The End (2016) is Nigh

From October to the end of December I was a bit of a busy bee. For starters, I spent an entire weekend watching the new phenomenal Netflix series The Crown; a remarkable telling of the first few years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign in the 1950’s. To be quite honest, I could have written an entire blog post on how much I loved the show, from the most realistic characterisations of the royals and prominent government figures I have ever seen in any other re-telling (producers didn’t hold back from showing Churchill as the misogynistic, rude, pig-headed man he was in real life), to the beautiful interior locations standing in for Kensington and Buckingham Palace. Not to mention the acting (Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret became a quick fan favourite). 

When I wasn’t watching a TV show I became more confident in my baking. I decided to make a triple chocolate cake for my Dad’s birthday; it was devoured by my family within 24 hours so I must have done something right! I made 2 simple chocolate sponges, whipped up a dark chocolate frosting to spread in the middle of the two and covered it in a dark chocolate ganache (and topped it off with loads of Maltesers, because they’re my dad’s favourite!). I’ve also recently been experimenting with cheesecakes, baking them with sponge mixes such as carrot cake and chocolate. I’ve never been a fan of cold, biscuity cheesecakes but eating them hot out of the oven, as a sort of cake, was delicious. I’m hoping to bake more in the new year, possibly experimenting with herbs and plants in biscuits and small puddings (after I’ve eaten the hundreds of chocolates I’ve acquired over the holidays!).

I experienced my first leg of freelance work, leading a team of videographers in filming a business event. It was an event consisting of stall holders, a fashion show/catwalk, award giving and performances. It was scary that I had this huge responsibility on my shoulders to lead a team, ensure the equipment existed and was available at the time, get everyone to the location, film as much as possible with little problem and all of this without the support of the lecturers and University that I have been used to for the past three years. I definitely enjoyed the experience and it was great to feel busy once again since I finished my course in May, but I’m not sure freelance work of this kind is the kind of thing I want to do for a living. I’m not sure I like being my own boss! (Maybe in thirty years time when I have a heck of a lot more experience and confidence, but not right now!). We’ve still got the edit to complete so maybe I’ll feel a lot better once I see a finished product.

So after going to Dublin for five days in September and travelling for filming I was running low on money and needed to find a part time job quickly to be able to buy gifts for Christmas. I was so lucky to land myself some work at a local pudding shop. The owners (a sweet old couple named Mr and Mrs Bridges) needed someone to wash up the dishes and give a helping hand when they needed it. They were so steeped under with orders for Christmas puddings (they provided batches to the local pubs as well as fulfilling online orders) that I was very quickly bumped up from washer-upper to baking assistant within my first shift! Before I knew it I was gift wrapping, finishing off puddings, filling pots with mixture and even making toffee sauces! I’ve never felt more integral to the smooth running of something before; they had ever met me before but they gave me a lot of responsibility and believed in my efficiency, which probably sounds a little silly but it made me feel incredibly special and important to the company. They have a break all of January but they want me back in February and even want my help selling their products at local events in the new year which I’m looking forward to. 

Christmas is my absolute favourite time of year. The tinsel, the lights, the music, the colours, EVERYTHING is so jolly and exciting! This year I realised for the first time that I enjoy giving presents a lot more than I like receiving them; obviously I love being given a gift but I have nearly everything I need as I’m older so I mostly just get chocolates, clothes and bath ‘stuff’. However, buying things I know people are going to love unwrapping makes me so happy. I got my parents a ChromeCast this year; for context, I’d introduced them to Netflix in the Summer and my dad has loved being able to watch old Westerns on his laptop, and my mum keeps seeing TV shows that she’d love to watch but can’t because she hates how small the laptop screen is, so now they can watch whatever they want on the television. And the “YES!!” I heard from my little brother when he opened his Deadpool Xbox One game was very satisfying. I did get some great presents as well though. I now have a keyboard for my iPad so I can now type blogposts with a lot less frustration! I’m already half way through The Victoria Letters, a book telling the life of Queen Victoria up until the birth of her first child, via her letters and journal entries. It’s so fascinating to read in her own words how she felt and what she thought about the events surrounding her in the first few years of being Queen. It also ties in with the ITV drama of her life that aired a few months ago, confirming which bits were true to her life and which parts were exaggerated/didn’t happen at all (I really recommend this book if you enjoyed the series or are interested in the intimate domestic life of the real Queen). I have to say, I was also pleased to find new (festive!) socks from Santa too.

