“Stranger Things” — initially released early last July — was an instant hit.

The story was simple. It reminded us of famous ‘80s sci-fi and referenced things like “E.T.” and “Star Wars.”

The story takes place in Hawkins, a small town in Indiana where nothing interesting ever happens until a young boy named Will Byers gets lost in the woods and all hell breaks loose.

A whole new parallel universe called the Upside Down gets unveiled and, Eleven, a child with psychic powers, comes into play. Season one of “Stranger Things” was a complete story by itself. It could have ended that way.

But no, the producers decided to release “Stranger Things 2.” The new season tries to tie up some loose ends from the first. The story of shady government policies, Will’s connection to the Upside Down, and even justice for Barbara all come to light. Yet it isn’t as exciting, nerve-wracking, or quirky as the first season.

The first half of season two is intense, but not as much as last year’s. It feels as if the creators are just dragging the show at parts, and even the characters seem like they have no clue why they are part of the storyline.

In between, there seems to be a filler episode that’s sole purpose is to make way for the third season, which really hinders the pace of the show.

Bob, a new character, is the nicest guy possible and is dating Joyce, the crazy single mother who had the most screen time last season.

Problem is, he’s too nice, too cheesy. It seems his only purpose is to show us as explicitly as possible that, yes, they have brought “Lord of the Rings” into the show.

He plays Samwise Gamjee to Will when he tells him, “Only this time I didn’t run. This time I stood my ground.”

Too bad poor Will has an actual monster haunting him, not a fictional dream clown called Mr. Baldo. It was fun to have him, but rest in peace, Bob.

“Stranger Things 2” is worth watching, but not so much for its content. Mainly for the sheer joy of visiting its world.



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