Is Stranger Things 3 the best series yet?
By Daniel J. McLaughlin
Stranger Things fans have had to wait nearly two years for a new series of the Netflix show, but it is finally back on the streaming service.
The third series of the sci-fi horror, set in the 1980s, was released on July 4.
But has it been worth the wait? Some critics say it is the best series yet, while others argue that it is "dull" and "overdone".
Wired's Matt Reynolds says that Stranger Things is "back and better than ever, thanks to a perfect balance of teen drama and Upside Down creepiness".
He calls the third series of the Netflix show "the best one yet".
He says that it makes up for the missteps from the second series, arguing that the show was never about the monsters.
Reynolds writes: "It’s a series about growing up, about the confusion of childhood and the pain of leaving it all behind.
"The show seemed to forget that at some point during the last season, but season three has put things back on track again with episodes that pirouette between real horror, swashbuckling adventure and perfectly-pitched drama with astonishing ease."
However, Forbes' Dani Di Placido argues that the new series "stretches nostalgia past its breaking point".
He says that series three "offers more of the same, with diminishing returns".
Di Placido writes: "Suddenly, the abundance of neon, synths, the incessant retro-fetishism feels dull, overdone.
"It’s as though the show is attempting to avoid building its own personality, preferring to coast by on nostalgia alone."
He adds that there are not many standout scenes of its own, accusing the show of "lazy writing".
While praising the performances and the visual effects, he says the season offers "an exceedingly simple story, a rerun of previous seasons".
Di Placido concludes: "As great as Stranger Things was, the show seems to have stretched its concept out to breaking point.
"It’s a strange way to flicker out; the quality is still there, but the energy, the novelty, has evaporated.
"The show now feels like a vehicle for on-the-nose product placements and retro pop culture references."
Stranger Things 3 is rated 90 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, the review aggregation site. It also received an 88 per cent audience score.
The critics consensus reads: "Stranger Things transforms itself into a riveting - if familiar - summer ride that basks in its neon-laden nostalgia without losing sight of the rich relationships that make the series so endearing."
Netflix does not reveal the number of viewers on its original series, but it is predicted that the Series Two premiere drew more than 15 million viewers in just three days.
According to Indie Wire, before the third series was released on Netflix, Stranger Things was the top show in streaming.
This was measured by Parrot Analytics' Demand Expressions measurement, combining streaming, peer-to-peer downloads, social media, comments, blogs and other sources.