Stranger Things (Season 2 Netflix) Review

stranger-things-release-date-poster5 Kernels

Devoured in two sittings, much like the creatures in this horror show devour humans, I watched Season 2 on Netflix.  I’m currently in recovery mode and slightly disturbed.  Is Season 2 better than Season 1?  You betcha, Netflix, and you’ve succeeded in scaring the bejeebers out of me in the process.

All right, readers, you want spoilers?   It doesn’t take long to see that Will is disturbed by his prior adventures, leaving him with PTSD so they say. Frankly, it gets even worse as he tries to face his fears and ends up becoming consumed and possessed.  Boy, the kid can act!

The other boys who play the quirky unwanted geeks of middle school once again steal the show. The elder teenagers continue with their drama of boyfriend/girlfriend sagas. Then there is the Sheriff and 11, living out their lives not so quietly in the forest.  Will’s mother is in love again with an all-around nice guy.  Instead of stringing lights around the house be prepared for the next insanity to fill her walls. Eventually, things go terribly wrong at the mystery company when the other evil side continues to extend its terror underneath the ground and breaks through to take over the world.

A lot of focus is also on 11 aka Jane as she searches out her mother, attempts to find her place in the world, and rediscovers that she really wants to be with her friends because they need her.  Truths are revealed.  She can really channel her anger in frightening ways, which almost makes me jealous.  I could certainly take care of a few problems with that kind of power.

Season 2 has enough scare factor for Halloween to make you comp on that buttered popcorn in a frenzy.  You may exclaim a few choice swear words and mumble the following.

Why are you going down there?
Get out of there, dummy!
OMG, that’s gross!
What the hell?
It’s eating the poor …!  (inserts tears)
Everybody is going to die!

Well, you get the picture.  Frankly, the episodes are so intense it’s probably a good thing they are short rather than an hour long.  My sick stomach needs to recover from all that goo and flesh-eating monsters taking over the world.  Yes, in parts I really did get nauseous but it was worth it, keeping me on the edge of my seat.

Will there be a Season 3?  It’s hard to tell as it really didn’t hang very “cliffy” if you get my drift except for another sight of the whirling evil waiting in the dark.  No doubt, it wants another chance to take over the world.

The OA (Netflix 2016)

the_oa3 Kernels

There is only one thing I have to say about the Netflix Series The OA — it’s Oy vey! (In case you  don’t know your Yiddish – it’s a phrase expressing dismay or exasperation.) Here is another stranger-thing series that is stranger than Stranger Things.

Where do I begin?  Well, I suppose you can start with the opening scene of a woman jumping off a bridge and surviving. After she wakes up in the hospital and tells her name to the nurse (Prairie Johnson), we find out that the young lady has been missing for seven years. As a result of her recuperating, you begin to wonder if she needs to go back on medication or be locked up in the loony bin.

Well, the problem is that she has been locked up for seven years with a group of other young people who have previously died and returned to life. They are held captive by a mad scientist intent on proving life after death. He studies and tortures them so he can find out what lies in the “undiscovered country.” However, before you flip the switch, let me warn you – it’s weird – really weird. And we are not talking about traveling to the heavens after we take our last breath – this afterlife show has zip, nada, nothing about religion.

Prairie, desperate to help those she left behind, recruits four individuals from her neighborhood and one teacher, all of which have issues. They meet in a partially built and abandoned shell of a home where she pulls them into her life story. They all know when she disappeared that she was blind, but now that she has returned with her sight restored. Intrigued by her past, they sit and listen to her tale, and you, as the audience, are popping back and forth from present to past and from life and death.

I could write more about the eight episodes only to say that the story is a bit of a confusing mess and leaves you with the question whether you believe her story or not. Is she really the OA (that means original angel) or is she just a disturbed young woman because of her difficult childhood?  I guess we will never know for sure after the final episode of season one unless another miracle happens, and she’s (SPOILER ALERT) revived from the dead again.

Most of the time you are lost and locked into a cage with the characters trying to figure out what the heck all those strange bodily moves have to do with the entire show.  At least no one is talking to Christmas lights in this odd paranormal story.

As I said – Oy vey!  The undiscovered country…a place we will never know until we get there.

But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
(Hamlet by Shakespeare)

Stranger Things (Netflix 2016)

stranger-things4 Kernels

Right now at the season of horror and suspense, if you haven’t watched the new Netflix Series, Stranger Things, you better tune in.  It’s strange all right, and the program sort of reminds me of Lost.  You remember, don’t you?  The plane crash, the strange island, the strange things happening.  Well, welcome to the little town Hawkins where strange things are afoot in a town where nothing interesting happens.

It starts out scary enough with a young boy returning home from spending time with his best buddies.  They’ve been playing Dungeons & Dragons for ten hours in the basement.  On the way home, strange things happen.  Something creepy is stalking Will Byers in the woods and right into his house.  He runs out into the shed in the backyard to load the family rifle, but before he can defend himself he vanishes into thin air.  The story starts and so do the crazy things in this sleepy town turned literally upside down.

The premise of the story is (spoiler) alternative universes.  The show is filled with all those unanswered and mysterious questions, including a secret government installation.  In their captive is a child with special psychokinetic abilities, who escapes her life as a Guinea pig of sorts (played by Millie Bobby Brown, a very talented young lady).  However, while her story continues on one wave length, it is strangely intertwined with the story of the missing boy.  The show has it all – drama and mystery.  If that isn’t enough, add the element of horror, because out of this alternative universe comes a resident monster into our universe preying upon the town and going for blood.

There are quite a few characters to follow in this story.  And, yes, at times you feel as lost as you were watching Lost.  However, the cast is one huge roller coaster of emotion, including Winona Ryder, the mother of the boy who has disappeared.  Her portrayal of grief, terror, and determination is probably worth an Emmy.  Other great performances are from the family members, hormonal driven teenagers, and David Harbour, who plays the Sheriff in town dealing with all the crazy occurrences and trying to make sense of it all.stranger-things-season-2

There are three young boys who try their best to find their friend, Will, who has disappeared.  One of them befriends No. 11, the young girl who escaped her life from the government crazy people.  The three kids are a comedic release as they banter back and forth.  They are the science geeks of the school and played upon by the bullies, until No. 11 (or L) teaches them a lesson.

If you’re looking for an entertaining, I can’t figure it out show, tune in to Stranger Things.  It will make you scratch your head, jump when the monster appears, and give rise to a thousand questions of what in the world is going on.  After eight episodes of Season 1, we are left hanging for answers until Season 2 rolls around.