So as this year comes to an end (and after everything that’s happened in the world, it really couldn’t come soon enough to be honest) I look to 2017 with a lot of hope. I don’t have a plan; I want to be happy most of all in whatever I end up doing. I want to at least be on the right path towards moving into a city and working somewhere I look forward to going to everyday. I want to worry less and take more chances. And I want to surround myself with positive people. If I can achieve even some of this in 2017, then it will be a successful year. 

Happy New Year everyone (and thank you so much if you managed to get to the end of this post!).

Luke Cage: A Brooding, Atmospheric, Old-School Detective Series (Spoiler free)

“There’s something powerful about seeing a black man, that’s bullet proof, and not afraid” is a quote from episode 12 that perfectly sums up the premise of this new Marvel Netflix show and the themes that run throughout the series. I’m not going to lie, I spent the entire weekend binge watching Luke Cage and enjoying every minute of it. It’s very different to the fast pace of Jessica Jones and feels less of a superhero show than Daredevil. Here is why I enjoyed it so much.
The music is amazing. And I don’t just mean a soundtrack. This show celebrates old school jazz and blues by bringing in artist and band performances in club scenes throughout the first half of the series. The performances themselves are bold, brave and entice you into the scene (keep an eye out for Jidenna’s “Long Live The Chief” in particular) whereas the music playing is soft, atmospheric with powerful messages. It sets up what kind of show this is and the characters Luke will be dealing with; slow burning plots and antagonists. 
The performances are set in Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes’ club which incorporate some of the most beautiful shots I’ve ever seen in Marvel TV. The club often sees dark reds, purples and blues lighting up walls behind powerful, dangerous characters. The symmetry is my favourite thing about the club scenes; if it’s not the characters dead centre of the frame with equally symmetrical props in the background, it’s patterns on the floor (seen using over-the-head crane shots)/wall or the popular shot of Cottonmouth perfectly lining up in front of the crown of the Biggie painting. This show looks beautiful because the camerawork works in symbiosis with the set design wonderfully. 
Talking of that fantastic shot with the Biggie painting, that episode and the next (1&2) were directed by Sherlock regular director Paul McGuigan which is obvious when you see text messages on the screen and Misty’s brilliant investigation scenes which are similar to Sherlock’s “mind palace”; one second we’re watching Misty thinking about a theory, the camera tracks quickly into her expression and the next second we’re panning out to see we’re in Misty’s mind as she’s figuring out (correctly) what happened at the crime scene. With McGuigan’s help, this show feels like a crime drama running alongside a superhero series to create something new. 
I have to also talk about Mahershala Ali’s Cottonmouth. He by far out shone any other character, in my opinion. He wasn’t in-your-face threatening, his anger was controlled, his cackling laugh was chilling and effective, and some of his best scenes was when he said nothing at all but you could see the calculating cogs turning behind his eyes. He was a dangerous character because he could be reasoned with, he had a really sad back story that demonstrated how his life could have gone a completely different way (he was a musical genius) and you empathise with him. Ali brings the dark side to Luke Cage that makes you believe there probably men like Cottonmouth in this world.
The pace is definitely slow-burning, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially during the first half of the series. The blues rhythms, the moody oranges and yellows often lighting the protagonists and the smooth tracking camera movements create the feel of the pace. However, the plots kept evolving which meant it didn’t feel non-progressive. By the middle of the series, it felt like another series was continuing. The plot changes completely from how you think it’s going to go which was a surprise as well as a smack in the face. I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want this review to be full of spoilers but watch out for new characters that will turn Luke’s world around.
Luke is an interesting character. I was looking forward to this new series because I liked him in Jessica Jones but I wasn’t entirely convinced that he could hold his own series well. He’s stoic, holds his cards against his chest, a man of few words and lets his actions speak for himself but all of this turned out to be the reasons why I’ve fallen in love with him. He doesn’t feel like a hero, just a man who wants to keep the people he loves safe, who happens to also have extraordinary abilities. The thing is, this show is more about the antagonists than it is Luke Cage. It felt like I was watching the bad guys doing their thing and Luke was reacting to it amongst his issue with not wanting to be a superhero. I had to slowly grow to love Luke because I wasn’t seeing much from him, which is disappointing. One of my favourite episodes was “Step In The Arena” (episode 4) which is basically Luke’s origin story and so revolves around him. It brought out his present character and made you understand why he’s a man that likes staying in the shadows instead of being in the spotlight. I really hope they make the next series all about him and put the antagonists on the sidelines instead. 
Overall a brilliantly produced show to add to the Marvel Netflix collection. A lot of thought and careful planning has gone into the way it looks and makes you feel, the characters are well-rounded, the directing is great and it’s never dull. I found the first half of the series better than the second half but I was happy with how they left the series final open, not quite a cliffhanger but wetting your appetite for Iron Fist early next year and the joining of The Defenders. I can’t wait to see the future of Luke Cage. 

