Season Review Stranger Things TV Review

Stranger Things – Season 3

STRANGER THINGS Sadie Sink, Noah Schnapp, Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Caleb McLaughlin Credit: Netflix

Although I quite enjoyed Stranger Things‘ debut season, I was underwhelmed by the show’s second season (which wasn’t nearly as focused). Thankfully, season three might just be my favorite season yet.

The great thing about year three is that the stakes feel elevated. Eleven’s got tremendous abilities to be sure (and they’re brilliantly showcased this season), but the threat that the gang faces this year is terrifying, and that lends a real sense of urgency to the narrative. Things kick into overdrive a few episodes in after a somewhat slow start, and then it’s a thrilling ride straight to the finish. The season finale in particular is an emotional gut-punch that’s packed with action and whole lot of excitement. Moreover the gamechangers are many, which means the show is definitely not afraid of shaking things up (and its own status quo in the process). Season four is going to be a whole different beast and I for one can not wait.

As expected, the production values are as stellar as ever. You never once question the show’s time period which is impeccably brought to life, while the CGI budget has noticeably been given a huge bump (thanks to the show’s gargantuan success). Special mention goes out to the the amazing Priah Ferguson as Erica Sinclair. She gets a whole lot of screen-time this season and she’s definitely the year’s MVP. She injects every one of her scenes with a whole lot of attitude backed by a ton of razor-sharp barbs. Someone give this character a spinoff asap!

Conclusion

With equal amounts of humor and thrills, this is my favorite season of Stranger Things thus far. Fantastic!

Nad Rating
A

4 comments

  1. Best season of Stranger Things yet. I love the 80’s nostalgia, the Russian involvement was a good extension of the show’s world, and the monster aspect was unsettling.

    I wonder if the show has one season left after this or two. There’s some confusion about that.

  2. SPOILER ALERTS:
    After the disappointment of Stranger Things 2, I went into ST3 with more than a little cynicism. I almost didn’t watch it. But I did and I was glad I did. A lot of good choices were made by the Duffer Brothers:
    1) the female characters were given more screen time and more to do. While the material girl schtick–with Max and El romping through the mall–was too long and didn’t contribute anything to the plot, Nancy’s showdown with her sexist, elitist bosses was on the mark;
    2) keeping the characters in separate clusters allowed for more suspense and character development;
    3) the addition of Maya Hawke as the resourceful and acerbic Robin was brilliant;
    4) acknowledging that the male kid actors were becoming teenagers, the Duffer Brothers wisely integrated that fact into the show as the gang grows up. Out goes D&D for all but one of the boys. In comes teenage angst and romance;
    5) Winona Ryder’s Joyce Byers is as coo-coo as ever, but she comes across smarter and braver than in ST2; and
    6) the Duffer Brothers injected more comedy in this one, particularly Steve’s bumbling and Priah Ferguson (as Lucas’ little sister) was priceless.

    But the show is far from perfect:
    1) the continued use of El as a deus ex machina, saving the day every time danger arose, became irritating;
    2) the scene with Alexi wanting a cherry–not strawberry–Slurpee, and then attempting to escape, was way too long and provided nothing to the story;
    3) the technology was inconsistent. The boys use walkie-talkies the size of egg cartons but humans can build a machine that opens the gate to another dimension. (I know, I know: willing suspension of disbelief, but really?); and
    4) the bickering between Hopper and the mayor of Hawkins felt tacked on. It was like they needed to give David Harbour something to do. He does little else but argue, fight, kill and get killed. Or did he? Hmmmm…

    I know I’m nitpicking because I came away from the show very satisfied. Based on the post-closing credit scene, Season 4 may have more of an international flavor. This may be a good thing, as the small town of Hawkins sometimes got a bit claustrophobic. We’ll see.

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