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) 90% 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

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