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Dacre Montgomery’s uninhibited Stranger Things audition tape shows he was born to play Billy

Even though the character he plays is pretty horrible, it’s safe to say that Dacre Montgomery is a runaway hit as Billy, Hawkins, Indiana’s newest bad boy (take a seat, Steve) in the second season of Stranger Things. He really doesn’t have that many pre-Stranger Things credits—except for playing the Red Ranger in the …

It’s mazes, monsters, and unlikely heroes on a harrowing Stranger Things

After the genre-hopping delights of “Chapter Six: The Spy” and the dead-end detour of “Chapter Seven: The Lost Sister,” “Chapter Eight: The Mind Flayer” plunges Stranger Things right back into pure horror. This isn’t slow-build atmospheric horror, though the settings are rich in dreadful atmosphere. This is viciously…

Stranger Things 2’s biggest misstep highlights the limitations of spotlight episodes

Here’s a thought absolutely no one should have: “Well, seeing things from Ted Kaczynski’s perspective, I have a better idea of how this happened.” And yet there I was, on my couch, on a lazy Sunday afternoon, having that thought as I watched Paul Bettany fail to connect with the outside world in the scruffy, hermetic…

Nielsen releases Stranger Things 2 ratings that Netflix will inevitably dispute 

Recently, Nielsen—which uses a combination of magic and surveys to gauge how many people watch a TV show—announced that it would begin studying Netflix viewership numbers so it could determine how many people were streaming specific content on it service. Netflix didn’t like this, because it cares very deeply about…

A gripping Stranger Things broadens its danger and its genre influences

Stranger Things has proven itself adept at crafting scenes of dread rich in horror and sci-fi allusions without letting its inspirations overwhelm the show’s own distinctive style. It’s managed to turn initially sketched-out characters into a portrait of early-’80s small-town life that’s believable even when…

Explaining Stranger Things’ most obscure reference

The Dragon’s Lair prowess of the Stranger Things gang isn’t the only unbelievable sight inside the series’ era-appropriate arcade. The Palace is filled with recognizable cabinets—Dig Dug, Asteroids, Galaga—but buried in its backroom is a curious machine that even the most ardent retro game fans wouldn’t recognize: …

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Stranger Things serves a bracing cocktail of tension, humor, and baloney

I didn’t trust Bob Newby, a.k.a. “Bob The Brain,” until “Chapter Five: Dig Dug.” Something about his aw shucks optimism and gratitude doesn’t quite ring true. Bob’s speech to Will about Mr. Baldo is set up as a bonding moment. But that pep talk draws Will deeper into the shadow monster’s thrall, and Bob’s…