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CREEPY NOSTALGIA FOR GROWING UP IN THE 80'S

by Benjamin Carr

As a young man who came of age in the 1980s and 1990s, lots of shows are now capitalizing on that specific experience. Lots of new and returning shows are focused on that magical time, creating something all ages can enjoy.

STRANGER THINGS 2 (Netflix)
The pop culture phenomenon filmed here in Atlanta has returned to Netflix for a sequel season. Set in 1984, the kids of Hawkins, Indiana, are still haunted by the events of the last series. Young Will Byers, whose disappearance into a parallel, dark universe called the Upside Down kicked off the series, has returned to his mom (Winona Ryder) and his brother. But he still has visions of monsters coming from the other world to kill everyone.
Beyond that, his mom is dating Sean Astin. And his new therapist is Paul Reiser, playing up his creepiest role since Aliens, so you know there's going to be trouble. The telekinetic little girl named Eleven - who last year destroyed the monster - still preoccupies the sheriff's every thought. As satisfying entertainment and 1980s nostalgia ride, the show still feels like the best candy you can eat.

ME, MYSELF AND I (CBS)
Bobby Moynihan, John Larroquette and Jack Dylan Grazer all play Alex Riley in this charming CBS sitcom that spans one man's life over the course of 30 minutes every week. We see Alex as a '90s teen, as a dad nearing 40 in modern times and, amusingly, as a senior citizen coping with retirement woes and sci-fi dream challenges.
Grazer, so good in the movie It, gets the best parts of Alex, an idealistic inventor and basketball fan who is trying to find common ground after his mom remarries. This show takes the premise of This Is Us one step further and also into the future. It has real heart, and I want it to be successful.

YOUNG SHELDON (CBS)
This spin-off of The Big Bang Theory has massive problems, but that probably won't stop it from being a hit. Heck, Big Bang stumbled out of the gate, but it eventually found its heart. Young Sheldon should be so lucky. Its first major problem is the title character himself, the anti-social, mean, condescending 9-year-old high schooler Sheldon Cooper, raised by a family of Texas rednecks in 1989. The reason Sheldon Cooper works at all is because Jim Parsons manages to him lovable in spite of his quirks. The character as a child is more awkward, more mean and less socially aware. His clueless, rude behavior toward his family and classmates just isn't funny. Considering how badly Sheldon behaved at the beginning of Big Bang, is it going to be satisfying to watch him when he was younger and worse? It's a dud.

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