For the love of Stranger Things

We’re all web series veterans now with the advent and penetration of OTT in our lives. All of us can pretty much form and express opinions on how web series must be created and what will make them successful in general. And we can guess some aspects that can lead to the downfall of a show.

Stranger Things sort of outdoes all the predicaments that we leisurely viewers tend to hold. With every new season, this show has raised the stakes and bars in every way and given us a larger experience than the last; which is a rare feat. Generally, the second seasons tend to disappoint in comparison to first. There have been four seasons of Stranger Things now – each better and bigger than the last – and that consistency in growth is in itself a major achievement on the part of the writers and makers.

I’m not here to introduce the plot or make remarks on the story – if you’ve opened this article, I’m pretty sure you’ve finished all four seasons by now so you know what I’m talking about. Here’s just making note of things that caught my attention.

We usually hate it when a new character is introduced to the central gang, especially a cold one that seems to want to hog the limelight – like Billy and even Max initially. The discomfort of introduction can only be taken away with careful writing and character arcs – which took a while for Billy but lesser for Max in the second season. But Billy did end up becoming a key element in the third season so they did him justice as well. we could have guessed that he was introduced to the plot as a ‘bad guy going good’ idea at the initial phase itself, but how the writers played it out was still curious and convincing. And in contrast to Billy there were characters like Robin, Argyle and Hopper’s Russian inmate friend who fit right in. We were quite uncomfortable with the core team getting bigger though; the writers have treaded well on thin ice on that part.

The fundamental idea behind the plotline – Vecna’s origin and the explanation for his power are a challenging idea to communicate convincingly. Can a girl Eleven’s age and calibre create something as powerful? If she could, why is it so hard for her to destroy what she created? The plotline poses a number of such questions at the outset – but the series promises to justify them well enough.

I personally love the part that the lead characters, all four boys, are complete and unapologetic nerds. Indian popular content tends to celebrate back benchers and downplay academic excellence as boring; but here the complete opposite is true. It’s a refreshing thing that the nerds end up having the best/most traumatic experiences that life can ever venture to offer. And its their nerdy intelligence that gets them and the world out of it. It’s about time we honour intelligence and scientific temperament in children – and I believe this series does it well.

I look forward to the fifth season giving more explanation to Vecna’s powers and the special children’s abilities. And of course, to see how they’ll end up destroying the evil. In love with the franchise for sure.

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