Viewers Advisory: Halloween Scares
Who We Are
We are a couple of librarians who take television as seriously as books. If there is a good show out there that can be watched for free, trust us to tell you ALL about it. Because readers advisory is our profession, but viewers advisory is our calling. We love good TV and we simply must share. In real life you might call us Appleberry and Lowell, but together, in the vast blogosphere we are called Viewers Advisory.
What We're About
This title is dedicated to two little Lowells who have invented a seasonal game of the same name. The game itself is pretty self-explanatory, but the best part about Halloween Scares is the change of heart within the Lowell household as the scares grow more elaborate. Alas, in October we all must do our best to keep calm and carry on. For those of you in the mood for a good scare, give the following shows a try.
One Reason You Should Watch Stranger Things
Lowell: Will's crew is the best. These boys make the show, and that's saying a lot! The show is packed with talent. Winona Rider plays one of the more convincing frantic-mom roles, searching for a lost child. When I watch her in full mama-bear mode I literally talk at my TV. I know would behave in exactly the same way. David Harbour is also excellent in his role as Police Chief Jim Hopper, or Hop. He is deeply flawed. Sometimes I shout at him to lighten up, but immediately regret snapping at him. Chief Hopper knows what he is doing. Hands down, the best casting was done with the three boys (and one girl who joins the club). Together, they search for Will as doggedly as Will's own mother. Their crew is the best of kinds, made up of social outcasts. They are science geeks who spend whole days waging D&D campaigns in a downstairs basement. They squabble over correct J.R.R. Tolkien quotations. And best of all, they are beyond loyal to each other.
Appleberry: If you are nostalgic for the 1980s or just love 80s sci-fi and fantasy, get into this show already! Stranger Things is set in 1983 in a small town in the the mid-west and the look and sound and feel of this series is on point. The music is especially evocative with period music like The Clash and Echo and the Bunnymen as well as a synthesizer-heavy score composed by Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon and inspired by artists and soundtracks like Tangerine Dream (Firestarter, Legend) and Vangelis (Chariots of Fire, Blade Runner). Also, an honorable mention to Erica Sinclair, Lucas' younger sister and my favorite character on the show. May she be featured more prominently in season three! *prayer hands emoji*
My Wait-For-It Episode
L: The world has been waiting for a show of this quality since 1990, so I promise you will be hooked out the gate. Episode 1 is called "Chapter 1: The Vanishing of Will," and yes each episode is a chapter! I don't know of anyone who dislikes this show. If you are that person, please comment and defend your position. The scare factor of the first episode is pretty on-point, too. It sets a high bar and the subsequent chapters deliver.
A: "Chapter 3: Holly, Jolly" is a good early episode. Not only is this the episode in which Joyce, Will's mom, hangs every string of Christmas lights she can find to create the now iconic Christmas light Ouija board on her living room wall, it also includes a trip to the library featuring card catalogs, microfiche, and a salty librarian.
For Your Information
- This show is created by twin brothers Matt and Ross Duffer, and their original script was based on the following concept, "What if Steven Spielberg directed a Stephen King book?" The writing team is also influenced by filmmaker John Carpenter.
- Galen Matarazzo (like his character Dustin) has cleidocranial dysplasia, a genetic condition that affects the development of bones and teeth, and uses his fame to raise awareness.
- Show creators are so committed to making Stranger Things look vintage, the show's colorist adds a layer of '80s film grain to each frame.
One Reason You Should Watch The Walking Dead
A: Listen, I shouldn't like this show. I don't like scary movies. Every time I watch this TWD, I have zombie dreams. Just hearing the theme music ties my stomach in knots. So why on earth do I love this show? I think a lot of it is just that I'm rooting so hard for all the characters. They're not some elite group of highly trained survival experts, most of them are just regular folks who have learned how to adapt. They were pizza delivery guys, housewives, government workers or whatever but everyone has something to contribute, some skill or knowledge that helps the group. And the character arcs are some of the most compelling of any television show ever.
L: When this show came out, it was the scariest show I had ever seen on television. It was 2010, people watched this show, their hearts exploded and then television basically exploded. I haven't looked at the data, but I would put money on that timeline. We are finally in the true golden age of television, people!! But, I have now gone and buried my lede in a spectacular way. Everyone should watch this show for the Halloween Scares! It is a true thriller, but it will also get you deep in the feels. There is one lingering question throughout this story (which, btw, follows a cop who wakes from a gunshot wound in an abandoned hospital to a world ravaged by zombies): when does human end and monster begin? Of course, this question is central to any good zombie story, right? TWD does a great job kicking that answer just far enough out of our reach, but always within sight.
My Wait-For-It Episode
A: Wait for episode 3, "Tell It to the Frogs". The first couple of episodes do a great job of establishing the reality of the show. You've got zombies shuffling around all over the place, people are hyper-suspicious of each other but have to work together if they want to survive. Okay. Got it. So this episode starts setting up the interpersonal drama and it is good stuff. Rick goes back to base camp with the group he meets in Atlanta and guess who he finds? His wife and best friend who have been hooking up thinking he was dead! Daryl returns from a hunt and... what's this? The group left his brother handcuffed to the roof of a zombie-infested building back in Atlanta because he's a violent racist piece of trash?! Carol and the ladies are enjoying a laugh while washing clothes, who could begrudge them that? Oh I don't know, maybe Carol's abusive husband! This show is as much about surviving zombies as it is about surviving other humans.
L: If you can hang in there through the jarring first episode, the second episode is when you really meet all the major players -- and my personal favorite, Glenn. The second episode is aptly called "Guts," because if you make it that far, you have them. The major characters come into focus in episode 2 and the complicated dynamics of Rick's group also starts to play out. In regards to Glenn, I am certainly not alone in my admiration for this character, and the actor who plays him. Steven Yeun said in an interview that there were a lot of awesome characters on the show who are just that: awe-inspiring. One might say, I want to be him, or I want to be her. With the character of Glenn many found themselves saying, I think I am him! For the record, of all the characters in this horror story: I want to be Glenn. To read the full interview, go here (warning: spoilers!).
For Your Information
- You probably know that the show is based on the comic book series of the same name. But did you know that The Walking Dead eComics are available for check out on Hoopla?
- Some of the names used for the undead are walkers, biters, lurkers, and roamers - but never zombie. This is because the show exists in a reality in which zombies are not part of pop culture.
- This fun fact might be a little less TWD and a little more Andrew Lincoln, but his real name is Andrew Clutterbuck. Yes, Clutterbuck.
... Lowell and Appleberry take public transportation to the OTRII concert - just one of the many small ways in which they are stronger than Beyoncé.