‘Stranger Things’ season 1, episode 1 review: The 80’s, a mystery and Winona Ryder

Winona Ryder, Stranger ThingsIf you haven’t heard about the new Netflix show “Stranger Things” then we are here to help guide you through one of the most watched shows of the summer with individual episode reviews. Everyone is talking about this show, and with good reason. It’s a fun throw back to 80’s adventure movies like “The Goonies” (in facts it’s A LOT like “Goonies”), as a group of nerdy friends learn about a major secret going on in their home town.

The premiere episode starts out by introducing us to 4 young friends, Michael, Will, Lucas, and Dustin, but after one of them (Will) runs into a terrifying “monster” on his late night bike ride home (a science experiment gone wrong at a nearby lab) he disappears without a trace. Will’s mother, Joyce (played by Winona Ryder) is worried when her son isn’t in his room in the morning and calls into the police station when he doesn’t show up for school either. The police find Will’s bike and when they go over to Joyce’s house, they look in the shed where Will disappeared. After hearing some strange noises in the shed they decide to organize a large search party to try and find Will, but still no luck.  When Michael, Dustin and Lucas hear about Will’s disappearance, they make it their mission to find their friend and they are not the only ones looking. So again, a lot like “Goonies” except instead of looking for treasure on their bikes they are looking for Will.

It seems that Will’s disappearance isn’t the only strange thing that has happened to this small town – a mysterious young girl has escaped the same lab that the “monster” was in. This girl, named Eleven (she has a tattoo on her arm and we imagine she was one of at least 11 in the experiments at the lab), meets a man named Benny who tries to figure out who she is and where she came from. We learn that she can control things with her mind (at least inanimate objects) and that she is being hunted down by the people at the lab. Luckily she meets up with Dustin, Lucas and Michael at the end of the episode in the woods while they look for Will, so she should be safe…. at least for now.

One thing that seems like it might be a connection later on is that one of the police officers in this town named Hopper, had a daughter that died years back… or did she? We are thinking that maybe she’s Eleven, but it’s a little early in the season to tell.

We haven’t seen Winona Ryder in much of anything in a while and this was a nice reminder of just how great she is. With the show being a little bit wacky, fun and extremely imaginative, Ryder was a great addition to this cast (especially with this being a throw back to the 80’s and her breaking out as a star in the 80’s with movies like “Heathers” and “Beetlejuice”). This was a great first episode and we are looking forward to a fun ride the rest of the way! Episode grade: B-

What did you think of the first episode of “Stranger Things”? Leave us a comment below and tell us if this show took you on a trip down memory lane of everything amazing about the 80’s. If you want to read more reviews on “Stranger Things” (or to get some scoop on a probable season 2), then head on over to the link here. Also, if you want some great TV news sent your way then be sure to sign up for our weekly CarterMatt newsletter. (Photo: Netflix)

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