Bigger and better than before, Stranger Things 2 is a huge success. The Duffer brothers expand on everything that made the first season as good as it was, and add a lot of depth to the Stranger Things world and its inhabitants.

One of the best aspects of season two was seeing the development of all of the returning characters, as well as the complex interplay between them. The relationship between Hopper and Eleven is particularly compelling, leading to some of the most emotional moments of the whole season. We are also given some humorous insights into some of the boys’ families, the introduction of Dustin’s mom and Lucas’s sister giving these characters some well deserved depth. The tension of the love triangle between Nancy, Steve and Jonathan was also a welcome addition to the show; and who doesn’t love the bromance between Dustin and Steve, the world’s best baby sitter? Through their developments, the Duffer brothers have created some characters that we can really grow fond of. Season two also boasts the introduction of some new characters, such as Bob Newby, the loveliest and most likeable character to grace the world of Stranger Things (#JusticeforBob). This season also saw the addition of Maxine, who brings some tension and conflict between the boys in a number of ways; her brother Billy on the other hand, although not hugely developed, becomes a well-needed human antagonist, as the shadow monster remains quite an abstract villain.

The second season is also a lot more grandiose. The ‘upside down’ is explored further, and the addition of ‘Demidogs’ leads to some climactic action sequences, which were lacking in the first season. The CGI effects are more striking, and so is the cinematography, a highlight of which includes a full 360 degree rotation every time someone enters the upside down.

Similar to the first season, there is an abundance of delightful Easter eggs and pop-culture references. Scenes from The Evil Dead were recreated shot for shot, and cheesy one-liners from movies like Aliens were slotted in, immersing us in 1980’s nostalgia. You can find these subtle nods in every episode, which is part of the charm of Stranger Things.

Season two, however, still has some flaws. There were clearly some elements of the plot from the first season that were copied and pasted. Maxine acts as the new girl in the gang for a big part of the story, just like El did previously. Joyce’s puzzle-solving fairy lights from season one were replaced by Will’s enigmatic drawings; and Will, possessed and tormented, continues to be a non-character waiting to be rescued. The biggest failure, however, was episode seven ‘The Lost Sister’, with the addition of Kali and her suicide squad. With characters that are underdeveloped and unnecessary, it completely stops the pace of the season, especially when episode 6 ended with such an amazing cliff-hanger. It acts as a coming of age side plot, like when Luke had to go to Dagobah to meet and train with Yoda, but the Duffer Brothers recreate this poorly. It also pushes for an obvious spin-off series, which nobody actually wants.

Despite its flaws, Stranger Things 2 was fantastic, and arguably as good if not better than the first season; as before, my life will be incomplete until the next season comes out.