Face Off: ‘Stranger Things’ Season 2 is better

A step above the first season, O’Neill writes

Erin O'Neill, Reporter

“Stranger Things” was great. But as Dustin would say, “Stranger Things 2” is “totally tubular.” The characters and universe that much of the world seemingly fell in love with last summer, are back and better than ever.

For starters, the acting in “Stranger Things 2” is a huge step above the first season. The acting was great in the first season, but it was even better the second time around. Noah Schnapp, who viewers didn’t get to see much of in Season 1, delivers a performance as Will Byers that is just as amazing as it is haunting, and that is only one of the outstanding performances audiences see in “Stranger Things 2.” The best acting in Season 2 is done by kids, which is incredibly impressive.

Additionally, the cultural references in “Stranger Things 2” make it appealing to viewers of all ages. From the Reagan/Bush campaign sign in the Wheelers’ front yard, to the Russian conspiracy theory jokes, to the all of the nods to “ET,” “Ghostbusters,” “Risky Business” and “Alien” seen throughout the season, each viewer is able to identify with a blast from the past.

Even one of the newest characters, Bob, played by Sean Astin, alludes to a part of ’80s culture. He starred in one of the most beloved movies of the decade, “The Goonies.”

Also, can we talk about how the soundtrack for “Stranger Things 2” adds to all of this ‘80s nostalgia? The classic and iconic songs featured in pivotal scenes of the season took things to a whole other level.

The unlikely alliances and bonds formed between characters (and even some creatures) in “Stranger Things 2” are another factor that make it so great. They are incredibly dynamic and meaningful. No spoilers here, but be prepared to laugh and cry as you see these relationships play out on your screen.

We are introduced to the newest residents of Hawkins, Indiana, Billy and Max. We get to see only a glimpse of their complex, and at times scary, relationship this season, but that just gives fans of the iconic Netflix show even more to look forward to in the future.

“Stranger Things 2” has a tendency to pull at your heartstrings, as our favorite characters are exposed in even more heart-wrenchingly emotional ways. More insight into the pasts of several characters is given, and many of them embark of journeys of self-discovery and realization.

Perhaps the most notable thing that sets the second season apart from the first is that while “Stranger Things 2” saw several major enhancements, the creators of the show, the Duffer brothers, never strayed from what made the show so great in the first place.

Shawn Levy, one of the show’s producers, perfectly explained the vision for Season 2. He said on Netflix’s aftershow “Beyond Stranger Things,” “From our very first conversations about Season 2, it was clear that (the creators) wanted Season 2 to be more cinematic, but their instinct to always stay true to these characters, no matter how big the scale went.”