogous to chapters in a book (Netflix is even calling each episode a “Chapter”). At the same time, the impulse to rush through the 1st season is there. I believe it is called “binge-watching”–that socially acceptable indulgence. 2 or 3 or 4 episodes of a show all at once usually ends up just making me bleary and weary and relieved when it’s finally over. So I think I’ll watch one episode at a time. Is it worth the investment of 8 hours over (at least) 8 days? Well, if not, writing about it will be, as it usually is, its own reward…

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