Aug 19 2016

Stranger Things Is All The Things

The Netflix series Stranger Things is all the things. I’m serious. I’ve never been affected by a television show like this before.

I’m going to attempt to explain. Please don’t get the men in white coats. I will also attempt not to spoil anything because you should watch Stranger Things and be amazed by it. There is a chance that I will mention something that happens on the show but I’m going to try not to.

DaddyTips, 'Strange'ified

 

(Make your own ‘Strange’ified text at MakeItStranger.com. But wait until you’ve watched the show.)

Everything about Stranger Things, including the pitch-perfect and totally brilliant fonts, is pure nostalgia. You can read about those aspects of the series everywhere. (Links are included below.)

What I haven’t read yet is what I think, which is the following:

Stranger Things is a dream I had but didn’t have, memories of a life I never lived but also did.

That’s harder to explain. I’ll give it a shot.

I grew up in the city. Lived in an apartment. Never learned to ride a bike. The kids in Stranger Things live in the suburbs, in houses, and ride their bikes everywhere.

Somehow, as I watched the series, especially the middle episodes (there are only eight in total, which is perfect both for your time and for the story being told), I found myself viewing the screen through a haze that I can only describe as memory, or a dream, or some combination of the two. The rest of my living room faded out and all I could see was my television. I mean this almost literally. It was an experience that I wish everyone could have because it was unlike anything I’ve ever felt before, at least when it comes to a TV show.

I suppose one could say that what I’m describing is what happens when you see a great movie, or at least what used to happen when you were younger and less jaded about entertainment. Maybe you are still less jaded, and if so, I envy you. In a world with so many entertainment options, it is difficult not to evaluate work differently than I once did. The sheer joy of seeing Star Wars for the first time is something that no one will ever experience again, if for no other reason than because no movie will ever come out of nowhere the way Star Wars did in 1977. That doesn’t mean the new stuff isn’t good. It is. (We all know how I feel about the first Avengers movie.) It’s simply different.

Stranger Things is different as well. Yes, the show taps into old movies, referencing specific ones. That’s not why I loved it. (If you’re interested in knowing what those references are, that information is very easy to come by.) What the show did for me was the following: it managed to be both entertaining and, in some very strange way, present a life experience that I never actually had. It’s the deepest form of nostalgia.

I want to repeat that one more time because it sounds so unbelievably odd: Stranger Things felt like something that happened to me, even though it obviously didn’t. (Again, I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but trust me, Stranger Things didn’t happen to anybody.)

A person could argue that this is simply the movie references at work. This person may be right. I don’t think they are. Somehow, the Duffer Brothers created a piece of entertainment that sprang forth from my own brain, from my my own memories of something I never actually experiencedThat is an impressive piece of work.

A few specific things I loved about the show:

  • The moment when Winona Ryder, who is so good in this she deserves every award, is going to leave her house but decides she’s going to stay instead. It sums up her character, and it’s an astonishing piece of acting.
  • The kids. Where did they get these kids, a time machine? I didn’t think they made kids like that anymore.
  • No parents. Yes, the kids have parents. But they are rarely seen. That’s extremely retro, and so important to the artistic success of the show. As a parent, I would never allow my children to be on their own the way I was, which is the way the kids on the show are. It was a different time. And I’m not a ‘helicopter parent’. Mothers and fathers simply don’t allow children to do their own thing the way parents in the 80s did. That’s not a social commentary, it’s a fact.
  • The walkie-talkies.
  • The majority of the adults, in particular the two parents (other than Winona Ryder) that we see more often than others, and also the science teacher. Well, and the police officers. OK, I like everybody on the show.
  • Yelling through rooms. “Time for dinner!” “OKAY! (gets quieter) Now listen, here’s what we need to do.” (Not a direct quote.) The jump between jarringly loud and normal speaking voices is something that I don’t think we do anymore. I know I did it. It’s a small detail, one of many, that make Stranger Things possibly even greater than the sum of its wonderful parts.
  • THE KIDS. ALL OF THEM. Everyone is talking about the main group of kids, and for good reason. They’re amazing. I want to include every kid, even the ones with small roles. And speaking of small roles…
  • The characters, and the actors who play those characters. Every detail in Stranger Things has been picked over in numerous articles online. This is because those details were carefully chosen. (Apparently there is one car that isn’t the correct year. I can’t find the story but I’m sure you can if you want to.) Every character, even the small ones, gets something to do. The main characters each have so much going on that in a lesser show it would be distracting. On Stranger Things, it isn’t. Orange is the New Black, another brilliant (for different reasons) Netflix series, manages a similar feat. But Stranger Things does it in a shorter amount of time and on a show with kooky stuff. Orange is the New Black is brilliant in part because it is based on events that actually happened, and as it continues, on events that still are happening, even if it’s not these specific events happening to these specific people. (That is, prisons are super messed up places and horrible things are happening in them.) Stranger Things somehow is about things that happened even though there is no way they could have happened. And in real life, everybody has a story. EVERYBODY ON STRANGER THINGS HAS A STORY. You don’t get to hear about all of their stories, which is also just like real life. (Again, please don’t get the men in white coats. I am aware that Stranger Things is a television show.)
  • D&D