My travels to Dublin

I haven’t updated my blog in a couple of weeks. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I’ve been juggling job hunting, post-travel blues and terrible internet connection that comes with living in the middle of nowhere. I did take myself on a little trip to Dublin, however. A beautiful city in the Republic of Ireland, I had a great time visiting the history museums, local restaurants and bumping into numerous art features of questionable taste. I travelled on my own; I had a few people tell me I shouldn’t do this, that it wouldn’t be safe, I’d be lonely but it turned out to be an experience I thoroughly enjoyed and would absolutely do again. And whilst I was there I jotted down a few things that I learnt along the way.

Airports aren’t as scary as they seem.
I haven’t been to an airport since I was 14 when I was with family so I didn’t have to deal with any of the boarding passes, luggage allowances or passport control. This time I had to handle all of this on my own, I had no clue where to even start so it was through research and a lot of luck that I even got onto that plane! Airport staff are super friendly though and are always happy to help; I sometimes didn’t know when I needed to show my boarding pass or my passport (or both) but they didn’t care if I got it wrong. It’s quite obvious where to go at each stage, either the staff tell you at the check point or the big screens do. And once I’d learnt what to do at the airport to get to Dublin, it made getting back home so much smoother.

Trusting people is okay
I stayed in a hostel in the city, with between 5-7 room mates every night. They came and went so I never had the chance to make friends but for the first couple of nights I became friendly with a couple of girls from London, we recommended places to each other we’d come across and discussed our days. Overall it almost felt like a big sleepover but with strangers. Other interesting conversations I had included spending an entire bus ride from the zoo talking British politics with an Irish Corbyn supporter and having a serious conversation about Ireland’s ridiculous anti-abortion laws with an Amnesty International punk. Putting aside my awkwardness and having a chat with some locals became some of my most memorable moments of my trip. 
Wandering is fun
On my first day I arrived at the hostel around 3pm, which gave me plenty of time to wander about the city. I didn’t have a plan or look at my maps, I knew the general direction to the river which I knew I’d have to cross to get to the heart of the city. Some of my favourite times was wandering around and discovering. During that evening I found a pirate ship, the famous Temple Bar district, a tiny indoor market with amazing frozen yogurt and Dublin Castle. I was a tourist and there’s nothing wrong with acting like one either. It also meant that I got to find the nearest essential places, such as supermarkets, ATMs and bus stops. 

Travel
The last time I travelled abroad we rented a car so we could easily get around, but not having a car isn’t an excuse to restrict yourself to the area in which you’re staying. As a rich tourist area, Dublin was easy to navigate to attractions a few miles away but wherever you go there will be buses, or maybe trams, you can look up the routes of, probably even local tours if that’s your thing. Don’t be scared to explore outside of your comfort zone. And don’t take taxis, even to and from the airport (if you can help it), coaches or buses take more scenic routes. Be wise with money
An obvious one, but I quickly found out that European prices in a capital city are rather high! Plus when I arrived at the hostel I forgot to take into account that I had only paid my deposit online and had to pay the rest upfront, which took a dent out of my purse. Needless to say I very quickly started running out of money, fortunate,y I had plenty of places to go for free. But planning ahead or budgeting may not be a bad thing before travelling. 

