By the time Part 1 of Stranger Things’ Season 4 drops on Friday, May 27, 1,058 days will have gone by. And that is one long-ass time between seasons of any show, however bitchin’ it may be. But I come bearing good, even awesome, news: Pandemic delays be damned, the seven super-sized episodes that we get are 100-percent worth the wait.
The timing of the Netflix hit’s triumphant return couldn’t be better for the streamer, which has been hard-pressed for good news lately. In the first quarter of 2022, it suffered its first subscriber loss in a decade, which led to stock prices taking a nosedive, which in turn led to layoffs and an overall financial reckoning.
Yeah, there haven’t been a lotta champagne bottles being popped. But there should be after the world gets a load of Season 4. (Part 2, comprised of two more episodes, drops on Friday, July 1.)
You probably already know that in the show’s penultimate run, six months have passed since the Battle of Starcourt, bully Billy’s unlikely hero’s death and Eleven’s loss of her powers. (Read the Season 3 finale recap here.) You also know from the trailer (which you can view here) and episodic photos (which you can view here) that there’s a new creature at large, one that comes closer to looking human than the Demogorgon could in its dreams.
What you don’t know — yet, at least — is that Season 4 continues to find the Duffer Brothers at the absolute top of their game. The series’ creators have done a bang-up job of letting their kids mature and experience all the pains that accompany growing up — and, in some cases, growing apart. They’ve shaken up couples to reveal what they’re actually made of. And the supernatural mystery that the EPs have set in motion is, blessed as it is with a central character about whom we care deeply, as likely to turn you inside out as, ahem, upside down.
On top of that, Part 1 of Season 4 reminds us over and over again that few and far between are the series that are better (or even as good) at staging jaw-dropping set pieces. It reinforces the fact that you can drop any assortment of Stranger Things’ characters into an arc and feel like you’re witnessing chocolate being dipped in peanut butter for the first time. And we can’t fathom how, but the show keeps introducing newbies that are instantly iconic. (Yeah, we’re pretty high on scene-stealing stoner Argyle!)
In short, unless you’re for some reason dying for a reinvention of the wheel, you’re gonna love this. It’s suspenseful, exciting, funny and scary as hell.
THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE: As Argyle would say, “Hold onto your butts, brochachos!” Stranger Things, Season 4, Part 1, is an awesomely wild ride.