Friday, 24 February 2017

Stranger Week Day 6 – POP! Television: Mike (Stranger Things)

Like many of its inspirations, Stranger Things is ostensibly for adults but is also eminently watchable by a younger audience. Sure, at a few points it’s violent or scary, but it’s hardly The Evil Dead.

While Mike’s not exactly the main character, he’s probably the closest thing the show has to an audience surrogate for its younger viewers. Fortunately, he’s got substantially more depth than most audience surrogates. The Duffer Brothers have obviously heeded their own childhood viewing as a warning about how terrible audience surrogates can be, as the ratio tends to skew about 10,000 Orkos to 1 Mike.

Mike’s POP shares quite  a good likeness to Finn Wolfhard, though Will’s is probably still the best overall. He’s equipped with his walkie-talkie (which would have made a good accessory for Lucas, too), which seems omnipresent throughout the series, and as with all of the Stranger Things POPs so far, the sculpting is well-executed and painted well. The only (possible) detail missing is a cut on the chin, though you could always add this yourself if you wanted.   

I’m in the middle of watching the series through again, partially in preparation for series 2, but also just to refresh my memory as I write these reviews. And on second viewing, I strongly suspect that Mike is at least partially based on Sam, John Francis Daley’s character from Freaks and Geeks. Though not identical, they look somewhat alike, dress similarly and are definitely on the same wavelength of interests, though Mike is considerably less dorky*. In an interesting example of things coming full circle, Finn Wolfhard has since been cast in the new version of Stephen King’s IT – which has also had its setting updated to the 1980s. I'm hoping he doesn't get too typecast in the long run!

As with Joyce, Mike is not the most fascinating design that we’ve ever seen Funko come up with, but he’s an essential part of the show; one of my favourite characters from it too. Eleven and the Demogorgon are the obvious pickups from the range for more casual fans, but Mike is a very close third.

*If you’ve never watched Freaks and Geeks you should definitely check it out – it was one of my favourite shows as a teen, and pushes a lot of those 80s nostalgia buttons in the same way that Stranger Things does.   

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