Things are about to get Strange. The third season of Netflix's hit series Stranger Things arrives on July 4, and while it may be a stressful summer in Hawkins, Indiana, it's looking like a great one for fans. The embargo for reviews lifted on Sunday, and critics shared their opinions.
It's what fans wanted to hear.calls season 3 "a brilliant return to form," adding that it brings the focus back to the elements that made the first season such an unexpected hit. "This season's sense of fun, along with its relationship drama and multiple odd pair-ups bring humor and touching moments that recall at its best," she writes.
MTVNews culture director Crystal Bell tweeted, "I think I can finally tell you that #StrangerThings is the show's best season yet."
She's not alone in calling this season the best so far. Randall Colburn, internet culture editor for The AV Club, calls season 3 the show's "best season by leaps and bounds."
Back to the future
If you're a 1980s nostalgic, get ready for an awesome and totally tubular summer, as numerous critics say the show's 1980s references are back. Edgar Alvarez of Engadget not only proclaims this the "best season yet," but declares the new season is "basically a love letter to old-school tech, shopping malls &, of course, dope retro fits & wild haircuts."
But not everyone is ready for those faddish fashions to return.
And CNET sister site ComicBook.com says the 1980s references are just too much.
"It's entertaining to see beloved characters embracing the spirit of goofy '80s films, but these homages feel so blatant that it feels more like a parody than a tribute," the ComicBook review reads.
There will be plenty of familiar faces and a few new ones in Hawkins this season. Who stands out?
To Lindsey Romain of Nerdist, the standout is 20-year-old Maya Hawke (yes, real-life daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman), who plays new character Robin, who apparently works with Steve at Scoops Ahoy, the ice-cream shop in Starcourt Mall. "She stole the season for me," Romain writes.
We know from thethat Billy (Dacre Montgomery) could be the target of some Upside Down evil this season. But apparently he's also a great character this year. "Billy f****** owns," Colburn writes.
And Police Chief Jim Hopper brings the laughs, according to Emily Longeretta of Us Weekly, who says she "laughed out loud at least once per episode (mostly at DAD Hopper)."
And in case you forgot this show has a horror theme, Eric Goldman of getFandom is there to remind you. "This felt like the goriest season yet," he writes, "I had a couple 'oh, I probably shouldn't be eating right now' moments. Yay, gore!
And at press time, the third season had a 92 percent Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a Metascore of 71, indicating "generally favorable reviews," on CNET sister site Metacritic.
Stranger Things season 3 will be available on Netflix on July 4.
Originally published July 1, 12:36 a.m. PT.
Update, 9:25 a.m. PT: Adds more reviews.