As I watched through Stranger Things over the last two weeks (I finally finished it — promise not to spoil anything here), one thing I kept thinking about was what the show would be like as a more traditional 24-episode per season series. Because in every single episode of Stranger Things, the reveals come fast — there's almost no wasted time or filler plot lines.
It's a pretty wonderful shift from something like, say, Lost, where information is doled out like dog treats, given infrequently and only to those willing to sit and stay long enough to receive it. Stranger Things' pacing is downright addictive — it's the TV equivalent to finishing an entire bag of Sour Patch Kids in one sitting and miraculously not getting that weird numb feeling in your mouth for the next two days.
But in its dedication to a tight story and constant plot advancement, Stranger Things gives us few moments of reprieve with its cast of characters. It's enough to know who's who, what they want, and why they're doing it; but it's not enough to really know any of them. It's not enough to be deeply concerned about Will's return, or Mike getting bullied, or Barb... you know, anything.
It's easy to imagine taking every 20 minutes of action in Stranger Things and blowing it out into its own episode, slowing things way down, but giving the series time to flesh out its cast of characters with B-plots and downtime, letting them want and argue and reconcile and learn. A longer, slower Stranger Things doesn't necessarily sound like a better Stranger Things to me. But I can't help but wonder what that already thrilling finale would have felt like if I'd spent hours and hours with each of these characters.
Check out 11 trailers from this week below.
Director Gareth Edwards has talked about Rogue One being a Star Wars "war movie," and this is the first trailer that really makes you feel that. It is packed with action, blasters, and huge battles on a huge scale. And yet, for all of that, my favorite shot in this thing is close to the end, as Felicity Jones hobbles forward, weapon in hand, no one else in sight. Rogue One comes out December 16th.
Netflix has put out a first full trailer for Luke Cage this week, and it reveals a show that's split between two worlds: the characters' vibrant life by day, and the surprisingly dark encounters they have to face at night. The series premieres September 30th.
Amazon has put out a first trailer for Transparent season three, and it looks downright wonderful, putting aside the family's quibbling for the kind of bigger, sweeter moments that'll remind fans why they love the series in the first place. The new season premieres September 23rd.
High Maintenance, which started life as a web series that happened to be on Vimeo and then became an official Vimeo web series, is now making the jump to HBO as a very fancy TV series. It's going to open the show up to a huge new audience, and, well, it kind of looks like the perfect HBO sitcom. It starts September 16th.
A super mysterious and creepy first trailer came out this week for Arrival, a new sci-fi film from Denis Villeneuve, the director behind Sicario (and soon the Blade Runner sequel as well). It's a solid start, and I'm interested to see where it goes from here — are we looking at a horror film, or will things get more action packed? I'm hoping the film keeps the tension going. It comes out November 11th.
From every shot to every line, this looks downright beautiful. Moonlight is a coming-of-age story exploring sexuality and masculinity, told over different parts of a man's life. Also, Janelle Monáe is in it. It comes out October 21st.
Rachel Weisz plays a woman who keeps wiping away her identity and reinventing herself in Complete Unknown. It's an interesting premise that comes off surprisingly tense in this trailer, as someone begins catching on to her scheme. The film comes out August 26th and will eventually head to Amazon.
Tig Notaro has a new show headed to Amazon. Its premise is broadly familiar — person returns home after years away, fish out of water kinda thing — but it has a darkly comic twist on the material that, from this trailer, at least, seems to play really well. It'll premiere on September 9th.
Under the Shadow
This could be a really interesting take on horror. Under the Shadow takes a fairly standard horror premise but brings it to 1980s Iran, where a family is under constant threat from Iraqi bombings — one of which hits their house, with some very strange results. (I also love in this trailer how unsteady and unsettling the camera is.) It'll be out October 7th.
To be perfectly open with all of you, I have never actually watched this show, but I really like watching its teasers because the show seems like visual candy. It's just so stylish. Scream Queens' new season starts on September 20th.
The Sea of Trees
[siren emoji] New Matthew McConaughey alert [siren emoji]. This time around we've got some seriously emotional McConaughey, in a new film from Good Will Hunting and Milk director Gus Van Sant. The bad news is, the film currently sits at zero percent on Rotten Tomatoes from its Cannes debut, and it seems like there's a lot of introspective wandering through a forest. It comes out August 26th.