Netflix's 'Stranger Things': As they arrive as teens in Season 3, let's look at why we miss the kids from Season 1
The show was refreshing with all the '80s nostalgia but somewhere it lost its course with regards to original content
It is a tremendous pressure to maintain quality when a show reaches a fan base as huge as Netflix's 'Stranger Things', and, to be honest, to some extent the show has struggled to retain that quality in the first two seasons. However, like most other series which often tend to stumble upon their own pride, the Duffer Brothers-created show seems to have suffered something similar.
Season 2 was just not good enough when compared to Season 1, and we doubt if Season 3 could be the last blow to the Netflix show. When Season 1 of 'Stranger Things' first appeared on Netflix in 2017, viewers were immediately attracted to the fresh new show on the streaming platform.
While on one hand, it certainly brought '80s nostalgia with a combined style of storytelling that was a clear reference to the works of both Steven Spielberg and Stephen King, on the other hand, the show had some brilliant characterization. Although we did get our beloved Winona Ryder back as the passionate, responsible mother Joyce Byers, it was the cast of the kids who actually stole our attention.
In the first scene when we watch the kids playing in Mike's (Finn Wolfhard) basement, we are immediately taken to our own childhood when fun was a lot about expanding our imagination over a board game. Mike Wheeler, with his three best friends, Will Byers (Noah Schnapp), Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo), and Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin) won our hearts with their innocent exposition and their out of the box way of thinking.
These kids were nothing more than ordinary nerds, who are often mocked in high-school related stories, but 'Stranger Things' gave them an edge by making them, necessarily, the brave ones. Will remained a recurring character in the show, whose victimized existence played a central role in the story and acted as Eleven's (Millie Bobby Brown) chief motive behind befriending the group of boys.
Moreover, Mike's character served the purpose of a guardian in Season 1. He could have easily been the lovable main guy who falls in love with the runaway girl, and at the same time take responsibility when it comes to searching for his missing friend. On the other hand, Dustin and Lucas began to grow upon us in their own way. Since the first season it was established that the line of friendship between the characters was very distinctly drawn.
Will and Mike were perhaps closer to each other because to some extent they are both shy, but Dustin and Lucas were the real smarty pants in the game. As their naughty ages demanded of them, these two almost acted as foils to each other, creating their own space in the show.
While the boys served the purpose of mediators on the show, Eleven grabbed our attention with her distinctive storyline. Not only that, Brown's acting took the character to a whole new level considering this was a risky part to play. Eleven is a child who has been treated like a lab rat all her life and she doesn't speak at all.
Time and again, she only fumbles a few words here and there, and her character was left exposed to the audience only through her facial expressions and body language. Brown mastered the two and since her very first appearance on the show, she has managed to command everyone's attention. Eleven soon became one of the most intriguing characters on the show.
'Stranger Things' Season 1 built on an extremely strong storyline, which was unique and had immense potential to go several ways. However, when it returned with Season 2 it seemed to focus too much on the stardom of its cast instead of its characters which was its strongest point.
The show clearly became a pop culture phenomenon the moment it appeared on the streaming network and that might have been a reason why it became a fans' story instead of the creators' original idea. It seemed that the Duffer Brothers were trying too hard to give the fans what they wanted, and the angle of Kali (Linnea Berthesen) was extremely unnecessary because it literally ended nowhere.
Moreover, Brown's increasing stardom seemed to have become an obstacle to the show. While her acting certainly dropped a great deal from Season 1, it seemed somewhere along the way, we lost Eleven in Season 2 and it was just Brown trying to appear pitiful with a bleeding nose.
Hopefully, when the kids enter their teenhood, they will have a better story to tell. We expect that 'Stranger Things' Season 3 will not be about over-smart teenagers who don't give a damn about what they want in life, because, let's be honest, we have had enough of that! 'Stranger Things' Season 3 returns to Netflix on July 4.