REVIEW: ‘STRANGER THINGS’ AVOIDS SOPHOMORE SLUMP WITH COMPELLING SEASON 2!

When Stranger Things crept into our living rooms, packed with 80s nostalgia and strange happenings, it was a zeitgeist moment that obsessed binge-watchers across generations. But the question always was, could the runaway Netflix smash hit recreate the magic in Season 2 without simply retreading on all the elements that made its first outing so successful?

The answer is yes…for the most part.

It takes a few episodes for the second season to find its groove, as the pop culture trap hampers proceedings, particularly in “Dig Dug” which is too self-conscious for its own good. Stranger Things works best when it is moody and foreboding, with just enough lightness sprinkled in to make it all go down a bit smoother.

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However, a stellar cast still anchors Stranger Things, making us more forgiving of missteps. The citizens of Hawkins have been through traumas of the kind that have cast a lasting shadow over the town where clandestine government research facilities and secret keepers coexist uncomfortably.

While Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) does not feature as much in Season 2, Noah Schnapp as Will Byers gets his moment to shine. Back from the Upside Down, Will continues to spiral, tormented, while his mother Joyce (a solid Winona Ryder), hovers and worries, her intense love for her son fueling her.

New faces like Sean Astin and Paul Reiser are welcome although the ever sprawling line up means more time rationing and a little less focus on the core players we are the most invested in. All in all, Stranger Things sophomore season is emotionally satisfying once it takes flight, proving that lightening can in fact strike twice.

WATCH ‘STRANGER THINGS’ SEASON 2 ON NETFLIX NOW.

PHOTO: NETFLIX

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