Behold, the first reviews for Stranger Things season two have arrived and by all accounts, Netflix and the Duffer Brothers have recaptured the fun and magic of season one. While season two couldn’t possibly sneak up on us the way season one unexpectedly broke out, it does sound as if the sophomore sequel lives up to the considerable hype and expectations.
Season two, or Stranger Things 2 as it’s being dubbed, takes place one year after the first season. Our main characters have been sworn to secrecy by the powers that be so that the Upside Down stays a mystery. Unfortunately, Will is having trouble recovering from his time being hunted by the Demogorgon and keeps having flashes of the terrifying dimension. Eleven, meanwhile, is nowhere to be found after seemingly sacrificing herself to save her friends. With a set up like that, the Duffers have ample room to operate this year. Let’s see what the critics are saying.
The Hollywood Reporter‘s Daniel Feinberg:
“Stranger Things 2 is quite good and, if your expectations are in check, largely satisfying. The Duffer Brothers fall into very few traps of self-importance or self-awareness and they deliver a second season with an expanded assortment of ’80s influences, an expanded cast of instantly embraceable characters and some expanded Stranger Things mythology without the bloat that inevitably dooms sequels.”
Collider‘s Allison Keene:
“[Unlike] other zeitgeist-dwelling series that suffered tangible sophomore slumps (True Detective, UnREAL, Mr. Robot), The Duffers have managed to recapture what made Season 1 so good while still moving the story forward in necessary ways, with a smartly written and cleverly-plotted script. Like that first season, not everything works perfectly, but its cumulative effect is one that is again joyous, emotional, satisfyingly spooky, and most of all, makes us care deeply about the fates of these outsiders who band together as heroes.”
Variety‘s Maureen Ryan:
“Until Stranger Things 2 really gets going — and that takes a while — it trails an air of self-consciousness that veers into strained fan service at times. The good news is, the show’s core cast remains an extremely versatile and effective ensemble, and once the story kicks into a higher gear about halfway through the nine-episode season, a lot of the old magic returns.”
Uproxx‘s Alan Sepinwall:
“There will come a point where the Duffers and Netflix are pushing their luck with this series, where there will be too many characters and too many plot twists that evoke eye rolls and moans of, “Oh, this again?” Thankfully, it’s not there yet. (Though the season’s closing shot again triggered some mental alarm bells, so this feeling may never entirely go away.) Not all sequels live up to the original; this one does better than I ever would have imagined. The show itself couldn’t possibly sneak up on me a second time; how entertaining it continues to be absolutely did.”