Stranger Things season 4 roundup: What the critics are saying in their reviews of the new series

Reviews are in for the fourth outing of Eighties-inspired teen sci-fi series

Nicole Vassell
Monday 23 May 2022 09:45
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Stranger Things 4: trailer

Stranger Things season four has been met with acclaim from critics, with some hailing it as the best one yet.

The fourth series of the science fiction thriller will launch on Netflix on Friday (27 May), three years since season three was released.

The show picks up around a year after the action of season three left, following the stories of teens Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), Will (Noah Schnapp), Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), along with their friends and family.

Already, the extensive run times of the episodes have astonished fans – one episode is a staggering two and a half hours long.

Still, early reviews have been mostly full of praise.

The Independent’s Amanda Whiting assured fans in her review that if they liked the show before, they’ll like it again: “Formulaic TV works when the formula is this good.”

According to the Evening Standard, the Duffer Brothers’ creation still is “fresh and intriguing”, despite not veering too far from the original formula of what made it a smash hit in the first place.

“Though some parts drag, on the whole the finished product is cohesive and compelling, filling every second with nail-biting tension or chewy plot material,” Vicky Jessop wrote in her four-star recap.

Finn Wolfhard and Millie Bobby Brown in ‘Stranger Things’

Similarly, Entertainment Weekly’s reviewer says that the show is working both harder and smarter this season, clearly relishing the complexity of the new developments.

Kristen Baldwin wrote: “Fresh locales, appealing new characters, and a rewarding expansion of the mythology give the new season of Stranger Things a jolt of joyful energy, just when the series needed it most.”

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The Hollywood Reporter also made a note of the programme’s level of ambition for this run of episodes – but also remarked that it misses out on some charm and humour as a result.

For reviewer Daniel Fienberg, season four is “the biggest, scariest, most ambitious Stranger Things season yet. It’s also the least charming, least funny and least inventive season... the effort to concentrate on moments of human relatability often gets overwhelmed by the attempts at scale.”

Variety’s take also had some notes about the series’ choice to spilt up many of its characters and take on so many storylines, claiming that “checking in with all of them has become increasingly difficult, to the point that, apparently, there is just no trimming it all down to fit the confines of a traditional TV episode.”

‘Stranger Things’

Caroline Framke said: “Pretty much every plot (except for Eleven continuing to explore her origin story) gets less compelling the further they get from Hawkins.”

Elsewhere, on Tech Radar, the first volume of Stranger Things’ fourth outing received four stars.

“Its combination of expansive world-building, revelations about the series’ lore, sparkling cast additions, emotional and heart-wrenching story beats, and an injection of even more horrifying and haunting elements will please hardcore and casual fans alike,” critic Tom Power said.

For Metro’s reviewer, the “powerhouse” strength of the cast performances was a major draw, calling them “heartwarming and heartbreaking in equal measure”.

Sabrina Barr explained: “Stranger Things [continues] to do the utmost to keep its audience on the edge of their seats, unable to predict what’s going to happen next.”

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