There are so many other pleasures that came from watching this show. A friend told me when I started watching it that Stranger Things had “all the feels.” I thought I knew what he meant but I didn’t. Stranger Things brought up emotions in me that I didn’t know I could still access. I frequently had to pause an episode because I found myself getting more than a little verklempt. Three times while watching Stranger Things, I ate chocolate. Not because I was hungry, because I needed it. That has literally never happened to me before.

I hope you watch Stranger Things and that you enjoy it. I realize I’ve probably oversold it to the point where if the show doesn’t give you a foot massage while feeding you peeled grapes it won’t live up to the type. I apologize for that. Watch it anyway. It’s really good.

Other articles:

(Warning: many of these stories will reveal details of Stranger Things that it would be better for you not to know before you watch. This may not matter to you, which is fine. The warning is because I want to do my part to give you the experience that I had, which is impossible. But I want to try. I’m getting verklempt again. OK, here’s the list.)

Stranger Things Is a Nerdy Story That Is So Much More Than Its References, io9

Gizmodo’s Stranger Things coverage

I don’t totally agree with this, but I’m glad someone did it:
Stranger Things, Side-By-Side With Every Excellent Film It Borrows From (Sploid/Gizmodo)

An article from The Guardian about Winona Ryder, who is SO GOOD ON THIS SHOW

Read this Business Insider article only after you’ve watched the series; I don’t even want to include the title because it’s spoilery.

Watch this after you’ve watched the show. It’s very funny. (io9)

A review of Stranger Things and another Netflix series, The Get Down (The New Yorker)

Here are even more articles. Some of them look cool. See the disclaimer, but also this one: if don’t want to know anything about the show before you watch it, wait until after you do to read these stories. It’s OK. We’ll wait. And if you want to talk about Stranger Things, leave a comment below, or hit me up on Twitter.


Sep 02 2015

Netflix Giveth, Netflix Taketh Away, September 2015 Edition

Via The Mary Sue (originally via Death and Taxes), a list of what will be added and removed from Netflix in the month of September in the year 2015. A highly selective micro-list follows. For the full list, head over to The Mary Sue.

taro taking his pictures for netflix 'ads' (se...

taro taking his pictures for netflix ‘ads’ (see more here: tar0shiba.tumblr.com/post/967950437/shibaadvertisements2 ) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Notable losses:

Sept. 30
Apocalypse Now
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
World War Z

Notable gains:

Sept. 1
First Blood (1982), Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Rambo III: Ultimate Edition (1988) – So, like, ALL the Rambo.

Masters of the Universe (1987)

Mister Roger’s Neighborhood: Volume One – this is interesting. I’ve said in the past that it saddens me to know that children are growing up without Mister Rogers in their television lives. (My kids didn’t get to watch him, but he was important to me.) Will the show work as something to be streamed? I don’t know.

Sept. 12
Portlandia: Season Five – even when this show is bad, it doesn’t bother me. There’s something soothing about it. I’m not caught up, so it’s possible that they’ve run out of ideas by now. Still, I’ll probably watch when I get the chance. Side note: Carrie Brownstein wrote a book and is doing a reading in NYC in October. Anyone wanna go with me?

Sept. 18
Keith Richards: Under the Influence (2015) *Netflix Original – this *could* be interesting, as long as it isn’t too long and overly sanitized.

Sept. 22
SMOSH: The Movie (2015) – I was surprised to see this. It’s from the goofy guys who are mega YouTube stars. Here’s one of my personal favorites: a 7-year-old describes the Twilight movies based on the trailers. Semi-NSFW. My kid showed me this years ago.

