With Netflix’s first ever new of subscriber loss sparking all manner of hyperbolic reactions across Hollywood, it’s as perfect a time as ever for the streaming service’s most zeitgeisty show to return for what’s arguably the biggest premiere on its 2022 schedule. Nearly three years since Stranger Things wrapped up its twisty third season, the horror drama is returning for a super-sized Season 4, which will be splitting its nine episodes up into two parts. (Seven for Part 1, and two for Part 2.) Those first seven extended episodes were sent out to critics ahead of their streaming debut for review purposes, and now we have a much better idea of what to expect from the penultimate season.
For the most part, critics appear to be in agreement with the opinion that Stranger Things is back to doing what it does best, and that the new episodes will be welcomed by fans everywhere. Which isn’t to say that ALL critics feel that way, and it’s also not to say that even the critics who praised Season 4 don’t have their own legitimate gripes with this expensive AF return. But anyone fearing a completely disaster should be pleased to hear that’s almost definitely not the case.
Over at AV Club, which gave Stranger Things Season 4 a B+, the opinion is that this first batch of episodes sets up a series of rewarding storylines that pay off down the line, at least when it comes to the show’s central mythology.
For TVLine’s review, which granted Stranger Things Season 4 an “A” rating, a lot of hype is given to the season’s larger-than-life (or death) set pieces and effects-driven sequences, which were also praised in quite a few other reviews. These sequences are presumably where a decent amount of the show’s massive budget went, with a number of all-new sets being created.
With its positive review (rating: B+), EW shined a light on the show’s charismatic cast, and specifically talked up one of the show’s newest characters and stars.
One can only assume that Eddie will be an A-tier main character when Season 5 kicks off, the way this show quickly incorporates newbs into its storylines. And while new faces usually means familiar faces not showing up as much, Stranger Things’ lengthened run-times — easily the biggest headache factor amongst the majority of reviewers, even those who applauded the season as a whole — make it so that everyone gets attention.
In its review, IGN shared positive thoughts about how the returning characters fare in the location-split storylines, from David Harbour’s Russian journey as Hopper to Millie Bobby Brown in the California sun as Eleven.
To that end, Den of Geek also speaks highly of the way Stranger Things has used its charming cast to drive the action and fun, while also saying that this season is a bit too much all-around.
Amidst all the more glowing reviews, however, is the assessment from IndieWire, whose critic quickly took issue with the Season 4 premiere’s opening sequence (which is available to watch on YouTube now), and didn’t let up much in regards to everything that happened afterward.
One can only assume that the experience will not be seen as any more positive once the episodes are available to watch with the impending ad-friendly plan for Netflix subscriptions. Or maybe the sporadic breaks will make the horror drama feel more spaced out instead of jammed together.
Whichever way it goes, fans will be able to find out how much they enjoy the new episodes when Stranger Things Season 4 debuts on Netflix on Friday, May 27.
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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