Stranger Things 2: It was good, but I preferred Series 1

SPOILER ALERT

This weekend, I finished Stranger Things 2 – which was a huge achievement for me.

I’m a big commitment phobe – when it comes to watching television series, of course – and find it hard to stick with anything because of my busy and fabulous life.

I began watching Season 2 on Halloween because I thought it would scare me.

But by episode 4, the only thing I was feeling was a bit snoozalicious.

The next day, I told my friends how bored I was with Stranger Things 2.

“You’ve got to give it time!” They said.

(Incidentally, isn’t this always the way? Almost every TV series needs ‘time’…)

But to be fair to these friends, they were right.

After episode 4, Stranger Things 2 did grow on me, so much so that I became addicted – and had to watch about seven episodes in one sitting.

So well done to the Duffer brothers; they are very clever, and have great facial hair.

Series 2 is similar to Series 1 in many ways – namely because the characters fall victim to a parallel universe with monsters and mysterious forces that they must defeat.

There are new characters involved along the way.

My favourite was Bob, who’s Joyce’s boyfriend in the series (Joyce being the character played by Winona Ryder).

He’s introduced as a simple, kind sort – whom you have a feeling Joyce could do better than.

But then he turns out to be intelligent and extremely brave – and you realise you got him all wrong!

Oh life’s ironies; how I enjoy them.

I shed at least four tears when Bob was killed off.

EVEN SO. Even in spite of all this, I did not think Series 2 was as good as Series 1.

Although saying that, Series 1 is very, very good, so Series 2 is simply very good by comparison.

One big reason I didn’t like Series 2 as much is because I hate sequels generally – aside from Addams Family Values.

They’re often rubbish – and motivated purely by monetary needs, never artistic integrity.

So Stranger Things 2 was always onto an uphill struggle at winning over yours truly.

But it was the trivial elements that got me pulling my ‘hmm’ face.

For one, I was confused about why Nancy dumps Steve for Jonathan.

Steve is gorgeous and nice.

Jonathan looks anaemic and has no personality.

Why, Nancy, why?

Maybe the Duffer brothers need to hire me as their Consultant Casting Director for Babelicious Men – so I can set them on the right path.

I’m also not keen on the character Eleven any more. She becomes really snotty in Series 2, and that’s not just her nose – which I wish would stop bleeding. It’s her attitude too.

Oh, and I’m tired of her being the only one to save the world.

Give someone else a go, lav!

Like I said, I did still enjoy Series 2 – so none of this is to say it wasn’t jolly good entertainment.

It’s wacky and the characters are – on the whole – loveable and easy to get attached to.

And, like Season 1 it is able to captivate huge audiences. I don’t even like sci-fi but I’m glued to this.

But I feel that some of the more mundane things – rather than the stranger things –  of the plot need developing for Series 3.

 

 

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Why are we all spying on each other with technology?

Something concerns me of recent in our society, and that is the tendency for people to spy on each other with technology. Social media, in particular, has become a common way to shame unsuspecting members of the public. Just this week there has been a nationwide hunt for a ‘love rat’ called Ben, after he was (apparently) overheard on a train boasting about his sexual escapades – despite having a girlfriend. The woman listening to his conversation, named on Twitter as Emily, couldn’t bear to keep any of this to herself – of course, why would she? – but instead wrote to all her followers: ‘If anyone has a boyfriend called Ben on the Bournemouth – Manchester train right now, he’s just told his friends he’s cheating on you. Dump his ass x’. Twenty-seven thousand Twitter users, at the time of writing, shared her post.

Perhaps Emily felt she had been the hero that day she chose to broadcast the conversation of what she describes as ‘a group of boys’, but one has to wonder where exactly it might lead to should anyone discover Ben’s real identity. People are pushed to the edge when they have been publicly shamed – so strong is the current of mass condemnation. Even Deborah Meaden posted about Ben on her Twitter account; eager to draw attention to the initial Tweet. Poor bloke, is all I can think. I hope he knows that, whatever his faults, I defend his right to boast on a train.

Unfortunately, it is becoming common for public to incriminate others through technology – in a strange type of vigilantism. In the past, mobile phones were used in reasonable ways to promote justice and safety; Tweets have alerted great numbers of people to danger – in the wake of terrorist attacks – and videos have provided evidence in court. But we have gradually started to document less serious behaviour with technology; trivial acts that might have been mitigated and dealt with privately are now spread out for the masses to feast on. Last month a woman was filmed dragging her child along a road in Liverpool, in a video that was widely shared and criticised; it later transpired he had autism, and the mother was struggling to cope. The damage has been done, and the woman’s reputation stained – now that we are so keen to spy on each other, rather than communicate directly.

All of this ultimately means that over time, the public will grow more and more wary of how they act out and about, in case they find themselves on film or social media. After all, who wants to have a chat on the train in these current circumstances, knowing someone might post about it later on Twitter? Or film it all?

Even the Pestminster scandal has made me think twice about who I want to email. That’s because, among the serious allegations, were also instances of women, like Kate Maltby, who broadcasted harmless messages with Damian Green for all to see. The Twitter communications of the journalist Rupert Myers were also widely distributed, as examples of his gross sexual misconduct. None of these scribblings ever came across as elucidating or damning, just the sort of thing many people send to each other every day. Was it fair to share? I don’t think so. Besides, I tend to believe there are unwritten rules when it comes to technological communication; namely, that you do not distribute it, unless it poses a serious danger.

It seems to me that we have never really lost that urge, since the Gladiator games, to cause people pain on a huge scale – albeit now through technology. We love to see the little man fall, perhaps because this deflects away from our own humanity – and faults. Now we do this through our camera phones.

I do still think that technology has an important role in protecting us all, if it is used to capture the worst of mankind’s behaviour. But there has to be some sort of balance; we should not live in a society where we can find our lives ruined because of what we say on public transport. That is more dangerous than any ‘love rat’.