Released July 15, Netflix’ sci-fi thriller “Stranger Things” has been unanimously declared a “summer blockbuster,” even though it’s an eight-episode TV series. One of the streaming service’s most watched releases, Netflix just announced there will be a nine episode season two.
Set in 1984, the show makes numerous references to classic films of the decade and with its perfectly nuanced blend of tonal and visual nostalgia, it didn’t take long for raves and recommendations to spread across social media.
Though recognizable names like Winona Ryder and Matthew Modine have primary roles, the show really belongs to a very talented group of child actors who lead the search for a missing friend following an hours-long game of Dungeons and Dragons. There is a flesh-eating monster, weird supernatural phenomena, a score of sparse analog synth music, and lots of bike riding at night. All the fixings for a summer hit.
Many television writers shared the same sentiment, but The Hollywood Reporter’s Daniel Fienburg summed it up best:
With its expert channeling of summer blockbuster maestro Steven Spielberg and vacation-read genius Stephen King, it's no surprise that The Duffer Brothers' Netflix series ‘Stranger Things’ has become the perfect series to queue up with the air-conditioning pumping. With a juicy comeback role for Winona Ryder, a cast of unknown youngsters inspiring countless ‘Who's your favorite?’ online pieces and a spooky premise that's brought to life vividly despite a moderate budget, “Stranger Things” is a callback to countless summer movies several generations grew up on. And it's in most ways superior to anything at the multiplex, or on TV, this summer.
Here’s hoping the Duffer brothers and crew return to Georgia for season two as soon as possible. The internet is chock full of speculation about where the series will go. The Duffers have noted it will probably be “darker.”
Early buzz about “Atlanta”
Will Donald Glover’s FX TV series “Atlanta,” which debuts Sept. 6, also emerge as a standout? Early reviews look very promising, and the wordless trailer alludes to a special vibe that makes the show unlike anything else on TV. Glover once described the show as “Twin Peaks for rappers,” and though there is a general storyline – two cousins trying to make it big in the Atlanta rap scene—it was recently described by Tim Goodman in his Hollywood Reporter review as an “existential young black comedy about surviving the day.”
He writes “Atlanta is less about something than it is about days in the life of a group of people that may add up to something going forward but are immediately identifiable as real (and funny, and sometimes sad, plus shot through with an ingenious sense of philosophy).”
Notes Collider’s Allison Keene: “Like many of FX’s half-hour series, Atlanta isn’t strictly a comedy. It’s often bracingly funny, but it can be deadly serious…The show plays with the surreal while managing the stay grounded in a way that is charmingly off-kilter.”
Here’s hoping Georgia becomes as synonymous with future hit TV franchises “Stranger Things” and “Atlanta,” as it has with “The Walking Dead!”