Stranger Things


Television

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Grand Lodge

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This is an eight episode Netflix original series set in 1980's small town Indiana. It's pretty cool and creepy so far. It centers around the disappearance of a young kid after he and his friends are playing their D&D campaign featuring "the demogorgon."

It's looking pretty good so far. Anyone else watching this?


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*Raises hand* I've been watching since I got home from work and am absolutely loving this show. I may be an outlier though as I'm actually able to sit down, watch and enjoy a show without over analyzing it to death.

Here's how I described it to people on FB :

"STRANGER THINGS on Netflix is the perfect cross between THE GOONIES, E.T., POLTERGEIST and the good episodes of THE X-FILES.
It's like the creators of this show distilled everything that was great about 80's spielberg minus Indiana Jones and made a TV show.

Also Stephen King. Has a very Castle Rock feel to it."

I'm on episode seven right now.

Grand Lodge

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I just finished the first episode due to interruptions from the family It's awesome so far.

I think your description is spot on.

Grand Lodge

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I finished the series tonight and it was fantastic.

Spoiler:
The monster was basically a Gug. Although I wasn't surprised, it was sad to see Eleven sacrifice herself. I also really like the Police Cheif character.

Sovereign Court

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Great show. Just finished the binge. ;) And yes, I agree Shinhakkaider's description is pretty well spot on. :)

Spoiler:
El did not really sacrifice herself in the "died for everyone" sense. She is back in the "upside down" and, I assume, sealed the gate by doing so. Otherwise why would the chief leave eggos in a drop spot?

I am really hoping this is not a "one season and done" thing. I can see one of two routes for the series.

Spoiler:
1) It will kick in an expanded "invasion" type scenario (the bit Will coughed up that went down the drain is on the "upside" rather than the "upside down" side, so who knows what that will do), Will will become able to hop between dimensions, and the story could be bringing El back (she is getting regular Eggos, after all) to help fight off the new threat.

2) The series will be a story-a-season concept, similar to American Horror Story.

Either would be good with me. This really was a top notch production (not to mention being able to relate to kids playing D&D in 1983 ... I was just a year or two older than the kids portrayed in the show then and had been playing for almost 6 years at that point).

Grand Lodge

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zylphryx wrote:

Great show. Just finished the binge. ;) And yes, I agree Shinhakkaider's description is pretty well spot on. :)

** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
I don't think she sealed the gate because that scene happened before Will, Joyce, and Hopper returned (if the sequence of scenes is to be believed). You might be right about her banishing herself and the Gug back to Upsidedown, instead of dieing in the literal sense. Regardless, it was still a final sacrifice. One thing though: there wasn't any follow-up on what happened with the gate or the lab and all.

zylphryx wrote:

I am really hoping this is not a "one season and done" thing. I can see one of two routes for the series.

** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
This feels more like a single season anthology to me, but I'd be interested in seeing some of these characters again.

zylphryx wrote:
Either would be good with me. This really was a top notch production (not to mention being able to relate to kids playing D&D in 1983 ... I was just a year or two older than the kids portrayed in the show then and had been playing for almost 6 years at that point).

I know what you mean. I was right about their age in 1983, although I didn't start playing until '85.

Sovereign Court

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Yeah, I would really like to see more in this storyline.

Spoiler:
And you are right that the sequence would make her sealing the gate odd, unless Will is now a key of sorts for getting from one side to the other. Or it could be that El banished herself to the upsidedown to simply block the gug from being able to use the rift, though it did seem to be able to pop out wherever it desired when it caught scent of blood, so not sure how that would work exactly. Of course this could all be addressed in a second season. ;)


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Stranger Things:
I don't think she banished the "Gug", I think she utterly disintegrated it, but in the process temporarily was removed from this plane. The thing could cross over at will (once it knew there was some place to cross over to), so I don't think banishing it would have worked.

At any rate the scene with the eggo waffles implies that she is alive still.


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only at episode 2 so far but I'm loving it so far. the feel is just perfect and more than once I've found myself thinking "shouldn't Molly Ringwald be in this"

Grand Lodge

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Barbara sorta is Molly Ringwald-esque.


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I don't usually dig horror or Mystery but this is an awesome show.

A lot of great acting and interesting characters mixed with an uneasy creeping suspense that constantly lingers in the background.

Sovereign Court

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This show is amazing. Everything is 80's down to the font of the credits. I'm not giving away any spoilers but this is almost a D&D TV show...

Liberty's Edge

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I really enjoyed the series even though

Spoiler:
I was put off by the minis in the first episode- they were too good for 1983 :P

And the "Have to roll a 13"/"One Fireball kills Demogorgon/Thesselhydra."