Anyway, it would appear that they made a movie. Good for them. No, I mean actually good for them, not Christian Bale gooooood for them. I like it when people succeed.

Many, many more movies and TV shows coming and going from Netflix in September 2015. Hit the link below for the full list.

Source: Here’s What We’re Losing (and Gaining) on Netflix in September—Starting Tomorrow | The Mary Sue


Apr 17 2015

The Black Widow and Daredevil TV Show We Could Have Gotten

Ah, the 70s. Rich with history. Bell bottoms. Missed opportunities.

This is not one of them.

This photo is from Comic Book Resources (aka CBR), via The Mary Sue, both excellent websites for all things nerdy. Maybe I should say “all things formerly considered nerdy”, since when The Avengers movie makes $1.5 billion, it’s an Avengers world now, which kind of means there are a lot more nerds out there, and therefore how nerdy is it really to be into this stuff?

Answering my own question, caring at all about the fact that David Bowie’s ex-wife Angela Bowie (about whom The Rolling Stones’ song “Angie” may or may not be about, although that’s what most people think, including me until I just Googled it — trivia!) at one time “owned the TV rights to Daredevil and Black Widow”, according to CBR, is pretty nerdy.

This is a picture of the costumes. It is very 70s.

Daredevil and Black Widow That Never Happened

Considering how good the Netflix Daredevil series is, it’s probably for the best that this show never happened. Then again, there was 1988’s The Incredible Hulk Returns, which featured Hulk, Thor and Daredevil. That wasn’t particularly good (although of course I watched it), but it didn’t ruin the current incarnation. (Which really is quite good. You should check it out. Not with your kids, though, unless you have older kids. I’ll write more about it at some point.)

Perhaps it would have been interesting to see what Angela Bowie would have done with the role of Black Widow, since as a CBR commenter points out, “Bowie’s not really the problem in those DD/BW shots, though. That Daredevil costume is ridiculous.”

Indeed it is. But… the 70s. Even the entertainment that never happened was fun.

Comic Book Legends Revealed #440 – Page 3 of 3 – Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book ResourcesComics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources.

via The Mary Sue


Mar 02 2014

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Exclusively on Netflix

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – exclusively on Netflix – YouTube.


Apr 28 2013

Superhero Animation On Demand

As promised, here is a list of Superhero Animation that you can watch on demand. Some notes/comments/caveats:

DaddyTips Featured Video

– Most recent update: April 30, 2013

– All are available via Netflix unless otherwise indicated.

– Titles listed may suddenly become unavailable… or even better, new titles may show up. Such as Batman Beyond and Justice League which are now on Netflix. The greatness of this fact cannot be overstated.

– This page may be updated when new shows are added. I’m also going to make a different page for live action superhero programming. Because I’m cool like that. And I have a Geek Gold Card.

– This may shock some of you, but I have something to say about every single one of these shows. Therefore I will write posts for each entry as time permits. Check back for updates.

Without further ado, here is the list. If you know of anything I missed, leave a comment or contact me directly. This is important stuff, folks. Read more »


Mar 31 2013

Batman Beyond and Justice League Now on Netflix

Two of the best superhero cartoons ever are now available on NetflixBatman Beyond and Justice League.

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I’m futzing around on Twitter and I see this from IGN’s Joey Esposito:

 

So I tweets to Joey, I says, what Justice League cartoons? You mean these Justice League cartoons? Probably my favorite superhero cartoon ever? And he’s like, yeah. Netflix streaming. Batman Beyond too. I’m all, whoah. And he’s like…

OK, I can’t keep that going any more. Bottom line — if you have Netflix, you can watch Justice League, Justice League Unlimited and Batman Beyond on demand. Why aren’t you doing that right now?

h/t @JoeyEsposito


Jun 28 2012

Avatar The Last Airbender Is Awesome Despite The Movie (Updated With New Show Info)

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I’ve been watching Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender via Netflix with Thing 2 for a second time; Dark Horse Comics has been publishing comics that continue the tale told on TV and we both wanted to get back into that world. Since M. Night Shyamalan’s live-action Airbender movie was so awful, I also wanted to make sure that DaddyTips readers are aware of how awesome the cartoon and comics are, despite the fact that the movie was terrible. Also of note is a new animated series, Avatar: The Legend of Korra, which starts July 9th which has been on the air for awhile now but somehow I didn’t notice. I don’t know anything about the show, although I have a feeling I’ll be watching it. For now let’s discuss the original. Read more »