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.