I don’t think the phrase “cultural phenomenon” does Stranger Things justice – the world seems to stand still whenever a new season is released, and people are still talking about the latest outing months after it aired.
Every season is great, but some have definitely been stronger than others. How would I rank all four seasons?
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Best Episodes – “The Mind Flayer”, “The Gate”
Let’s make one thing explicitly clear – I thoroughly enjoyed every season of Stranger Things, and pretty much every episode makes for great entertainment. The characters and action are superb, and I’m always invested in the story.
My pick for weakest season would definitely go to Season 2 – it’s basically just a rehash of Season 1, and almost every beat is the same. The side episode “The Lost Sister” is the worst thing the series has done, and drags the whole season down even more.
Best Episodes – “The Sauna Test”, “The Battle of Starcourt”
There’s a jump up in quality after Season 2, and I think Season 3 was a slight return to form. It wasn’t perfect by any means, and it felt borderline ridiculous at times, but boy was it fun.
The Starcourt Mall and secret Russians plot could be cartoonish, but the fun the cast and writers were having was infectious. The finale “The Battle of Starcourt Mall” might just be my favourite season finale to date.
Best Episodes – “Dear Billy”, “The Massacre at Hawkins Lab”
The recent season of Stranger Things was an absolute show-stopper, and served as a stark reminder of why this show constantly takes the world by storm. Once it gets in its flow, it rivals some of the best TV I’ve ever seen.
Episodes like “Dear Billy” and “The Massacre at Hawkins Lab” completely blew my socks off in Volume One, and both of the episodes in Volume Two provided a bombastic and fitting end to the season.
My only complaint is that it takes too long to get going – episodes 1, 2 and 3 are some of the weakest Stranger Things outings to date, and their reliance on too many B-plots made the whole thing feel slow. If it wasn’t for the random side-plots, this could have possibly been the best season.
Best Episodes – “Holly Jolly”, “The Bathtub”, “The Upside Down”
Pound for pound, I still think the original season of Stranger Things is the best.
It has the most consistent run of episodes to date, it introduces most of the characters we know and love, and above all else the main story is phenomenally solid and well thought out. In all honesty, I wouldn’t have minded if they stopped after this perfect season of Sci-Fi television.
Aaand that’s my list. You can check out some of my latest blog posts below:
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