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Stranger Things (Netflix)

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Anyone seen Season 3? I agree that Season 2 was a bit of a letdown. Season 3, while not that great as horror, is as good as the show has ever been as 80s-themed teen drama. Some of the writing and acting in the teenagers' scenes (both the older set and the younger set) are superb.

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32 minutes ago, Rushmore said:

Anyone seen Season 3? I agree that Season 2 was a bit of a letdown. Season 3, while not that great as horror, is as good as the show has ever been as 80s-themed teen drama. Some of the writing and acting in the teenagers' scenes (both the older set and the younger set) are superb.

Yeah, I agree with this. I also think this season was the best-paced they’ve done yet. 

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I really feel like both Season 2 and S3 could have been much stronger as 6 episode seasons instead of 8. Too much filler in the middle leaving key characters in some kind of narrative stasis.  

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On 9/4/2019 at 8:23 PM, Buckeye Jones said:

I really feel like both Season 2 and S3 could have been much stronger as 6 episode seasons instead of 8. Too much filler in the middle leaving key characters in some kind of narrative stasis.  

For Season 2, yes, I don't disagree. For Season 3, I don't think so. Here are some things that Season 3 did:

  • Introduced several hilarious new characters;
  • Made more interesting use of El's powers, as the first time they really advance the drama, not just the plot (if that distinction makes sense): consider the scene where it's revealed that's she's used it rather unethically, though not with premeditated malice;
  • Made more interesting use of Billy, who at first is a textbook ladykiller, i.e. someone whom we want to die, in accordance with horror tropes, and who then becomes more complex (almost, in a way, the replacement for the abused child El in Season 1);
  • Finally brought the El/Mike ship in - this was in preparation since Season 1, of course, but it would be unsatisfying not to see it;
  • Gave Brett Gelman a few more scenes to steal;
  • Developed the odd couple/buddy cop dynamic of Steve and Dustin (consider the single line "If you die, I die," which hits harder than any number of lengthy speeches in war movies);
  • Made Will more interesting than before, as the boy who, for the first time, is aware of his role as the conservative in the group of adolescents, the one who is pained and bewildered by the changes wrought by all these newfangled hormones (Noah Schnapp is a genuinely talented actor, and this is the first chance the show has really given him to show that);
  • Developed the queer themes that were always latent in the show and would have rankled if not addressed, primarily through a candid, drug-assisted conversation in a later episode between two older teen characters, but prepared by an incredibly cutting line from a younger teen character several episodes before;
  • Gave a certain 80s fantasy film genuine dramatic weight, not just nostalgic value, in a brilliant scene reminiscent of Magnolia;
  • Developed a teenage-reporter storyline featuring a girl reporter and a boy photographer, without which a certain artistic integrity would have been lacking.

Not everything in Season 3 was successful, of course, but I think it would have been hard pressed to compress all this further than it already was compressed. it could have been better, but I'm not sure that it could have been shorter.

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When I have time I will provide an episode by episode rebuttal.  All those elements could have been addressed in six episodes, or handled in ways that could have been more dramatically engaging in eight.  How many episodes were Joyce and Hopper puttering around vs moving forward? (Six).

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Joyce and Hopper's meanderings could stand to be cut a bit, certainly. I guess that could trim off one episode. I'm still not sure there's enough dead wood in the remainder to cut another. (Again, lots of things could have been better, but the better version wouldn't necessarily be shorter.)

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