When Netflix’s Stranger Things initially burst onto the scene in 2016, the surprise summer hit struck a national nerve. There was, however, one small, repeated bit of pushback: Haven’t we done this before?
The bikes. The supernatural. The kids saving the world with Walkie Talkies in hand. And if nostalgia indulgence, built upon allusions and influences from King and Spielberg, initially turned off some viewers, season two may have turned the repellent up to Eleven (ahem) by doing the sequel thing. The series’ second run had the same primary victim, another D&D-inspired type of lurking evil, and one more kids-save-their-friend-after-a-science-lesson bit.
Now two years and a Thrones-ian amount of anticipation later, the Stranger Things 3 premiere arrives in mere days (July 4). Netflix has already shared the season with some TV critics alongside an extensive list of 17 embargoed facts (that an editor graciously read through so I could stay as ignorant as Hawkins adults while a dark plague sneaks up on their small town). After previewing the first two episodes this weekend, there’s at least one specific that needs to be shared right now: any fears of a stale sequel can be put to bed. It’s a strange new world in Hawkins.