What's going on, you guys! It is day one of Strager Things 3 and you're like me, you've already watched it all the way through! I want to give my intial reaction/review in this space. It will not feature any spoilers, so if you haven't seen it, this is a safe place. If you have, just play along!
In a word? Magical. I don't know exactly how it will shake out, but at this point, Stranger Things seems to be one of the most memorable, if not best, shows to ever grace television/streaming services. I hit play at 12:04am or something. From then through about 3:40am, I was in my own little world. The Duffer Brothers, and their crew, have created such a vibrant and immersive vision of the 1980s. The show as a whole deserves all the credit it gets and more. Not just for the design and vibe, but for the whole shabang.
Season 3 continues the greatness laid out before it in season 1 and 2. The cast has grown significantly, the younger actors maturing seemingly overnight. The team behind the story use that to their advantage. They find mostly new and interesting ways to highlight the characters' changing minds and feelings. The tween/early teenager love drama does grind on me a little at times, but I think that is mainly due to the fact that tweens, no matter what, start to get annoying after a while. The adult cast brings the energy, Hopper being an interesting case in particular. One of my favoite characters is a new one, Robin. Johnathan and Will took a backseat in terms of development this time around. Same goes for Lucas. Max was important, but similar to Lucas, she was a side piece to Mike and El's development. Seemingly. The show still does a pretty remarkable job at developing all of the characters and their relationships with one another without me even noticing sometimes. Before I knew what was happening, I was crying as episode 8 came to a close. So overall, the cast and characters were very well balanced and well played per usual. Lastly, in terms of the characters, I liked that the groups were shrunk down again. Season 2 did great by grouping off surprising characters together and playing with that. This time, they made the wise decision to go with less groups and have them all meet up at times.
The upside down and the villains are an interesting story in and of themselves. I think well done, but it's weird. I think the tension in this season was at an 11, always. I always felt the real danger of what our heroes were fighting and was worried and interested, but this show focuses so much on the main characters evolving, developing, and action it just feels like everything else melts away. As for Billy? Wow. The show found the perfect way to use him without doing the same thing they did with Steve from season 1 to season 2, without making him feel like a cliche bully/antagonist the whole time. Shoutout to the writing as well as the portrayal by Dacre Montgomery. I liked what they did with the Mind Flayer cliffhanger from seaosn 2. It was fresh, cool, disgusting, scary, and nicely done. It leaves the show at a familiar crossraods: Where do they go from here? The final (lets call it post credits) scene points the story in an obivous direction. Still, the worry is that the plot and villain is going to have be even bigger (which gets risky to just go bigger an dbigger and bigger) or they are going to have to scale back down without getting to reptitive or lowstakes.
I am not a fan of gore and bloody body horror, but The Duffer Brothers are. They took heavy inspiration from The Thing and other such material. There are quite a few shots (including the opening few) that just make me think, "TV special effects." They almost always look like crap. Mostly. The references and homages don't end at The Thing. Aliens, Back To The Future, Terminator and much much more. I was SO glad that they used the music from Back To The Future outright in a scene. I mean, what an OUTSTANDING move! I am glad that no cats died this time around. I did have to watch a good amount of rodents meet an ugly demise, which, was a bit much. That's just me though.
The ending was very well done. The climax of the final episode was epic and had me BEGGING them to break the tension and get to the resolution. It was very very stressful, so good on them. As for the future of the show? I believe that the show is expected to go for anywhere from 1-3 more seasons, so there is plenty of material to go. As the cast continunes to age, The Duffer Brothers will have a lot of good ways to take their development. As individuals and as groups. I am excited to see what happens next, but for now, I will revel in the greatness that is season 3. To close this out, a rating out of 10: 9/10... And it is the weakest season of the show so far. Wow!
nWell, that about wraps it up for this one! Thank you for reading this! Check out the most recent episodes of the podcast on YouTube and almost anywhere you get your podcasts! Drop a comment below, hit us on social media, or start a topic on the forums to tellme what YOU think of Stranger Things 3. OR whateevr YOU want to bring to the discussion.