The New Watch Alert podcast returns to recap season 2 of ‘Stranger Things’ we debate topics like, Eleven’s place in TV history, Steve’s status as father of the year, Lucas and Dustin becoming volume shooters, Billy’s awful basketball scene, Joyce’s justified paranoia, and oh yeah, some stuff happened in the UpsideDown World
Oh Yes and SPOILERS…Obviously
Whenever a team wins a championship there’s always a possibility that there can be a fall off after reaching the apex of that journey. We’re human and the instinct to relax can creep in and damage established greatness. It’s happened over and over in the course of entertainment history. It’s why I’ve always believed it’s the chase for the second and third accomplishments that’s defined any true greatness. For Stranger Things this was a crucial season: they were the darling of the Emmys, they seemingly came out of nowhere, rocked the television industry, put cable networks and network TV on notice that not only could Netflix compete for viewers but also be better in the eyes of critics.
Then the trailer for season 2 dropped during Super Bowl Sunday and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
We make sports references when we talk about television shows because the two are so similar. Coaching matters, your best performers have to step up when things get shaky, and you have to trust your system above everything else. Stranger Things succeeded on a formula of 80’s nostalgia, great performances by child actors, strong storytelling, a killer soundtrack and a rebirth of the horror genre.
Like any team built around a superstar, they had to develop the existing talents, make some cuts (sorry Barb) and remind everyone what worked so well the last time. This meant bringing back a season one villain and having him execute a seamless face turn.
Steve Tha God
Steve reached his apex in season one and despite being a dick and a hero at the same time, he basically got everything he wanted. So how do you bring a character like this down? Simply by taking away everything he wanted – his hope for the future, his girlfriend and his alpha male supremacy at High-school.
I don’t want to say too much because you need to experience it to truly understand the greatness that takes place.
How to talk to girls.
Keeping the kids safe.
Handling rejection like a champ.
After you’ve done all of that you bask in enlightenment.
One day you may become Iconic and take a picture maybe half as good as this one.
WTF is going on with Billy?
The basketball scene was intentionally bad, really bad, like do they know what basketball is bad. If you’ve watched your fill of 80’s movies like we have you know sports scenes with actors flailing about is a staple of the era. Unathletic white men somehow written as great athletes makes for scenes with tons of unintentional comedy. In this Billy is so weird he steals the entire scene even when he’s playing opposite Steve tha God.
Secondly, season 3 needs to have an 18-year-old Billy make sweet sweet love to Mrs Wheeler. In the history of wanting “The D” Mrs. Wheeler gives a legendary thirst performance.
Eleven’s return to the group, of course, happened in the penultimate episode and essentially all television shows do this. You don’t want to reward an audience too early by having your main character and supporting characters resolve every issue in the first act of your series. You draw it out, build anticipation and give yourself story options. It worked so well here because the rest of the characters didn’t even really know Eleven was alive and it was cathartic and fucking awesome every time Eleven walked into the room.
Stranger Things also decided they were going to give fans of the show alternate Halloween Costume options for 2018 with the “Punk 11” look. It seemed to work for most people aside from the Ringer staff and Nal.
On your first watch, you may have missed some of these and I know I did. I rushed home slightly drunk just to watch the last two episodes on a Friday night cause I needed to see what the fuck 11 was doing.
As always thanks for listening. Like once, Listen twice, share three times.