Travelling alone isn’t for everyone
Obviously there was a lot of doing stuff on my own, such as eating at restaurants, but on the flip side there was also a lot of not doing stuff on my own. For instance in the late evenings when there wasn’t much to do I found myself watching TV back at the hostel whilst my roommates were out. I didn’t mind it, it gave me time to rest without distraction but it might make some people feel lonely. On this trip I found that I loved the freedom that came with choosing where I wanted to go and changing my mind without reason if I wanted to and I didn’t have to make compromises to please what someone else wanted to do. But some people would rather have the company and a shared experience than any of this, which is understandable. 
Dont fall into “home” habits
I never leave the house without my earphones in my ears blasting music loud enough that I tune out the world around me. There was none of that in Dublin. I wanted to have the full experience and I couldn’t do that if I wasn’t taking in the sounds of the city. I think it would have ruined my trip if I had fallen into that habit. Also, don’t lie in until midday! I couldn’t believe that there were people in my room that did this. I wanted to be out of the hostel by 10am at the latest. Not only was the weather usually nicer in the morning, but it meant less people would be queuing up at attractions and restaurants/cafes wouldn’t be as busy. As I mentioned before, being a tourist isn’t a bad thing. Get out early, take in the sights of the place and enjoy the most of your travels.

It is estimated that around a third of Britons travelling abroad do so alone, so it’s not as uncommon as you think. If you just need a break from family or friends, or it’s a necessity don’t be put off that you won’t have a companion if you really want to go someplace new. 

Instagram accounts you should follow


Instagram is a fantastic visual social media that boasts 300 million active users every single day, and is probably my favourite and most used app. However, I don’t always use this platform to my advantage because I’m too busy looking through other people’s beautiful pictures of their pets or pretty sunsets or selfies of my celebrity crushes. Here is a list of my top 10 favourite Instagram accounts and why I love them so much. 

1. AnneliesVanOverbeek

Annelies is a young woman who loves recreating historical characters, old photographs and her idols (she also occasionally posts pictures of her cat Darcy). She has a large wardrobe of vintage clothes and shoes that I am forever in awe of. And she’s lovely too, always thanking everyone who follows and compliments her. 

2. Ruby.Tandoh

You may remember Ruby as the runner up on the Great British Bake Off in 2013. Well she’s still baking, has a book out and often writes baking columns for The Guardian. She’s funny on her social media sites shutting down haters, fangirling over celebs (usually Harry Styles) and promoting body positivity and eating whatever the fuck you want to eat without feeling guilty. She’s a wonderful role model for everyone.

3. Cats_of_Instagram

This Instagram always makes me happy. If it’s not cats looking cute it’s cats falling over and styling it out. 

4. Australia 

For as long as I can remember I have had the dream of eventually living and working in Australia. So whilst I wait to become rich(!) I have this account to keep me dreaming. There’s a range of beautiful perfect sunsets and towering cityscapes along with snaps of classic Australian animals looking adorable.

5. BlackJaguarWhiteTiger

A non-profit foundation that looks after and treats abused big cats (among others), this account gives you an up-close and personal look at some of the most beautiful wild animals in the world, whilst educating you on the threats they face everyday. The man who runs the sanctuary is very good at keeping his followers in the know; he shows you what animals are being medically treated and why, what food he feeds what animals, what stimulation/entertainment they need. He’s also adamant that they are NOT his pets and this is why these sanctuarys are necessary (a lot of the animals used to be pets before their owners refused to look after them once they grew too big). It’s a foundation that’s worth the support. 

6. MinimalistBaker

Just the way Dana pictures her food will have you wanting to eat everything you see. Her aim is to show you food that is quick to create and easy to understand, without fuss or stress. It’s also mostly vegetarian, so no expensive and fiddly meats to work with. 

