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

international blockbusters anime sequels Instagram Live DC Universe films CMT monster movies YouTube Premium Nat Geo Sundance TV debate fast and furious The Walt Disney Company Turner docudrama cats based on movie crime thriller biography Film franchise Ovation psychological thriller spain richard e. Grant posters natural history a nightmare on elm street trailers Universal Pictures Captain marvel Schedule The Arrangement Superheroe children's TV Exclusive Video Brie Larson Valentine's Day SDCC Spring TV new zealand parents Netflix sitcom new york Paramount Plus Apple TV+ book LGBTQ comic book movies Travel Channel kaiju Country Crackle Kids & Family Rock Anna Paquin Comedy political drama binge video on demand art house batman rotten sopranos NBC concert Martial Arts Grammys award winner Elton John singing competition teaser Box Office aliens spinoff razzies joker heist movie Shondaland halloween tv Sci-Fi women Vudu Fox Searchlight laika PaleyFest spider-man GLAAD Awards Tour Interview strong female leads RT21 Thanksgiving docuseries sag awards cancelled television Reality Competition Heroines classics Holidays spanish cancelled TV series tv talk documentary spy thriller young adult ABC cancelled TV shows Trivia Walt Disney Pictures animated finale Hallmark Christmas movies adaptation 4/20 Trophy Talk adventure Fox News 2019 thriller rt labs critics edition TV movies social media Horror TIFF rom-coms cooking 99% YouTube Red Biopics APB casting hidden camera Disney Plus 73rd Emmy Awards venice FXX james bond archives latino Writers Guild of America See It Skip It WGN video Women's History Month mockumentary wonder woman A24 dreamworks Opinion BAFTA Logo Disney streaming service crime drama Stephen King History police drama E! ABC Family YouTube 90s Lucasfilm Western Summer Hallmark basketball free movies anthology Hulu biopic unscripted Freeform Star Trek Best and Worst new star wars movies Rocky mcc cancelled 93rd Oscars Fantasy ratings Song of Ice and Fire Chernobyl New York Comic Con Avengers nbcuniversal Certified Fresh adenture BBC renewed TV shows italian Comic Book Infographic boxing jamie lee curtis slasher FOX Binge Guide comic books deadpool GIFs Mystery Lifetime cartoon Pacific Islander feel good green book supernatural jurassic park TV Land IMDb TV prank Bravo christmas movies documentaries HBO Go politics Food Network BBC America lord of the rings series blaxploitation TruTV Apple TV Plus Broadway FX Comedy Central Academy Awards Mary Poppins Returns romantic comedy 007 kids talk show facebook Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Toys MTV Set visit Universal golden globes hollywood VICE Emmys DC streaming service YA Winter TV TCA Awards nature reboot scary movies crime TBS Sony Pictures screen actors guild television ABC Signature psycho kong Spike Shudder Wes Anderson 2016 Red Carpet The Walking Dead comic book movie Britbox australia TCA 2017 2020 movies TLC werewolf Marathons rt archives 2021 Showtime Watching Series twilight Character Guide spider-verse dramedy Warner Bros. Pet Sematary CBS theme song Ghostbusters OneApp fresh discovery true crime period drama Chilling Adventures of Sabrina critics HBO Max Turner Classic Movies Rom-Com football know your critic Arrowverse Funimation RT History dark sports MCU San Diego Comic-Con king arthur VH1 Mary poppins black comedy Oscars Epix Animation Starz movie all-time Pride Month NYCC justice league 72 Emmy Awards criterion DC Comics Comics on TV HBO dc Dark Horse Comics quibi PlayStation robots IFC ITV saw TV renewals Paramount IFC Films hispanic 1990s Amazon Neflix sequel japanese TV USA canceled TV shows worst Mudbound Crunchyroll slashers marvel comics target witnail space ghosts chucky El Rey Spectrum Originals Apple Tubi Action travel BET Awards universal monsters Premiere Dates medical drama olympics doctor who X-Men what to watch japan CW Seed Black Mirror comedies dceu Rocketman versus Year in Review genre blockbuster Awards Disney legend live event hist USA Network book adaptation Syfy diversity Columbia Pictures Pirates Image Comics Sneak Peek obituary Tokyo Olympics comics 2015 SundanceTV comic cults DGA National Geographic remakes Extras 45 hispanic heritage month comiccon Winners Video Games TCA Winter 2020 miniseries disaster transformers NBA Acorn TV child's play Baby Yoda ID mission: impossible Musicals critic resources black popular 24 frames Classic Film First Look Disney+ Disney Plus Black History Month cinemax 21st Century Fox TV One TCM Pop zombie PBS The CW french canceled reviews Comic-Con@Home 2021 name the review Marvel Studios revenge historical drama golden globe awards toronto nfl 71st Emmy Awards Cosplay superman vs. Family Legendary streaming movies Mindy Kaling Quiz independent best action-comedy foreign Teen Super Bowl asian-american romance Disney Channel Musical suspense The Purge Nominations Tarantino BET Endgame king kong 2018 festival game of thrones Reality E3 satire Pixar 20th Century Fox TNT indie Masterpiece emmy awards directors live action Photos news CBS All Access Creative Arts Emmys Amazon Prime OWN vampires serial killer Holiday TCA zombies halloween Netflix Christmas movies rotten movies we love composers royal family Hear Us Out Nickelodeon Alien marvel cinematic universe technology Polls and Games WarnerMedia die hard Adult Swim cops stand-up comedy LGBT Lionsgate stop motion toy story Superheroes Drama American Society of Cinematographers 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Marvel Television zero dark thirty FX on Hulu spanish language Discovery Channel boxoffice scene in color First Reviews mob A&E CNN Christmas mutant Paramount Network Sundance Now ESPN streaming Pop TV Mary Tyler Moore south america Ellie Kemper festivals Cannes DirecTV gangster Calendar Fall TV cars SXSW Emmy Nominations The Witch ViacomCBS 2017 rt labs Trailer Marvel President Peacock worst movies war game show Music aapi AMC Plus harry potter godzilla Tomatazos pirates of the caribbean dexter high school Television Critics Association The Academy indiana jones Amazon Prime Video GoT dragons scary VOD elevated horror telelvision Countdown stoner Esquire Podcast Television Academy screenings Cartoon Network MSNBC Tumblr BBC One breaking bad superhero crossover Amazon Studios science fiction Lifetime Christmas movies Film Festival Star Wars AMC scorecard dogs Election Sundance