Stranger Things (Season 2) (2017)

Call me crazy, but even with how much I enjoyed the crowd-pleasing first season, I thought this follow-up was even better: It’s more focused, there’s less need for set-up, while the narrative moves forward at breakneck speed without ever feeling compromised or rushed. The cast is just as strong in this second season, with Winona Ryder finding room for optimism for her perpetually-distraught character and aided greatly by support from the always-welcome Sean Astin, but the standout is clearly Noah Schnapp, whose Will here goes through quite the narrative arc. My only complain would be Dacre Montgomery’s Billy: While Montgomery’s performance radiates with charisma and star power, the character has little relevance to the overall story and feels more like an unnecessary distraction. Nevertheless, this is one of the strongest follow-ups to a juggernaut original, expanding on what made the first entry so great without becoming a facsimile of it.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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