Crystal Fish is the script supervisor for my next short film. She is a lovely, intelligent, highly focused young woman with a strange obsession. I mean that literally. For her Thanksgiving holiday Crystal has forsaken family obligations of pumpkin pie and unboxing winter clothes. Instead she is binge-watching Netflix’s Stranger Things  on a continuous loop.

Netflix has officially overtaken HBO as my go-to channel. Yes, it is a strange new world when the home of Game of Thrones, Veep and John Oliver is no longer the first button I push when I can’t sleep at three o’clock in the morning, but there it is. The reason is Crystal’s humbling little show called Stranger Things. I have written about the joys of binge watching and how easy it is these days over all devices, but this. I bow to the clever writing. I quiver at the way the underlying adult psychodrama captivates me while I’m watching a story starring children. Stranger Things is about the search for a missing 12-year-old boy who disappears under the watchful eye of a government research facility in a small Midwestern town. The boy’s family and friends team up to find him and discover mysterious and supernatural freaky happenings at the government facility. This nostalgic series set in the 1980s uses child protagonists as stand-ins for the grown up target audience whose own adolescence was during that era.

The cast is stellar from newcomers like Millie Bobby Brown as an escapee from the facility with Carrie-like telekinetic powers to 1980s OG Winona Ryder as the missing boy’s mother. thThe spookiness reminds me of The X-files while the pre-teen adventure/mystery is not unlike The Goonies. What a combination. This is not your teenager’s binge. The science fiction show is all grown up and ready to rumble. Each episode layers in the idea of fear and trust and government shenanigans (sound familiar) and pulls you deeper into the strange conspiracy and its literal monster. It’s not scary like a horror, but grounded in a realism that makes sense in our changing and uncertain world of unknown dangers.  The web is abuzz with all kinds of theories and prognostications for season 2.  Emerging writers please note: when forty-something fanboys and girls actually cut their workout time in half to argue with strangers online over whether a badass preteen bald girl with telekinetic powers will destroy your fictional town in  Indiana, you know you have a hit.

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tv-627876_1280Welcome to the digital revolution. Yeah, I know we have been in the digital revolution for some time. Cable and satellite TV have been overthrown by the likes of Roku and AppleTV. Only half of the people I know still have a land line telephone. You know you’re old when your child refuses to believe telephones use to have wires that plugged into the wall. “That’s what those plugs are for, baby.” But the major gut busting change is streaming movies and television shows on all of your devices: TV, computer, tablet, mobile… Think of it. No longer do we have to rush home for appointment viewing. We can watch the latest Game of Thrones episode in line at the DMV. In America, our forefathers and mothers fought world wars and domestic terror for the right to vote for our elected representatives, to marry the person of our choice, and to skip commercials. No, I’m not crying, I just have something in my eye. Read More →