7. NatGeo

I love these kinds of accounts that not just present beautiful photos of the world, but also write paragraphs about what you’re seeing, and usually educate you at the same time. There is a large variety of photos on display, from mysterious sea creatures in the Atlantic to panda keepers dressed in panda costumes tracking cubs in China, some are funny, some are sad and others are inspiring. As someone who has always wanted to travel the world, this gives me a little insight into what is out there that I am yet to experience. 

8. StyledByMarvel

I love this account despite wanting to spend all my money on the products. The Instagram doesn’t make the products themselves, but points you in the direction to where you can purchase them. It’s not the type of comic book merch you’d find on official websites, but (in my opinion) a lot more creative and discreet in its design. 

9. JuniperFoxx

This is run by a woman who brought a fox (Juniper) from a breeder and simply started posting pictures of her online, slowly attracting a following who fell in love. She has now turned the account educational, informing people on the facts of living with and looking after a fox (sometimes accompanied by images of her bitten hands and destroyed clothes!). Juniper is adorable and has the happiest of smiles.

10. AmyPoehlerSmartGirls

A truly uplifting, feminist account that makes you feel great about being a person. It’s feel-good, inspirational and supports women all over the world for a variety of reasons. It’s created by comedian Amy Poehler and her best friend Meredith Walker so it’s also funny and quirky. 

Hidden Treasures of Netflix UK

In the past couple of years Netflix has become the most popular on-demand service, both for popping back into old programmes you used to love and binge watching new shows you can’t resist. But there is also the other kind of content, the documentary that doesn’t make it to the ‘Trending Right Now’ list, the film that Netflix doesn’t notify you is available, the TV series that has been forgotten. But some are brilliantly scripted, or have interesting characters, or look absolutely beautiful and they’re not being given the love they deserve.

There are so many programmes and films I could put here but I’m going to keep it short with just a few that I think everyone should have a look at.

1. iZombie. 
A hard working, goody-two-shoes, on the right path to success and happiness, Liv gets pressured into going to a party and wakes up as a zombie. She breaks up with her fiancé, moves in with her best friend and starts working in a morgue to satisfy her hunger for brains when she discovers that she takes on the personality and memories of the deceased when she eats their brain. She uses this ability to help the local Police Department to solve murders. 

It’s a dark comedy/drama with heart. The characters are amusing and full of life, the overall story arc of each season makes this show so good at binge watching because you just want to find out what’s going to happen. The zombie thing isn’t cliche or over the top but is secondary to everything else going on in the programme. Sometimes the dialogue is a little bit cheesy and a couple of mid-season episode’s plots aren’t strong but this doesn’t take away from how fun this show is. 

2. Catfish
If you haven’t seen an episode of MTV’s Catfish, or even heard about it, what have you been doing!? It’s an incredibly addictive show that follows presenters-turn-investigators Nev and Max as they help people find out who has been ‘catfishing’ (pretending to be someone they’re not online) them. But did you know the format of this show started out as a documentary film created by Nev as he tries to find out who the women is behind his online relationship? It starts with Nev receiving a friend request from a child, a relationship with the child’s step-sister, Megan, ensues and when Nev figures out that they’ve been lying to him on multiple occasions, he goes on a road trip to seek them out. 

It’s equal parts creepy and fascinating as you watch Nev try to put the pieces together. It’s so personal you sometimes find yourself an uncomfortable voyeur and it definitely makes you question all those times you’ve accepted a friend request from someone you didn’t know. 

3. Hush
I’m not a huge horror movie fan, in my opinion most are really awful and the narrative is usually cliche and predictable but Hush is a breath of fresh air. It follows a deaf author living alone in the middle of nowhere who begins to be stalked by an unknown assailant. Because she is deaf, she doesn’t notice when he is watching her through the windows, or creeping into her house and looking over her shoulder; these shots are especially chilling. You will immediately love Maddie, the protagonist, and her dry humour, devil-may-care attitude, instinctual intelligence and fighting spirit. She’s a strong person who reacts exactly how anyone would in her situation. This psychological thriller will have you on your toes with many surprises around every corner (and expect to be shouting at your screen a lot). 

