Stranger Things (Season 1) (2016)

While this retro-science-fiction/horror hybrid could have been a complete disaster, it’s instead something of a miracle: Combining elements from 1980s genre classics (everything from “Poltergeist” to “E.T.” to “A Nightmare on Elm Street” to “The Thing” to “The Blob” and so on) but never succumbing to being a facsimile of any, “Stranger Things” manages to put its deeply compelling story first and its influences second. Aided greatly by terrific genre acting – led by an intense, entirely believable Winona Ryder, whose tour-de-force performance recalls Shelley Duvall in “The Shining” – the show weaves a complex, emotionally investing and riveting tale that never stops to take a breath, and doesn’t allow the audience to, either. A solid popular classic that’s sure to be watched and re-watched for decades to come.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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