Stranger Things 4 might be a year away but in the meanwhile, I decided to rank all the seasons and give an analysis on my overall opinions on the show because why not? Stranger Things has become one of my all times favorites because of it’s mysterious undertone and it’s charming characters, although there are a few characters I just don’t care for, that’s common to happen with any TV show. The reason why I honestly like Stranger Things more than other shows, is it’s “right to the point” structure, as each season has it’s own unique feature. From the first season’s mysterious and creepy vibe to the third season’s action blockbuster structure, I can’t say I really dislike any of the seasons. It’s refreshing to see shows try new things while also keeping the characters we all know and love. Also, the show is super easy to binge because it’s only 8-9 episodes per season. There are different aspects about different seasons that I either like or dislike which is what I will break down in the article.
#1-Stranger Things (Season 1)
The first season is hands down my favorite out of the three. The Duffer Brothers were able to convey the themes of conspiracy, mystery, and horror all into one with the element of “Science Fiction” being added into the mix. The show heavily displayed the themes of the 80s and what adolescence was like back then. This season just works on a vary of different levels. The kids really sold it for me and Millie’s performance of Eleven is on point, I don’t know who else could’ve played her. I think what makes this season so solid for me is how each of the subplots come together for one epic finale and since the season was structured like a movie, the payoff worked. The dynamics of Nancy & Jonathon, the party looking for Will with the help of Eleven, and Joyce Byer’s determination to find her son blew this season out of the water. The Duffers were able to balance everything really well and managed to end of the season on a satisfying conclusion while also giving a tease at what might come during another season. The first season is easily the best and again manages to balance the tones of mystery, horror and a bit of thriller all into one. This season in general is just really hard to replicate and I don’t think it will be topped but who knows, maybe Stranger Things 4 will surprise us.
#2-Stranger Things (Season 2)
The second season is a worthy followup to the first season and according to the Duffer Brothers, serves as more like a sequel to Season 1 rather than a continuation. I kind of disagree with that statement only because this season ties up loose ends from the first season, Eleven closes the gate, Will’s issues are addressed, Nancy ends up with Jonathon, and other elements properly are concluded in Stranger Things 2. I know some people don’t like this season and I honestly don’t understand why but that’s their own opinion. The stakes are way higher during this season, we learn more about characters like Eleven, and structurally it’s a bit faster paced. The biggest setback this season suffered was the stand-alone episode 7, featuring Eleven (The Lost Sister). That episode itself is not bad but considering the pacing of the season it felt awkward and out of place. They should’ve just mixed it in with the plot rather than making it a whole stand alone episode. I personally liked it as it developed Eleven more and the introduction of Kali and other special kids from the Hawkins Lab is in my opinion important. They should still explore Kali in future seasons but maybe ditch her gang of friends because they were forgettable and uninteresting. Moving on, I think the new characters Billy & Max where fine as I personally really liked Dacre and Sadie’s portrayals of the two new characters. Overall, I still really like Season 2 as it ties up many loose ends and really ends on a satisfying note. It’s a worthy follow up to the first season but doesn’t quite top it. There’s plenty of twists and turns this season that makes it watchable, not to mention aside from Episode 7, the pacing is pretty much on point.
#3-Stranger Things (Season 3)
Moving onto Season 3, which is probably my least favorite but I still really like it for various seasons. The storyline of the Mind Flayer returning and flaying Billy was hands down the best story of the season and the fact that various people were getting flayed really ramps up the stakes. The part where they melted into one big monster was easily the darkest part of the season and Dacre Montgomery did a fantastic job with Billy this season. The aesthetic was also super fun to watch as it felt like a big blockbuster movie and the groups interacting with each other was enjoyable. However despite having darker tones, this season had it’s moments that I did not care for. The subplot of the Russians trying to open the gate still makes no sense to me at all and nothing was explained as to how they discovered “The Upside Down”. Then to add onto the ridiculousness of that subplot, we have the fact that the Russians have a underground lab in a bunker underneath the StarCourt mall? I mean sure it fits the conspiracy tone of the show but it felt more like a plot device so that the gate would reopen and the Mind Flayer would become active again. To add on top of that we had the Russian terminator who was the cherry on top of the ice cream like it was just dumb. Another thing is the humor was too much, it felt like Marvel humor and at times was forced. This aspect of Season 3 took away from the mystery but still it was fun but again it took away the serious tone that the other seasons had. Regarding Billy’s death, I’m glad they redeemed him but I still did not really find myself rooting for him. Still made a great villain in my opinion and again Dacre absolutely crushed it.
Final Verdict: Season 1 Is And Will Always Be The Best
So we’ve come to the conclusion of my rankings of all the seasons and the first season is in my opinion the best season out of all of them. It’s so mysterious and fun. It has this vibe that is hard to replicate. That does not mean the other seasons are bad because they’re all good seasons in my opinion and each have their own special-ness that make them stand out. Season 2 really did a good job at giving me a satisfying conclusion to the arc set up during 1, while Season 3 had a epic summer blockbuster vibe. Needless to say, I like all the seasons for their own specific reasons and I think the Duffer Brothers with their vision for the series have a good solid idea how to structure their show. Each season feels like a movie with a beginning and an end. I still have no idea what Season 4 will look like, I’m honestly kind of concerned because it feels that the gate constantly being opened is going to become a problem. One thing I will say is I really hope this show does not get dragged out to like 7 seasons. I’m intrigued to see where the next season will go, as I personally had no idea what Season 3 was going to look like. I know that there’s been a mixed response to Season 3 with some people loving it and others absolutely hating it so I guess it’s up to you to decide if you think it’s good or not.