In the year of our Lord 2019, "Stranger Things" no longer has to worry about living up to its own hype, and registers as comfort food for millions of viewers. It's good to be back in Hawkins, even if it's increasingly hard to remain invested in a series' fiction that began rooted in the real world horror of the MK-Ultra Project yet is now concerned with secret Russian military bases underneath the mall food court.
I don't recall 1985 being quite this relentlessly 1985. We postmoderns, in our recreations of yesterpoptopias, often fail to register just how riven those periods were with nostalgia for pop-cult periods preceding THEM. This 13-year-old spent that summer spinning "Eleanor Rigby" over and over again. Anyway, fine and funny scenes find air through chinks in the boilerplate; pop clean in the brains of their guzzlers.
Enjoyable but I don't think they should go beyond season 4. It's just echoes of Season 1 over and over. Erica is a good comic relief. Robin a good addition. Noah, as good as a child actor he is, was under-utilised. It felt like they didn't know what to do with him this season? He was just there.
Maybe instead of trying to sell me ice cream, clothes, shoes, Coke, Slurpees, and Burger King we could get some substantive narrative development in what was an interesting series. Most of the Russian characters are written as soulless Cold War tropes; this isn't a kitschy nod to the 80's, it's just low-hanging fruit. The goo monster also didn't do much besides further the side stories of doomed secondary characters.
Moonrise Kingdom meets the Thing, starring the boss ass bitch known as Eleven. I wish Cary Elwes was in it a bit more, but oh well. A bit more problematic as it goes on, but I'm guessing next season is the last.
The third season is better paced and has a perfect balance of humor and creepy scenes, but it is also predictable, especially it's last two hours. It is best when being a "Blob / The Thing" homage with people getting devored and destroyed and "your neighbour can be one of 'em", but it all ends sadly in another monster showdown. Excellent new character additions though and the humor/homages are beautiful.
The best season of all three. The plot is more solid and the acting is better. The photography looks amazing, the colours are methodically arranged to make it impossible for your eyes to look away from the screen. The ending is emotional and really beautiful.