News

Stranger Things 3 First Reviews: New Season Earns Raves from Critics

Duffer Bros. tweak Netflix series' familiar formula just enough to catapult season 3 to Certified Fresh status.

by | June 30, 2019 | Comments

Stranger Things returns July 4 to a warm reception from critics for its new season. The first reviews out propelled the season 3 to Certified Fresh status within the day on Sunday, in one of the fastest designations in Rotten Tomatoes’ history.

The series sets its third season in the summer, starting out all warm breezes, sunny skies, baking skin, splashing pools, and young romance. But this is Hawkins, Indiana, and stranger things lurk beneath that veneer of ’80s suburban normalcy.

Cue the Netflix series’ Goonies-like crew: supernatural Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Will (Noah Schnapp), Max (Sadie Sink), Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), and Steve (Joe Keery).

Parents and other siblings also return, including scene-stealing Priah Ferguson as Lucas’ sister Erica, Dacre Montgomery as Max’s bully brother Billy, and, of course, Winona Ryder as Will and Jonathan’s mom Joyce and David Harbour as police chief Jim Hopper, who last season adopted the role as Eleven’s father in attachment if not legally. In season 3, their bond is stronger than ever.

See what critics had to say about Stranger Things: Season 3 (2019) 89% below.


Something Old

Stranger Things SEASON Season 3 PHOTO CREDIT Netflix PICTURED Noah Schnapp, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Sadie Sink, Caleb McLaughlin
(Photo by Netflix)

“Reliable, durable and comfortable, ST3 is what you’d expect and certainly what you want, if what you “want” is seasons 1 and 2, with a few big twists along the way.” — Verne Gay, Newsday


Something New

Stranger Things SEASON Season 3 PHOTO CREDIT Netflix PICTURED Priah Ferguson
(Photo by Netflix)

“Our heroes are not the goofy young kids they used to be. The third series realigns and reconfigures them in new combinations and allegiances.” — Suzi Feay, Financial Times


Something Borrowed

“Though there are signs that Stranger Things is on the verge of slowing down (one-note villains, the missing feeling of an unearthed ’80s treasure), that’s not happening yet in Season 3.” — Tim Surette, TV Guide

Stranger Things finally becomes the sort of extravagant, exceedingly ambitious adventure spectacle that would have ruled the theaters during the ’80s, instead of a TV series merely obsessed with films from that decade.” — Kevin Yeoman, ScreenRant


Something…True?

STRANGER THINGS SEASON Season 3 PHOTO CREDIT Netflix PICTURED David Harbour, Winnona Ryder
(Photo by Netflix)

“On the evidence of this plodding and predictable third season, the Duffers can’t skip town soon enough.” — Ed Power, Daily Telegraph (UK)

“It harnesses a Big Summer Mood, a healthy heap of nostalgia and has plenty of fun references. But its story is also convoluted and far too scattered.” — Allison Keene, Paste Magazine

“It’s a thin imitation of what we used to have, who could blame anyone for clinging to it?” — Judy Berman, TIME Magazine


Final Verdict?

Stranger Things SEASON Season 3 PHOTO CREDIT Netflix PICTURED Maya Hawke, Joe Keery, Gaten Matarazzo
(Photo by Netflix)

“Season 3 balances good-natured laughs with charming nostalgia through likable characters doing battle against looming horrors. Yet it feels like it’s propping up its past to justify its present.” — Brandon Katz, Observer

“Despite its rocky start, the creators and performers find a way to pull off the impossible and deliver the best season yet, all while honoring their loyal fan base and challenging them to want more from a series known for playing it safe.” — Patrick Cavanaugh, ComicBook.com

“By doubling down on relationship stories, Season 3 of Stranger Things delivers an oft-charming, deeper-than-expected, and ultimately enjoyable new chapter.” — Ben Travers, indieWire


Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.


