Following the hit sensation of Stranger Things Season 1, the second season had a lot to live up to. Season 1, set in the mid 1980’s, followed a group of middle school friends who encountered many supernatural and science fiction phenomenon which included their close friend being kidnapped and multiple people in their town being killed mysteriously. Most of all this season dealt with the characters interaction with a world known to them as “the upside down”. This is a mirror of our world containing many horrifying monsters. Without giving too much away I have to say Season 1 is a much watch on its own, and is a requirement in order to understand Season 2. Before getting into any spoilers I will must say that if you plan to watch season 1 or 2, do not continue reading this review as discussions of season 2 will spoil events in season 1. You have been warned.
Season 2 of Stranger Things picks up nearly 1 year after the events of season 1. It begins with Will (the missing friend from season 1) being returned, and Eleven, the psychic experiment that our main group befriended, being presumed dead by our group. They are continuing to go about their normal lives trying to pick up where they left off. Will is trying to return to his normal life with his friends, but has seemingly prophetic visions of coming doom as a result of his time in the upside down. Our characters must now stop a new approaching force that they cannot comprehend.
Much like the first season, a lot of season 2 is carried by visual design. The 80s aesthetic is incredibly interesting and fun to look at while also being nostalgic for some viewers. Meanwhile as a stark contrast to the 80s look is the upside down, a dark dimension with floating particles and foul demons. These aspects make both seasons have a distinct look from many other shows available today.
The acting of season 2 is much the same as season one. For child actors I felt that the main cast was still fairly competent. I was excited to learn that many other actors were given more spotlight and development in the second season such as Joe Keery’s character Steve who has much more going for him in season 2. The inclusion of Sean Astin as the lovable Bob was a great choice. He is just such a likeable actor and character that also acts as somewhat of a red herring. He is too nice. It always feels like he may have a dark side.
In conclusion Stranger Things 2 was more of the same. That may not be a bad thing, but it also wasn’t outstanding. I felt it didn’t take enough risks to be different than season 1. Perhaps if the story was a separate story instead of continuing the first season’s story it would have been more interesting. As it is I felt that it was worth watching, but it didn’t blow me away like season 1 did.
If you liked season 1 you will find things to enjoy in season 2. If you didn’t enjoy season one there isn’t much here for you.