4. Cowspiracy 
 I think this is a film people have heard about but haven’t watched, and I believe everyone should. It is a powerful, hard-hitting investigation into the animal agriculture industry and the terrible impact it has on climate change and environmental disasters. It is the most eye-opening documentary I have ever seen and this was the main reason that I became a vegetarian. As well as informing you on the industry’s impacts on the world, there is also an uncomfortable investigation going on about why worldwide environmental organisations are scared to publicly admit that animal agriculture is so damaging. And if you’re still undecided whether or not to watch this, the executive producer is everyone’s favourite celebrity and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio. 

5. Luther
Idris Elba plays a wayward DCI who refuses to stick to the law in order to catch the worst of criminals. He’s tough, brooding and sometimes a little scary in his pursuit for justice. Along with DS Justin Ripley, Luther’s friendly and faithful sidekick, London’s streets are a little safer in their hands.

The acting is some of the best in British television, but my favourite thing about this show is the cinematography; its breathtakingly beautiful, quirky and mellow to fit the dark tone of the show. A lot of skill and careful planning has gone into the look of this programme that it needs to be appreciated by more people.

6. Silk
Silk follows a group of Barristers in London as they try to juggle high profile work lives with stressful personal business. It mainly focuses on Martha Costello as she aims to be the next QC at Shoe Lane Chambers.

The editing is fast paced and the narrative is character driven. If  you’ve enjoyed watching courtroom dramas such as Law & Order and Suits then you’ll definitely like Silk

5 Things that make ‘Stranger Things’ so great (SPOILERS)

Stranger Things has taken over the Internet since it appeared on Netflix on July 15th. Receiving mostly positive reviews, it has already become the most talked about Netflix original TV show to date, beating the likes of Daredevil and OITNB. So what makes the Sci-Fi thriller so great? Here’s 5 reasons. 

1. Children Lead Narrative

Unusually, the majority of the show follows three 13 year old kids, Mike, Dustin & Lucas, and their newly acquired super-human friend Eleven (“El”), as they investigate the disappearance of best friend Will Byers. Having a show that makes me watch children figuring out the crime would usually have me switching off before the second episode begins. Children are often whiny, naive and annoying in TV shows however, the Duffer Brothers have created truly interesting people in these lead characters. They are intelligent and inquisitive, funny with a cheeky twinkle in their eye, innocent but never fearful of what they’re faced with, and even if they are they absolutely never back down. Their friendships are tested more often than not but loyalty and love always brings them together again. There is so much more to them than being children. 

2. Strong Female Characters
The female characters in Stranger Things are so different, complex and multi-dimensional it feels refreshing. They are not the typical “strong female” that comes with Wonder Woman for instance, but encompass what being a female is actually like, you know, for actual women in the world. 

Barbara (“Barb”) Holland 

She meets a horribly grisly end unfortunately, but she quickly became a favourite amongst viewers because she was very relatable. She was smart and the realistic, voice of reason when Nancy was being reckless. She was also unapologetic for who she was as a person, especially when Tommy and Carol were making fun of her. You get the sense that if she was a teenager in 2016 she would be happy spending most of her time making friends on the Internet, which is maybe why everyone loves her. 

Nancy Wheeler

Nancy is equally strong in the face of Steve when he’s being a jerk, realising Barb is missing (and eventually dead) and the monster that’s haunting her. She is ‘feminine’ in most ways (her clothing, hairstyle, composure, relationship) and this doesn’t change by the end of the series in order to become a “stronger” female. Her strength and fighting spirit comes from her emotions and grief of losing a best friend, of a relationship that’s failing and makes her feel vulnerable and stupid and a growing friendship with Jonathan that makes her feel confused but happy (additionally, it’s great to see a female and male relationship that’s close and intimate without becoming a romance). These emotions enable her to fight in Barb’s memory and for her family and friends, instead of being her weakness. 

Eleven (“El”)

The most powerful character in the entire series, even defeating the monster in the end, Eleven fights for her independence as soon as she starts to realise that she deserves it in the US Department of Energy. She struggles with understanding basic human, social interaction and doesn’t understand a lot of things when she escapes into the real world; this could have meant making the character naive but instead she’s a fast learner of what friendship and loyalty means, and that’s all she needs to know to be strong. She’s a very likeable girl despite some terrifying evil glares at her enemies and I can’t imagine a second season without her in it.