Tag Cloud

Calendar First Reviews Reality Competition Opinion Discovery Channel Amazon Tomatazos E3 RT History Grammys spain Baby Yoda FXX TCA Winter 2020 social media Nickelodeon Song of Ice and Fire PaleyFest reviews Countdown ABC Family romance historical drama blaxploitation teaser Superheroes Hear Us Out space San Diego Comic-Con Cosplay Netflix Christmas movies Showtime SundanceTV Red Carpet unscripted Apple TV+ zombies Heroines TruTV Pride Month Mary Tyler Moore CBS Apple TV Plus television Comedy Classic Film psychological thriller disaster Crackle Watching Series Video Games Vudu Arrowverse hispanic National Geographic casting die hard crime thriller Christmas foreign 4/20 singing competition Amazon Prime Adult Swim DGA 2017 GLAAD composers green book USA Biopics Film vampires MTV breaking bad History Disney Superheroe Box Office Freeform Comics on TV animated Animation Academy Awards HBO TIFF slashers Fox News Warner Bros. OWN Sundance Now Action TV Land movies Marvel Television Rock Thanksgiving diversity Horror Drama Oscars BBC The CW The Walking Dead cooking theme song comic Interview Turner Classic Movies A&E spider-man 24 frames Kids & Family CMT mutant Disney+ Disney Plus franchise Writers Guild of America Pop TV NBC nature Peacock indie Columbia Pictures DirecTV ghosts 20th Century Fox cancelled television elevated horror a nightmare on elm street Logo LGBT Bravo Country universal monsters aliens cancelled 2020 what to watch 2018 SXSW Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Comedy Central Disney Plus A24 Shudder canceled TV shows kids Emmys YA See It Skip It Mindy Kaling Amazon Studios TNT screen actors guild directors cats Endgame period drama Hallmark medical drama Epix Family Ovation Elton John El Rey Television Academy Rom-Com stoner Awards festivals Dark Horse Comics VH1 finale book 2019 The Arrangement criterion TBS Mary poppins Mudbound supernatural DC Universe anime Walt Disney Pictures binge canceled justice league documentary Sci-Fi TCA Valentine's Day spanish language FX on Hulu Amazon Prime Video politics President series Brie Larson TV renewals zombie Lucasfilm Trivia zero dark thirty harry potter NYCC dogs Netflix halloween jamie lee curtis Britbox Syfy Lifetime movie Paramount Network APB werewolf Captain marvel Spectrum Originals Marvel BBC America Pop 45 HBO Max Trailer game of thrones sag awards award winner Reality witnail Trophy Talk Shondaland sitcom 2016 Pet Sematary Sneak Peek VICE Masterpiece Travel Channel Stephen King Creative Arts Emmys asian-american ESPN Best and Worst Emmy Nominations discovery chucky dark latino docudrama miniseries police drama Polls and Games cars Marvel Studios cinemax Turner mockumentary LGBTQ TCM BET strong female leads PBS serial killer Toys GIFs DC streaming service IFC Films name the review FX Sundance TV screenings Ellie Kemper boxoffice mission: impossible RT21 Star Trek child's play MSNBC Star Wars CW Seed revenge crime drama Comic Book thriller cancelled TV series Paramount Cartoon Network AMC Esquire ITV crossover TLC Black History Month comedies Universal Musical joker Lionsgate rotten movies we love Fantasy cults Teen quibi Holiday dragons Disney streaming service Rocky WarnerMedia batman political drama TV video robots Extras DC Comics hist south america The Purge anthology comiccon Set visit Musicals scary movies Hulu Fall TV independent based on movie Character Guide facebook 2015 Film Festival streaming Women's History Month Lifetime Christmas movies christmas movies Election cancelled TV shows Tumblr doctor who transformers Spring TV Nat Geo Photos cops technology First Look renewed TV shows Pirates OneApp spy thriller YouTube Red The Witch Hallmark Christmas movies Funimation Apple SDCC Mystery Anna Paquin Winter TV Podcast Spike Summer American Society of Cinematographers dramedy children's TV richard e. Grant Certified Fresh Schedule ABC Pixar psycho 71st Emmy Awards ratings YouTube Premium Marathons Awards Tour Music sports spinoff science fiction USA Network Cannes Food Network Ghostbusters true crime Sony Pictures E! WGN IFC Chernobyl adventure toy story natural history X-Men stand-up comedy CBS All Access CNN Western adaptation romantic comedy war Binge Guide TCA 2017 free movies MCU Acorn TV Tarantino tv talk Nominations Disney Channel New York Comic Con blockbuster Starz Avengers 21st Century Fox dceu comics parents concert Sundance Black Mirror Winners sequel game show Quiz FOX travel 007 GoT dc Tubi biography YouTube Year in Review Infographic best talk show reboot Crunchyroll Super Bowl Premiere Dates Mary Poppins Returns Rocketman Chilling Adventures of Sabrina crime Holidays versus golden globes Martial Arts cartoon