No one else is writing high school girls like Nancy in Stranger Things, and so I hope writers in the industry are taking notes.

We usually get two kinds of characters when it comes to teenage girls: the ditzy girly-girl or the messy tomboy.

Stranger Things ignores both of those tropes and just gives us a teenage girl. Nancy wants to be popular and fit in, but at the same time, she doesn’t hide her intelligence around the cool kids. She shows compassion toward Jonathan, even though other students make fun of him.

Nancy drops the trivial high school stuff when she realizes her friend is missing and there’s a mysterious threat in town. She is brave and takes lead when circumstances call for that. Nancy is tough. She has good aim with a gun, and she does whatever is necessary to rescue Will—whether it’s something small like breaking a padlock or something terrifying, like going into the Upside Down and setting up a trap for the monster.

And best of all, no one acts like it’s a big deal that Nancy is a mixture of all of those things. She’s just being herself.

 

I re-watched Sense8 over the last couple weeks. The first time I watched it, I marathoned episodes. This time I could pay closer attention to character development, and I noticed that Riley is the only one in the group who doesn’t have a defined “thing”—an ability that she uses to help other people in the cluster.

The other sense8s each have their own strengths:

  • Will – detective skills, fighting, knowledge of police procedure
  • Nomi – computer hacking
  • Lito – lying, discovering secrets
  • Kala – medical skills, chemistry
  • Wolfgang – fighting (even killing)
  • Capheus – driving
  • Sun – fighting (especially calm under pressure)

Riley doesn’t have a skill that’s called out specifically. Maybe that means it’s something we’ll see in season 2. Or maybe Riley’s skill is subtle and interwoven into everything else. I think of Riley as the comforter. She appears to Will when he’s worried or lonely. Riley appears to Sun when she is in prison and upset. In the finale, it’s Riley who takes care of Will after he sees Whispers. With Will, Riley shows an ability to have a deep connection with someone (even between sense8s) and maybe that’ll extend to the rest of the cluster in season 2.

Spoilers for both series…

The season 1 finale of Sense8 goes like this: the bad guy, Mr. Whispers, searches for the group of sense8s, and he wants to kill them. The sense8s need to work together to save each other but Mr. Whispers gets in Will’s head. And when he can see everything Will sees and know everything Will knows…the sense8s will never be safe. The show ends with the group sailing away on a boat and Will is sedated, so that Mr. Whispers can’t see where they’re going. Everyone stays together, but they can’t let Will wake up without risking their safety.

The season 1 finale of Humans goes like this: the bad guy, Hobb, searches for the group of conscious synths, and he wants to capture them and figure out how to make more like them. Leo, the synths, and the Hawkins family work together to escape. Leo and the synths are almost in the clear but then they realize that Fred is under Hobb’s control, and Hobb can use Fred to hone in on the group’s location. Leo and the synths can’t have Fred with them and be safe, so they leave him behind.

Sense8 compromises by keeping Will sedated, but Humans compromises by leaving Fred behind.