Joyce Byers

She is a highly emotional women throughout the series, but this doesn’t get annoying or unbelievable in any way. She’s a single, working-class mother of two teenagers who seems to become unstable (to the people around her) when she believes her dead son is still alive. She is strongly independent and fights passed the men in her life who tell her she’s going mad and don’t believe what she says she has seen. She’s not perfect; she initially neglects her remaining son Jonathan in her grief over Will, she is reckless with the little money she has to her name and sometimes makes dangerous decisions to try and make contact with Will but that’s what makes her a well rounded character. 

3. 80’s Soundtrack

Possibly my favourite thing about this show is the nostalgia of 80’s music that accompanies the scenes. It has an other-worldly sense to it that 80’s synths have. It’s funky like Toto’s Africa and chillingly dark like Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit, uplifting like Bowie’s Heroes and obviously there’s the recurring rocky sound of The Clash’s Should I Stay Or Should I Go, it has something that everyone loves and recognises. 

4. Attention to detail

Much like the music, the 80’s props are brilliant. Dungeons and Dragons plays a huge role in the series and kids in the 80’s will love seeing the old board game and figurines that came with the game. I also loved the tinier attention to details, the Coca Cola TV advert and old cans of drink, the children’s bike and the costume being one of the biggest hints to that decade; Dustin’s sports cap, Barb’s blue puffy coat, Eleven’s embroidered pink dress. And of course the pop culture references, the more obvious being E.T, The Goonies and Alien but my personal favourite being Dustin borrowing an X-Men comic from Will at the end of episode 1 (which is actually a very specific comic involving Jean Grey, a telekinetic mutant, who is kidnapped by a man working for a secret organisation, who taps into her powers to find her potential and create a weapon out of her. Sound familiar?). 

5. No Happy Endings

I’m glad there were no straight forward happy endings for anyone, any character who was seen happy at the end of the season the audience knows won’t be happy for long. 

The most unexpected was Will. When we all thought he was safe and sound, he starts throwing up slugs in the bathroom sink but puts on a brave face when he returns to his family Christmas dinner. What this means for Will and his family in the future no one knows; will he have to return to the Upside Down world (which is still left open, presumably), will the Monster come looking for him? 

Dustin, Mike and Lucas are better friends now than ever before, especially with the return of their best friend Will. But they’d become such great friends with Eleven I’m sure they’re missing her greatly. We see Mike, who had become the closest to El, looking longingly at the makeshift den Eleven slept in in his basement, where he’d placed a walki-talkie in the hope that she will communicate with him. Will they remain separated forever?

Nancy and Steve’s relationship was rocky from the beginning and seemed to get stronger by the end. Once Steve had left his bully friends and realised how much he cared about Nancy, he ultimately became a good person, even brave when fighting the Monster with her and Jonathan. But will this last? In a sweet scene in the final episode, Steve brought Jonathan a new camera to replace the one he broke. I’ve not completely warmed up to him and I’m not sure he will stay as this good person for much longer.

Chief Jim Hopper is a fantastic character who became more likeable the more his backstory was revealed to us. The flashback scenes of his daughter dying of cancer were heartbreaking. He ends the series still alone but having spent a considerable amount of time with Joyce helping her save her son, hopefully he’s now got a friend in her. In a strange twist, we last see him going into the woods with a packed lunch and leaving it in a box with some waffles (the same waffles Eleven loved to eat), so does he know something the audience doesn’t? Is he looking after Eleven who’s actually alive? 

    

This is a show with twists and turns without it being confusing, with characters who shine throughout and monsters and other worlds we still don’t know anything about and needs exploring in much more depth. I want to see Nancy and Joyce being more badass, Jim have some happiness in his life, Jonathan grow to his full potential, Will’s story (which feels as though it’s only just begun) continue and Mike, Dustin and Lucas going on adventures discovering and investigating the supernatural. 

Netflix hasn’t officially announced a second season but I doubt they would pass up the opportunity when everyone is still raving about the show a month after it first aired.