I loved the "Binder" with the Expert Handbook and module/ articles in it (was trying to see what the music sheet in the back of the binder was but it's not clear enough fo rme to make out.)

It was so very 80's and very much reminded me of the old days.

As for the Sheriff , yah, his first appearance had me expecting to be much more of a douche than he was.

Paizo Employee Developer

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Reckless wrote:

I really enjoyed the series even though

** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
They were using the old Grenadier Demogorgon! Which was around at that time.
Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

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As for the gaming inaccuracies, I know my game in 83 was far from by the rules. They weren't exactly easy to get right then, especially for self taught kids.

Grand Lodge

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Reckless wrote:
As for the Sheriff , yah, his first appearance had me expecting to be much more of a douche than he was.

I liked that his go-to tactic was lie to people, then punch them.


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He's clearly a Rogue ;)

Sovereign Court

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Alex Mack wrote:
He's clearly a Rogue ;)

Core rogue too, as he looks like a STR-based character. ;)

His high sense motive, diplomacy and frequent use of pills and booze also hint at a potential investigator... ;)


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fantastic show, really hoping they get another season, certainly left us an opening for one

also

Spoiler:
Steve! Seriously she ends up with Steve! That is such Bull

Dark Archive

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The theme music for the series could be distracting but instead started to make it feel even more authentic.

Same goes for the title sequence graphics.

Liberty's Edge

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This is only on Netflix?

Paizo Employee Developer

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Marc Radle wrote:
This is only on Netflix?

Yes. It's a Netflix Original.

Liberty's Edge

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Bummer - we don't do the Netflix thing.
Hopefully it will turn up somewhere else or maybe I'll just have to wait for it to come out on DVD or something

The sheer number of different channels/services you have to subscribe to/pay for just to see the various shows you want to watch is getting pretty out of hand. But that's a topic for a different thread ...

Scarab Sages

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If you are only going to do one service, Netflix is best. Between the fantastic marvel shows, and this, Netflix has better original programming than the major networks. I've canceled cable for 8 years and have been steaming only. I don't know your budget, but it's worth it.


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Imbicatus wrote:
If you are only going to do one service, Netflix is best. Between the fantastic marvel shows, and this, Netflix has better original programming than the major networks. I've canceled cable for 8 years and have been steaming only. I don't know your budget, but it's worth it.

I totally agree. I cancelled cable in 2006 and haven't looked back. Even with the most recent price increase Netflix is, what, $10 a month? The convenience and sheer volume of programming is worth that to me. My only minor nitpick is that they lose shows every so often (I miss "Lois & Clark), but I have certainly never run out of things to watch. Then again, I'm old enough to remember when you would pay $3-4 a night in 1985 dollars to rent a videotape, so maybe my economic perspective is different...


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JoelF847 wrote:
As for the gaming inaccuracies, I know my game in 83 was far from by the rules. They weren't exactly easy to get right then, especially for self taught kids.

Yeah my first thought was 'That is wrong couldn't they bother to do a little research...'

Than I remembered back in the day when I was playing at that age and the very loose interpretation of the rules we had....and also how badly the rules were written.

I loved the show and hoping for a second season.


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JoelF847 wrote:
As for the gaming inaccuracies, I know my game in 83 was far from by the rules. They weren't exactly easy to get right then, especially for self taught kids.

Just saw the first episode over at a friend's last night and I had the initial reaction of, "what the...?". Then I was thinking that though the D&D game was a bit unstructured it seemed like a way to play the game. The way they played in Community is also a way to play. Contrast those with the way they played in Big Bang. ~shudder~

So I think it's fine. D&D by middle schoolers in someone's parent's basement with some serious homebrew going on = totally believable.

I liked the show overall and since it's only eight episodes I'll likely finish watching it at some point.

Grand Lodge

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I was much less interested in how they were playing D&D than that they were playing D&D and that those gaming themes (the Demogorgon, the Upside Down, etc.) were important to the overall mystery the characters worked to solve.


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Season 2 seems to have gotten the go ahead only they are calling it a Sequel instead of a new season.

The distinction could leave them open to go a whole lot of different directions with it.

Grand Lodge

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Greylurker wrote:

Season 2 seems to have gotten the go ahead only they are calling it a Sequel instead of a new season.

The distinction could leave them open to go a whole lot of different directions with it.

I came here to say that and post this.


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So am I wrong or...

Spoiler:
Was that tiger they found in the Upside Down version of Castle Byers an old, degraded version of Hoppers dead daughters tiger? I mean, I could be mistaken, but the placement and timing is a bit too pat for it to be anything else...

Dark Archive

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Why are we all thinking the monster is a gug, and not a dimensional shambler?

Grand Lodge

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I'm the one who first mentioned the Gug. The way it's head-mouth opened reminded me of a Gug. It could be a Dimensional Shambler though. I'm not very familiar with them (other than the name sounding boring).

