Fun, polished, and very well-produced horror/thriller TV show set in 1983, with terrific performances from all involved (especially Winona Ryder as a mother trying to find her missing son, and Millie Bobby Brown as the psychic, Eleven) and spot on characterization.
What is surprising, however, is how unoriginal the plot is, as it borrows wholesale from Stephen King's It and Firestarter and plenty of Steven Spielberg's movies from the early 80's. I get the idea of paying tribute to what you loved watching growing up, but the show hasn't a single fresh idea under its sleeve.
It is true that the well-written characters and the filmmakers' masterful grasp of atmosphere make this an entertaining and compelling show, but considering the hype, and the quality of all other aspects of the show, one would expect a little bit more effort to have been put into the plotting (there are plot holes galore), while the final episode is probably the weakest installment of the whole series, with an ending that fails to give a satisfying, emotionally resonant conclusion to the story.
Still, flaws aside, this is quality TV, with plenty to offer, and one of the most entertaining dark fantasies to air on TV in a long, long time. Recommended.
Text © Ahmed Khalifa. 2016.