One of the most highly-anticipated TV events of the summer is finally almost here thanks to the July 4 premiere of Stranger Things on Netflix. Season 2 debuted all the way back in October 2017, so fans have been waiting a very long time for Season 3. The third season will be set in the summer of 1985 and pit the folks against threats new and old while also changing relationships.
Obviously the stakes are very high for Stranger Things Season 3, and fan expectations are even higher after waiting so long for new footage. Netflix has kept a tight lid on spoilers, and one Stranger Things star even shared with CinemaBlend some of the serious precautions that have kept secrets from leaking. Fortunately, the streamer did release the full third season to press to review, and critics have weighed in with their thoughts on the newest batch of Stranger Things.
Read on for a rundown of critic thoughts, including my own, after watching Stranger Things Season 3! Let's start with what Alan Sepinwall of Rolling Stone has to say:
Alan Sepinwall was impressed by the spectacle of Season 3, and it's clear from the brief glimpses of the monster in the trailer alone that the special effects to deliver the scares are epic. Considering Season 2 was already somewhat a repeat of Season 1 when it came to Eleven unleashing her powers to save lives, it's not too surprising that Season 3 will do more of the same.
Still, the development of the characters could keep the story fresh, even if the action is repetitive. It's not like fans didn't like Eleven telepathically destroying her enemies in the first two seasons, right? Alan Sepinwall also weighed in on the finale:
There will be plenty to speculate about when it comes to the Season 3 finale, so at least fans probably don't have to worry that a gargantuan hit like Stranger Things will get the axe prematurely. David Harbour also has been hyping the finale, and all signs point toward fans seeing the truth behind his words.
In my critique of Season 3, I also compared Stranger Things Season 3 to a blockbuster in a franchise, but that's not necessarily a wonderful thing:
For me, Stranger Things' third season delivered all the action, scale, and scares that anybody could want out of a blockbuster, but falls somewhat short on delivering the characterization and exposition that there was definitely time for in the eight-episode season.
That doesn't make it bad by any means, but it will likely leave you wanting more in good and bad ways. Season 3 is very effective with the horror, as I went on to explain in my review:
Tom Gliatto of People was satisfied with Season 3 and its climax, even moreso than Season 2, and he also gave a shout-out to one of the Stranger Things newcomers:
Robin was always bound to be a fun character by virtue of the fact that she's teamed up with Steve and always featured in the trailers wearing her Scoops Ahoy sailor costume, but she has even more going for her.
Jen Chaney of Vulture is another critic who enjoyed the season but noted some flaws as well. Here's how she put it:
If you play a drinking game with Stranger Things Season 3, you may want to either substitute a non-alcoholic beverage or take sips rather than full drinks or chugs. Hey, you want to remember all eight episodes after this long wait, right?
As the third season of a series that Netflix will undoubtedly want to keep going for as long as possible, a big question going is whether the show ran out of steam after Season 2 or if there's still room for growth. Caroline Framke of Variety weighed in:
Jennifer Bisset of CNET compared Stranger Things Season 3 to another TV phenomenon: Game of Thrones. In her critique, however, she doesn't focus on the widespread disappointment with Thrones' final season, but rather back on the good old days when everybody seemed pretty enthusiastic about the show:
Matt Roush of TV Insider is another who notes that Season 3 is more than a little repetitive, but the season isn't just darkness, doom, and redos. For him, the characters are still a highlight of the series despite some less than revolutionary twists:
That's what the critics think; you can decide how Stranger Things Season 3 ranks against the first two seasons for yourself when the new episodes finally go live on Thursday, July 4 at 12:01 a.m. PT on Netflix.
Be sure to stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more Stranger Things coverage in the coming days, and swing by our 2019 Netflix premiere guide for some viewing options once the wait for another season of Stranger Things begins again. The cast suggests that only one or two more seasons should happen, but I'm just hoping that the next hiatus lasts for fewer than 20 months.
Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.
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