Dark Archive

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I admit, the head opening is definitely gug-like, but the fact that it walks between worlds suggests dimensional shambler. Though, honestly, it's probably some weird amalgamation of Lovecraftian horrors.


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My one minor complaint. I really wish they went with more practical effects for the creature. The CGI wasn't horrible at least not as bad as some I've seen but it did detract from the whole 80's feel the rest of the series captured so well.


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Misroi wrote:
I admit, the head opening is definitely gug-like, but the fact that it walks between worlds suggests dimensional shambler. Though, honestly, it's probably some weird amalgamation of Lovecraftian horrors.

well...yeah it's not actually meant to be a gug or anything else pre-existing. It just overlaps in design,


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Actually, most incarnations of the gug just have a vertical mouth, not the flower petal opening type of thing that this monster has.

Grand Lodge

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MMCJawa wrote:
Misroi wrote:
I admit, the head opening is definitely gug-like, but the fact that it walks between worlds suggests dimensional shambler. Though, honestly, it's probably some weird amalgamation of Lovecraftian horrors.
well...yeah it's not actually meant to be a gug or anything else pre-existing. It just overlaps in design,

I agree. It probably wasn't meant to be a specific thing, just a scary, vaguely Lovecraftian monster that looked like it could come from an early 80's D&D game.

Grand Lodge

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Triphoppenskip wrote:
My one minor complaint. I really wish they went with more practical effects for the creature. The CGI wasn't horrible at least not as bad as some I've seen but it did detract from the whole 80's feel the rest of the series captured so well.

I thought that did pretty for a TV show budget. Then again, my sense of immersion isn't very fragile; the effects would have to be pretty bad for me to take notice.


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Skeld wrote:
Greylurker wrote:

Season 2 seems to have gotten the go ahead only they are calling it a Sequel instead of a new season.

The distinction could leave them open to go a whole lot of different directions with it.

I came here to say that and post this.

Excellent! I, literally, just finished the last episode, logged on to check the boards before bed, and bingo, news that there's more to come. Life can surprise pleasantly on occasion.


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Quote:
Hopefully it will turn up somewhere else or maybe I'll just have to wait for it to come out on DVD or something

Netflix shows take forever to come out on DVD or Blu-Ray (and this show looks so good that blu is the way to go). DAREDEVIL Season 1 is out in October, almost two years after it was transmitted, which is ridiculous.

I was also a Netflix sceptic for a long time, but they've built up a strong enough library of original content (DAREDEVIL, JESSICA JONES, SENSE8, NARCOS, BOJACK HORSEMAN) and a solid rotating library of other people's stuff that it's more than worth the fairly negligible cost per month. I'm in the UK so we've also got every single episode of STAR TREK ever made, the new seasons of ORPHAN BLACK and ARCHER and quite a few other things (PERSON OF INTEREST, for example) that make it a no-brainer.

Triphoppenskip wrote:
My one minor complaint. I really wish they went with more practical effects for the creature. The CGI wasn't horrible at least not as bad as some I've seen but it did detract from the whole 80's feel the rest of the series captured so well.

Apparently the creature was "mostly" prosthetics. There were a few times it was all CGI (like in the finale) and sometimes they just had a CG head and maybe arms painted over the prosthetic body.


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Great 80s vibe with tip o the hat to Spielberg, Carpenter, Hughes, King and other good stuff. Anyone else think the sheriff had a bit of Indiana Jones going on with the hat?

I think I had that Demogorgon mini back in the day. HERE is a nice interview with the sculptor.


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Nostalgia aside, it is a good period piece. Horror works best when you don't have access to things like cell phones and the internet. Though, there was a nostalgic warmth to it as well. Even how it was filmed made it seem like an older movie. I don't know the right word for it, but it just visually seemed like older video equipment that made things seem more real to me rather than high def, but that must be nostalgia.

The minis the were using made me cock my head because things like the demogorgon figure they used did not exist in the 80s, but it was still good. I also had a chuckle at the D&D PFB wrapped in brown paper in the first episode.

I did want to smack a friend though that went on about how it is a show about D&D when that is such a small aspect of it.

This felt like a proper 80s movie, and yes I know it is a series. When action happened, it really meant something rather than over the top nonsense. It was story driven. The characters felt like real people. You don't see that much anymore.

If this is coming off as dumb or nonsensical, I am sorry. I'm posting half asleep after drinking again.


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I thought that the figure was from later on, too. But the link above says it was produced in 1984 so only off by a year.

btw Shadow Vale totally sounds like a Forgotten Realms thing, but not at that time anyway. I was surprised they didn't refer to the Upsidedown as the Ethereal Plane.


