Stranger Things season 3 premiered on 4th July. Everyone had high expectations from this season. After the success of Season 1 and Season 2, the bar was set very high. Gladly, the latest season leapfrogged that bar.
It is easily the best season. Everything was great. However, the best things were the characters. Many characters had brilliant arcs. Joyce and Hopper were the beneficiaries of this. They had always been the best stranger things character and this season was more of the same. Hopper and Joyce are given plenty of time together, and they shone in every scene. Part of the reason is also the brilliant chemistry between Winona Ryder and David Harbour. Their banter was fun to watch throughout the season.
We can't go through the character arc point without going through Steve Harrington's arc. He is the best. While Season 1 showed as Cool Steve, Season 2 Dad Steve, Season 3 gave us Detective Steve. He also didn't forget his babysitting duties. Funnily, in the last episodes, the duty was passed to Dustin. His team with Robin, Dustin, and Erica was the funniest team throughout the season. Fans have already demanded a spinoff series with them solving cases.
The addition of new characters was also a masterstroke. Robin and Erica were great. We had already fallen in love with Erica during Season 2. I think the showrunners saw that gave her a lot more this time. Her comic timing was superb, and she was given the best one-liners. Same goes for Robin. The character was layered, and she fitted into the gang.
The production was great. Though in some places, it clearly looked CGI-ed, it was brilliant. The Starcourt mall helped. It provided an excellent setting for the season finale. Also, it helped recreate the 80s vibe for which the series is famous. The monster felt like a huge threat this time. The idea of people turning into fat (maybe) was gross but scary. The ending completely stuck and provided and a nice cliff-hanger.
That being said, not everything was perfect. The idea of dividing the cast into different teams gave a delightful dynamic to the story. But on the flip side, it kept the characters apart till the finale. Many of them interacted with each other for the first time. Jonathan had a dull season. The mayor was also not used properly and felt underutilised. Grigori, a payoff for Terminator, had no backstory.
Despite all of this, this season was a big win. Netflix will surely renew it for another series. The duffer brothers, creators of Stranger Things, had already said in an interview that they see this as a four to five season series. Till then, we can keep on listening to Dustin and Suzie's never-ending story on a loop.