Community Review: Stranger Things Season 3

Community Review: Stranger Things Season 3

There wasn’t much in the way of games last week, but when you’ve got a fresh Stranger Things season to binge, maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

El, Will, Dustin, Max, Lucas and Mike returned Friday Australian time, along with the rest of the Hawkins, Indiana crew to set the stage for Stranger Things‘ third season. The season opens with a lot that’s familiar, but also a lot of subtle changes, which sets the scene for what Stranger Things is really about now. It’s probably best described as Aliens meets YA, with the early episodes especially focusing on the complications of puberty and what happens to the Hawkins crowd as they get older.

Here's The Stranger Things Season 3 Trailer

Steve and Dustin: Still an awesome pair.

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I know a lot of people who feel that Stranger Things should have stopped after season one, not unlike Russian Doll recently. I didn’t mind the second season, and it was still good TV. But expectations can be hard to manage when you nail something out of the gate as well as Stranger Things did, and I’m glad that Netflix has continued with the series.

So for people who binged it over the weekend: what did you think? Does it still have that trademark humour? Are the performances — particularly Winona Ryder and David Harbour — still worth the watch? And how does the Upside Down fare three years in?


  • Better than S2.

    S3 is a huge improvement. It’s bigger, better and I absolutely loved it. Great performances from the cast. I particularly enjoyed newcomer Robin (Maya Hawke) and Erica (Priah Ferguson) who had some killer lines.

  • While it definitely went the Aliens route of upping the action, dialling back the scares, I got more of a “The Thing meets Body Snatchers meets Goonies” vibe personally.

    Gonna inviso text here, it’s not that spoilery but you know, just being safe:

    The homages were flowing fast and frequent this season, even extending into 90’s movies, with the whole of episode 8 referencing giant monster movies such as Jurassic Park, with the giant Mind Flayer dogfood monster chasing after them in the car (TRex chase in JP1), then in the Mall (again, T-Rex in the end of JP1).

    With Billy and the others being taken over, yet retaining some sentience initially, it reminded me of the movies such as the Puppet Masters and the Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which, and I bet it’s no coincidence, at the time were played as commentary on the whole fear of communism aspect of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.

    I felt the season closed out perfectly, with the whole cliffhanger aspect and it’s going to leave us chomping at the bit for the potential final season 4 (although they did say they may extend to season 5, let’s hope so…)

    Either way, I love this show, there hasn’t been a bad season yet, or even a poor season. I love that every season is a different genre, every season changes things up and each season we’re seeing the show reinvent itself in the best of ways.

    And btw, David Harbour should REALLY do a modern day remake of Magnum PI. Not that weak new tv show…

    • And btw, David Harbour should REALLY do a modern day remake of Magnum PI. Not that weak new tv show…

      I was thinking that too!

  • Really enjoyed this season, but some of the 80s nostalgia is tipping into “80s product placement” instead of neat references.

    • I think we’ve reached and gone past ’80’s nostalgia’ into ’80’s kitsch’. It’s gone way past being nice and comfortable and now we’re seeing it essentially take the piss out of itself. For example, the first scene of Stranger Things 1, where we see the kids playing D&D, then riding their bikes out into the neighbourhood, that played heavily on nostalgia. A safe time, able to ride around at night with friends in the 1980’s for example. We had the music, the lack of tech etc. Now, we get ‘the mall’, with the heavy, heavy use of neon pink and blue which appeared heavily in movies. We’ve moved now from representations of ‘real life’ to ‘representations of movies’ moreso.

      • Yes, the 80s nostalgia is really grinding, which is a shame the 1st season did it really well.
        The 3rd season used it too much probably to make up for the fact the story was dreadful.

        Russians building a base in America in the 80s is as believable as Lucas liking new coke.

        • I get where they’re going. It’s all as believable as an alternate reality as well where everythings the complete same, just ‘upside down’ 😉

          But, something was way over the top this season, which I believe was purely intentional to reflect the ‘sequelitis’ that tended to infect 80’s sequels, where they’d purposely go over the top and a bit silly. The B Plot about the Russians was ludicrous and silly, beyond belief at times, but still highly enjoyable. I know it’s going to ramp up even more in season 4, but it’s still a fantastic watch. I disagree entirely that the story was ‘dreadful’, that’s purely hyperbolic. It’s built upon itself over two previous seasons, and it stands to reason that others would be interested in the ‘upside down’ as well. The Mindflayer trying to invade our world, us trying to invade it’s, the whole aspect of cold war paranoia? The whole thing was a fantastic nod to the kitsch and camp aspect of how we actually took that seriously in the 70s and 80s with over the top cinema such as Red Dawn and Rambo 2/3 or Invasion USA.

      • I don’t even see it as a piss-take. If these were modern products it’d be blatant advertising. Hey guys, remember New Coke? Well here’s a major character drinking it! Oh, and can you angle that box of Count Chocula a bit more so we can see it?

        In the first two seasons there was a little bit of that but it all felt much more organic – like you’d notice it easily but it wasn’t quite so blatant. Now it’s just “80s thing! Lol!” It was fun when it was more subtle, but now it’s becoming overbearing, like there’s a constant need to remind us that we’re in the 80s and New Coke was a thing.

        • So what you’re saying is that the new style the show put forward, the new kinda thing it did… was familiar to you, the consumer… it had that ‘familiar’ sense to it… but it wasn’t quite what you knew, therefor you preferred the old style 😉

          Like New Coke 😉

          *cough metaphor cough*

    • I felt that way about some of the movie nods too. Like yeah, I recognise that shot from Dawn of the Dead, but what are you trying to add by going out of your way to do it too? The first season tied it all together really well and pretty much everything felt like it served some sort of purpose whether it was functional within the story or it was just tweaking the tone of a scene. In the second and third seasons it’s starting to feel like it’s fan service for the sake of fan service, rather than fan service used to enhance the overall experience.

  • I really enjoyed it, although one gripe i did have was
    the usage of the body snatching, or lack thereof and the big bad being something that could easily be dealt with with any sort of heavy munitions. When it was body snatching it was a legitimate threat because you could not defeat it as you would only be killing one small part – sort of like curing only one person in a plague. You also had the issue of essentially killing your friends and loved ones, but as soon as the creature absorbed them all into one entity it instantly became less of a threat – one that could be easily hurt by fireworks and shotguns – so realistically you could kill it just with a rocket launcher or something similar

  • Loved it. One of the (very)few TV series I re-watch, and having finished a Season 4 sized hole is all that’s left inside.

    I may have also bought some ‘Nike x Stranger Things gear’ today…..

  • Loved it, finding it really hard to compare seasons of Stranger Things but I’ve enjoyed all of it so far. Spoilers for the next season tease;
    As cool as it was to see, kinda hope the Domogorgon isn’t the real focus of S4, feel like it’s about time for something totally new to show up again. Keen to see where they go either way though.

    Still not quite sure how they managed to turn Billy into an interesting character…

  • loved it, much better then S2 but I think (for me at least) the problem with S2 is that the addition of another number didn’t do much to the plot and it just felt like the story flow got broken. the way they introduced new characters in S3 felt more organic and just better

    I was pleasantly surprised they made Robin gay, at least it up ends the traditional story telling since they seemed to be playing towards Steve dating her after the shared trauma of being tortured. I was also mildly sad at the death of the Russian scientist lol

    looking forward to see what they do with S4 especiall with how the show ended

  • I really enjoyed it. Almost lost me at the mall montage in episode two, but I was all in once I made it past that.

    I think “BTTF” was a hint to season 4. I reckon there will be some time travel and a crusade to recover lost characters in the season ahead…

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