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Greylurker wrote:

fantastic show, really hoping they get another season, certainly left us an opening for one

also

** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
oh come on! he turns out to be a genuinely good guy!

yeah, this series was excellent and my friends and i are excited about season 2. i'm glad they'll be continuing the story too. i really appreciate the characters.


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cuatroespada wrote:
Greylurker wrote:

fantastic show, really hoping they get another season, certainly left us an opening for one

also

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **

yeah, this series was excellent and my friends and i are excited about season 2. i'm glad they'll be continuing the story too. i really appreciate the characters.

Yeah, that was probably my favorite twist of the ending.

The Exchange

Me and my girlfriend binged the thing over the weekend. I loved nearly all of it, except perhaps for the very last episode, which felt a bit unfocused and didn't really bring everything together or even allowed all the characters to impact the story in a meaningful way -

Spoiler:
For example, while the teenagers laid a very cool trap for the monster and had a nice fight with it, they didn't actually accomplish anything with it. Given that their entire story took a while to become integrated with the rest of the show anyway, I hoped for them to be more impactful on how things played out. As it stands, the only actual thing they got done was to serve as the middleman that helped the chief find the kids, and even that had more luck than brains involved.

The same sort of goes for the rest of the characters - chief and mom enter the upside-down to find the missing kid, and they sort of just walk in there until they find him, and then they grab him and take him back, with very little complications along the way.

The kids are surprisingly passive, as I expected them to be the most important in the last stretch of the story, but all they did was stand around Eleven and be brave while she destroyed the monster and killed a bunch of evil soldiers.

In short, the whole of episode eight felt mishandled, and kind of stands in the way of true greatness for the show.

Having gotten over that bump, the rest of the show is like sniper bullet targeted directly at my specific tastes. Lovecraft and King and Spielberg and D&D the Goonies are funneled through modern sensibilities and a deep love of the subject matter to produce a truly great period piece (I'm too young to have the nostalgia aspect) with tons of elements I look for in the story.

Characters and setting and story are thought out to an impressive degree - usually, even when I watch a TV show I really love, I feel like the story is improvised along the way. Orphan Black, Sense8, Jessica Jones - each episode is great individually, but usually things just sort of happen in an accelerating pace until some big confrontation comes up at the end of the season. Here, however, everything is properly set up, and the story has a strong direction from the get go. I feel like the exact same sequence of events could have worked as a very good SF/Horror book. To be more accurate, it felt like experiencing an awesome book in visual form.

Hoping for a second season that is only tangentially related to the first, possibly featuring some of the SF elements and/or some of the same characters. I think a direct continuation wouldn't work nearly as well.


Lord Snow wrote:

Me and my girlfriend binged the thing over the weekend. I loved nearly all of it, except perhaps for the very last episode, which felt a bit unfocused and didn't really bring everything together or even allowed all the characters to impact the story in a meaningful way -

As it stands, the only actual thing they got done was to serve as the middleman that helped the #### #### ### ####, and even that had more luck than brains involved.

Welcome to my gaming group!

:D

Lord Snow wrote:
In short, the whole of episode eight felt mishandled, and kind of stands in the way of true greatness for the show.

I think I can agree with that. The only redeeming factor in the last episode was

Spoiler:
the coughing up of the "slug" into the sink right at the end. Very much a nod to Lovecraft.

One thing that bothered me was that the

Spoiler:
Steve Harrington character gets the girl. It might be true to life but you would think Nancy Wheeler could have been a little more put off by his earlier antics. It's not like he saved the day or anything. He just got scared and stopped being a total ###### ###.


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Skeld wrote:
I'm the one who first mentioned the Gug. The way it's head-mouth opened reminded me of a Gug. It could be a Dimensional Shambler though. I'm not very familiar with them (other than the name sounding boring).

Gugs did travel to the Darklands by "tunneling through from the dimension of dreams." That's basically what this one did. I was recognized that thing as a Gug by episode 2, I was expecting the kids to start calling it that instead of "Demagorgon."

Sovereign Court

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Yep... gug is pretty much bang on. The one in this show appears to be medium, not large-sized, but that's about it..

"Gugs are 16 feet tall and weigh nearly 2,000 pounds, but they move with an eerie, unnatural gait as though their limbs contained far too many joints. They can contort and distend their limbs for greater reach or to wriggle easily through impossibly Small passages. Gugs may cling for long hours to cave walls or just within dark side-caverns, lying in wait for prey to stumble too close. Their senses are keen, however, and their joy in the bloody hunt is considerable and gugs who catch the scent of blood may stalk their prey for long days, even venturing at times beyond their caves to dare the bright lands of the surface in search of tasty meat to drag back for their horrific sacrifices."

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