I don't know about you guys, but every time Netflix announces a new show, I automatically assume it's going to be great. Sure, that optimism has burned me a time or two in the past, but for the most part, the service has some of the best small screen programming imaginable. As a horror fanatic, the upcoming genre thriller Stranger Things - the second high-profile TV project for Winona Ryder - was one of my most anticipated new shows of the year, and I'm extremely pleased to say that my expectations were matched and exceeded.

Here are 5 reasons why Stranger Things is a must-watch for just about all audiences, except perhaps those with a weird aggression toward flickering lights. Put on your favorite mixtape from the 1980s and dive in.

stranger things

It's Netflix's First Great Horror Show

Because horror is more suited to limited narratives, there are far more movies in the genre than TV shows. At this point, Netflix has only offered horror fans the monster-filled Hemlock Grove, and the less said about that, the better. Thankfully, Stranger Things doesn't take long at all to prove itself a far more captivating concept, and it's got some monsters of its own.

The 1980s-set show introduces us to a boy, Will (Noah Schnapp), who goes missing under crazy circumstances that may or may not be tied to bizarre science experiments being conducted nearby, and the story is largely about people searching for him, whether it's his mother (Ryder), the town's police chief (David Harbour) or the boy's pack of friends (Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin). It doesn't sound too scary laid out like that, but Stranger Things is chock full of well-earned jump scares, unnerving editing, mysterious characters and unexplainable circumstances. It's far closer to slow-burn horrors of the 1970s than the gore-heavy slasher flicks from the decade in which it takes place.

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