Now I know what all of you are thinking, I’m a little late to the game when it comes to this show, right? That I already know. I am notorious for waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more to watch something that everyone and their grandmother has already watched and moved on from.
Maybe it was the Super Bowl ad for season two that finally spurred me into watching this amazing show. Maybe it was the fact that it was only eight episodes and I figured “What the heck, that’s only two days worth of afternoons wasted. I can afford that.”
What is probably closer to the truth, is that I was looking for inspiration.
If you remember my previous posts, you all know that I went to school for creative writing, and I favor fiction writing over anything else. However, I have been dipping my toe into the waters of screenplay and film writing, and I have to admit, I am still not confident in my pacing and action sequences. So, it has been a recent goal to watch movies and TV shows that the majority of the population rave about.
The first on the list? Netflix‘s Original Series: Stranger Things.
I’m going to try to keep this spoiler free, because all I am talking about is craft elements and elements that inspired me.
Setting: This was the one thing that caught my attention right away. The show takes place in a small town of Indiana, and if they didn’t tell me the name of the town, I would have sworn if is the town I live in. I will be the first to admit that most people get small town suburbia completely wrong. Just because it is usually small and boring, doesn’t make it cookie cutter perfect. Families still have their dynamics and problems, school is drama filled and complicated. Stranger Things really captured this, I personally believe. If you grew up in a small suburbia town like mine, that could almost be considered rural, then I recommend this show.
Characters: Oooh buddy, I am a sucker for good characters. This show has it! Most of the characters (the ones I really paid attention to) are multi-dimensional, with backstory, and motivations, and they aren’t flat. You never want a flat character, no matter if you’re writing a film, a novel, or a short story. Characters are the one thing that I see a lot of shows and movies struggle with. They fall into cliché tropes and can’t get out, or the trope isn’t used to the writer’s advantage. The writers of Stranger things really know what they are doing when it comes to characters.
Pacing: Overall, for what the plot is of the show, I think the pacing of it all is pretty good. Each episode runs for about 45 to 50 minutes, but it feels like only 10 minutes. That is the effects of good pacing. Dramatic, high tension scenes, are broken up with slower, quieter ones, even comical ones (Dustin is a gem in the show, let’s all admit it now.)
So, would I recommend this show? Did it inspire me, or help me with my own writing?
Yes and yes!
However, this is an important warning: if you suffer from any type of photosensitivity or epilepsy then this is not a show for you. There are way too many flashing lights (to the point where I even got a headache.)
Other than that, I would recommend the show, especially if you like realistic small town settings with dynamic, relatable characters.