If there wasn't any other reason to catch Stranger Things when it comes out this Friday on Netflix, watching Winona Ryder do television for the first time should be enough. But this exquisite 8-episode series is so much more than an outlet for Ryder to try new things. Stranger Things takes us back to 1983 and is set in a small town in Indiana, before smartphones and the Internet. 

The show premiered in Los Angeles this week, in anticipation of the worldwide release.

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This time, the red carpet was not set outside a fancy hotel. We went to a small building in Downtown LA, where Netflix recreated the set. They went as far as having eighties-style furniture and a rotary phone, just to remind us how different that time was. 

The plot

Stranger Things starts by introducing us to four young boys, whose friendship was inspired by 80's classics like Stand by Me and Goonies. Mike, Dustin, Lucas, and Will are geeky 12-year-olds who get picked on at school by bullies. They spend hours playing Dungeons & Dragons and ride their bikes all over town.

But everything changes when Will disappears from his own home, after being chased by a strange, creepy creature we can barely see. 

Chief Hopper (David Harbour) is in charge of the investigation and pretty much everyone in town starts looking for Will. However, his mother Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) seems to lose her mind when she starts saying she's been able to contact Will in a supernatural way. This is something her oldest son Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) dismisses as a sign of emotional distress. 

Things take a wild turn when a secret laboratory is discovered right there, in Hawkins Indiana, and more people disappear. The show is slow-moving, intertwined with moments of laughter and nostalgia, but it does get quite scary.

Now, this is not the X-Files, nor does it want to be. There is a strong element of supernatural forces – it is a horror show, after all – but the story is very compelling in a grounded, human way.

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Especially when told through the eyes of the pre-teens, who take upon themselves to find their lost friend. Then, a fifth kid comes along and changes everything (again). It's a monumental performance by Millie Brown, the talented 10-year-old that plays Eleven, and masterful casting by the show's producers. 

More to come on the premiere of Stranger Things, so stay tuned.