Stranger Things (8 Eps)
Quickly after its debut, Stranger Things became one of the biggest shows on Netflix and the world couldn't help but to fall in love with these characters and their adventures. I also was a huge fan of the first season and had a ton of fun with the show, season 2 got released and again most was a huge fan of it and where it took the series but this is where I fell off of the bandwagon. Where season 2 was far from terrible it was filled with uninteresting arcs and moments that made it feel dull and lifeless especially when compared to the first season. Going into season 3 I expected really nothing from the series, where I still liked these characters most of the time I failed to expect much from the plot or the show overall. No matter what Twitter was going to be on fire with people enjoying the hell out of the show and I would be left just feeling it was "ok" at best, or so at least I thought. As I got into season 3 something shocked me, I found myself really liking what I was watching. I was getting way more invested into the plot than I maybe ever had been and was enjoying all the characters. It is so rare for a franchise to lose me and then be able to pull me back in, but Stranger Things did that.
The plot was easily what I was most worried about going into this season. Season 2 had so many missteps when it came to the plot and it was what ended up killing the show for me. This time around the story only got bigger with more moving parts. It's nearly the Fourth of July and everyone's summer is going great with blossoming romances and summer fun. Yet all of a sudden once again strange things start to happen and it seems like despite the portal being closed last season the Mind Flayer might be on the horizon of returning. This is not helped by a mysterious Russian conspiracy which adds a whole new threat to the already deadly and complicated situation. This is a lot for the show to handle just from a mystery perspective alone, mixed with the new relationship and teen drama also at play this requires a high level of talent from its writers and staff to pull everything off which honestly after seeing how they handled the previous season I didn't think they had it in them, but turns out they did. This has a shockingly great flow between plotlines even as we have major transitions between end of the world drama and teen romance drama for example. Sure there is plenty of awkward tone shifts that can be a bit jarring but that is a small price to pay for what they are able to pull off. I am especially impressed by how well the teen drama actually came off also, sure the stakes never feel as big as the end of the world stuff (I mean, it clearly isn't) but it also never felt like they put such a focus on it that it became distracting or bothersome. Also being a bit vague here due to this being spoiler free I will say the emotions in this show have never been better, the ending absolutely broke me in a way I would never expect from Stranger Things in a million years.
A lot of why all these elements work so well is because of how well these characters work and the chemistry they have with each other. More than ever this season feels like it is using its fans as a guidebook on where to take these characters and which parts of them to play up. Sure this makes it a bit uneven when you look at how characters evolve through the various seasons which I would understand as something that might bother some, but for me, the result is strong enough that I was pretty easily able to look over that. The mystery itself I also find to work really well, it is quite engaging and does lead to a pretty solid conclusion as everything starts to come together over time. I will say that as this shows continues and at the start of this season it starts to feel a bit ridiculous as stuff continues to happen to these characters and the town but luckily this season is able to justify most things by the end. I also have to praise the visual effects that this show has, clearly as the budget gets bigger the effect will follow and overall they all look really good. Sure they do use darkness to make it a bit easier for themselves but that makes me enjoy them and respect them no less.
Overall I went into Stranger Things expecting nothing but came out in love with the show once again. Easily becoming my favorite season of the show so far this not only had a solid mystery that engaged me fully and had me on the edge of my seat for the next episode but also made me fall in love once again with these characters and honestly made me break down in tears at the finale. I cannot wait for another season if they choose to make one and finally I think Stranger Things has been able to come together into a nearly perfect season.