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‘Stranger Things 2’ is bigger and stranger than before

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Eleven, Will, Mike, Dustin, and Lucas are back for season two of the popular Netflix series “Stranger Things.” In a season full of surprises, show creators the Duffer Brothers expand on the storylines for many the characters and the special effects are better developed which is what makes it much different from last. While the expansion of everyone’s story lines doesn’t necessarily have you on edge like season one, but watching the characters mature and the actors own their performances makes season two just as enjoyable.

The massive overnight success added a great deal of pressure for creators of the show, the Duffer Brothers, to exceed the expectations of last season while staying true to the characters viewers fell in love with.

Season one left off with the disappearance of Eleven and Will’s effort to try and live a normal life again after his time in the Upside Down, leaving us questioning if things would ever go back to normal in the eerie Hawkins, Indiana.

The season picks up with the boys almost a year later right around Halloween, 1984. Will (Noah Schnapp) is still recovering from his time in the Upside Down but things don’t exactly get better for him as he suffers from something that doctors believe is a form of PTSD.

The portal to the alternate dimension remains open and Will continues to be connected to what took him.

Schnapp gets much more screen time than he previously did last season as most the episodes revolve around his character’s story. His performance is peculiar and menacing which sets the tone for the second season of the show.

Throughout the season, Mike (Finn Wolfhard) misses Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and hopes for her return, while Nancy mourns the death of best friend Barb.

Dustin (Gaten Mattarazzo) and Lucas’s (Caleb McLaughlin) story lines develop as well. The two characters still seem to make their contentious relationship grow, as Max (Sadie Sink) the new girl joins the group.

Even their family’s story lines are expanded. The parents of Dustin, Lucas, and Mike are extremely clueless as to what the boys are doing, adding a comedic element to the creepy season.

Johnathan (Charlie Heaton) and Steve (Joe Keery) are still both in love with Nancy (Natalia Dyer). However, Steve’s character goes from selfish high school jock to gallant dad-like role model for the kids, including Dustin.

David Harbour is back as irritable Chief Jim Hopper. Harbour’s performance is full of emotion. He’s witty but dominant and shows us a softer more emotional side this time around.

New characters also add an interesting element to the season. Dacre Montgomery plays Billy, Max’s evil brother and Steve’s new rival. Paul Riser is Dr. Owens who takes over the U.S. Department of Energy and Sean Astin is Bob, Joyce’s (Winona Ryder) new nerdy boyfriend.

Astin and Riser’s presence to the show adds to the 1980s nostalgia and allusions that the show presents.

The editing of each episode is also done extremely well. The way the scenes of each episode are cut and intertwined showing great sense of pacing and helping tell the story in a way that only the Duffer brothers can.

According to Nielsen data, 15.8 million people watched the first episode of the newest season over the first three days (Oct. 27-29) that Netflix released it. 361,000 people binged the entire season in the first 24 hours that the new season was released.

If you haven’t already started watching season two of “Stranger Things”, get on it. You’re missing out on great acting, great visuals, and great story telling.

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‘Stranger Things 2’ is bigger and stranger than before