3/10. Forgettable and uninspiring. Stranger Things 3 feels like a rehash of previous seasons and by now indicates the end should be near.

Admittedly, when the first season of Stranger Things came out, we were swept up by the chaos that unfolded. Like many around us, we thought it was one of the best shows Netflix had commissioned and at the time, it was one of the major reasons people began paying for streaming services. From the 80’s references, the supernatural mystery elements, and the charismatic cast, the season had a lot going for it.

But as time passed, the rush of excitement began to fade.

It started to show with Stranger Things 2, which wasn’t as great and filled with annoying filler episodes (looking at you Eleven and your trip away from home). And now with Stranger Things 3, it’s become clearer that the charm is wearing off. Looking back, we’re not even sure if we’d still be able to enjoy the first season as much as when it first came out.

But we digress.

The most disappointing element of this third season is the uninspiring story. For those who have seen the show, Stranger Things 3 has a very similar structure to the conflicts and events in season 2. Without spoiling what happens, if you can see how Star Wars: The Force Awakens was an almost exact replica of Star Wars: A New Hope, you’ll know what we mean with Stranger Things 3.

Suffice to say, the decision to make what is essentially a Stranger Things 2.5, made the whole season feel forgettable and uninspiring. Apart from a few tweaks on new threats and mystery plot devices, everything that happens doesn’t feel original nor is surprising to watch unfold. Remove all the aesthetic features and at its core, you’ve got the same villain, the same problems, the same solutions.

Worse yet, in between all of the main story elements are boring filler scenes which are largely unfunny and uninteresting. We get that some of these sequences are meant to be included to show the “fun” and “charm” of the show, such as characters going on a shopping spree or bursting out into song, but almost none of it worked. There was more than one time where we just didn’t care what they were doing and wanted them to hurry up get to back to the actual story.

Our only positives from the third season are that the visuals and set design looked great. Everything looked and felt like it was in the 80’s (though that isn’t something new), even if at times some of the references made by characters were to things that didn’t happen in that time *internal groan*. So, kudos should deservedly go to the cinematographers and production team.

But overall, this was a lackluster season.

By now we’ve come to accept that the Stranger Things phenomenon has fizzled out because the initial excitement has long past and what “magic” was there before is now gone (if it was there in the first place) . And that’s fine. We enjoyed it for what it was at the time and unless there’s going to be some drastic changes to the story, we’re happy enough to say there doesn’t really need to be a Stranger Things 4.

Summer is over. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun while it lasted.


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