‘Stranger Things’ captivates audiences

Ali Smith, Arts and Leisure Editor

After nearly three years of waiting, I found myself wondering before “Stranger Things” producers announced the release date of season four, would the wait really be worth it? 

Yes, “Stranger Things” is undoubtedly a show which has an unmatched ability to combine different genres of film such as sci-fi, historical fiction, horror, drama and comedy into one cohesive series. 

However, despite understanding the delays brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, three years with minimal advertising or enticement is a long time to keep fans and followers of the show interested.  

Despite all of these obstacles, after a month on the streaming platform, “Stranger Things” remains a leader on the Netflix Top 10 chart after its release of season four on May 27.  

Not only has the show managed to captivate Netflix viewers young and old, but it has also sparked many conversations from fans regarding theories and underlying elements missed by the casual viewer on social media platforms such as TikTok, Twitter and Facebook.  

“Stranger Things” network employees have also remained active on Twitter and Instagram since the release of “Stranger Things” Volume 1, which has kept the large community of viewers invested in the show’s many layers and anxiously anticipating volume two.  

It is evident that after two and a half years MIA, “Stranger Things 4” delivered.  

But what exactly did it bring to the table this time around? 

The reminiscent nod at 80s horror, laden with special effects allowing for the human frame to be distorted on screen, has been a success for the show, as it has interested older audiences with its nostalgia.  

This can be seen in the graphic yet unrealistic gore witnessed in the murder scenes or the wild hallucinatory effects given to the Vecna victims.  

Fans also celebrate the role of feminism in the female characters and the loyalty to fan favorites from this seasons cast list.   

They have come to social media to argue the points of their favorite characters based on the weight they bring to the show, and viewers have even claimed that the strong female leads, such as Robin, Nancy, Max, Eleven and Joyce, have carried this entire season with their unmatched strength and bravery in the face of death, captivity and fear.  

Other fans have made bold statements that if Steve Harrington dies in volume two they will sue Netflix, or if they kill off other new characters like they did Chrissy Cunningham after forming an attachment over season four, they won’t be able to continue with the show.  

Statements such as these have gained popularity in shares, comments and likes due to mutual consensus amongst loyal viewers.  

What made me most happy about the first part of the season was that the information from the season four teaser turned out to be true: Hopper was alive. 

As my favorite character, I vowed never to watch another episode of “Stranger Things” after his death in the season three finale.  

However, “Stranger Things” producers saved my interest in the show, and I am sure that of many others, but revealing Hopper was alive despite impossible odds.  

They almost dropped the ball on that one.  

I was a bit skeptical of where the season was going at the start, as Netflix had brought in some supernatural elements to the mix that didn’t really seem to fit the storyline. It felt very “Riverdale:” going in different directions with no cohesion or plausible end in sight, no matter how entertaining the chaos may be. 

However, by the end of volume one, everything was tied together seamlessly by “Stranger Things’” phenomenal writers, which even encouraged me to go back to episode one and hunt for all of the elements leading up to the answer that I may have missed before.  

This rediscovery aided me to bring a whole new meaning and have an entirely new appreciation for the show and its writers.  

Although this is a review and not a theorist piece, I am heavily invested in the theories roaming around the internet regarding the outcome of volume two of “Stranger Things,” which is rumored to be 2 episodes of an hour and a half and two and a half hours.  

With that being said, lots of loyal followers and analyzers of the show’s plot and elements believe that volume two is bound to welcome even more death and destruction than its predecessor, which I am hoping is not true, as I am emotionally attached to every character, especially newcomer heartthrob Eddie Munson.  

For part two, above all else, I am praying for a reunion between Hopper and Eleven in the midst of all of the Vecna and Upsidedown chaos, which I have faith will end in a victory from the Hellfire Club with the help of their superhero friend, Eleven. 

So far, season four of “Stranger Things,” synonymous with the previous seasons, has set a precedent for other Netflix series’ and modern shows alike, as it has captivated audiences, caught the positive attention of critics and overshadowed all other young adult shows by appealing to all ages and continuing to advance their storyline and cinematography.