“Stranger Things Season Four”

When the first season of “Stranger Things” debuted on Netflix on July 15, 2016, it was immediately regarded as a nostalgic homage to the 1980s. The series created by eight time Emmy nominees, brothers Matt and Ross Duffer (Hidden), became an overnight sensation. Seemingly, from the opening credit score, composed by Emmy winners and two time Grammy nominees Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, which set the perfect retro tone, to the well executed and acted episodes, the series garnered a devoted, worldwide following. After many fans had binge watched the first season, they were eager for more. On October 27, 2017, season two was released, and on July 4, 2019, season three became available to be streamed, then there was a long wait time for the next installment. On May 27, 2022, after a three year hiatus, interrupted like everything else by Covid, seven of the fourth season’s nine episodes were released for streaming. The final two episodes of the season were released on July 1, 2022.   

Some of the main characters of the show have graduated from middle school, and are now freshman in high school. For the most part they are struggling to make the transition a smooth one. Eleven, who goes under the name Jane, is portrayed by two time Emmy nominee Millie Bobby Brown (Enola Holmes). She is bullied on a daily basis, at the school she attends in Lenora Hills, California, by Angela (Elodie Grace Orkin), and Angela’s friends. Normally, if  anyone, especially someone without powers tormented her, they would be in for a rude awakening. Eleven, however, has lost her powers, and other than resorting to physical violence, she can’t do much else. An encounter with Dr. Sam Owens, played by four time Golden Globe nominee, Paul Reiser (Mad About You), might be able to alter Eleven’s situation. The only problem for her, is that she will once again have to be the test subject of Dr. Brenner, a role acted by Golden Globe winner, Matthew Modine (Short Cuts).

In addition, taking place in the California story line, Joyce Byers played by Golden Globe winner, Winona Ryder (The Age of Innocence) is attempting to make a new life for herself, but is struggling at her telemarketing job. Further complicating matters for her, is the arrival of a mysterious package from Russia, which contains a doll. The package, does however, awaken a new found sense of hope in Joyce, that perhaps Hawkins Police Chief, and Eleven’s adoptive father, Jim Hopper, who she cares for deeply, is still alive. The role of Hopper is portrayed by two time Emmy and Golden Globe nominee David Harbour (Black Widow). Joyce needs help to figure out if she’s being tricked, or if there is a chance that Hopper survived the explosion that she thought killed him at the end of season three. She gets in touch with former investigative journalist Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman). He speaks fluent Russian, and he agrees to help her, especially since she is being blackmailed. The two will travel to the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia, in order to find out the truth. Furthermore, in California, Will Byers (Noah Schnapp), is Eleven’s only friend in school, but he’s not doing much better than she is, in terms of popularity. Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton), is spending most of his time smoking weed, with his new friend, and pizza shop employee, Argyle (Eduardo Franco), instead of concentrating on his future. Argyle, the series newcomer provides comic relief to break up the overriding tension of much of season four’s runtime.  

In Hawkins, Indiana, home of the series’ origins, Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer), is a reporter and editor for the Hawkins High School newspaper, “The Weekly Streak.” Her long distance relationship with Jonathan is anything, but fine. Even though she tries hard to pretend that it is. Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), has drifted away a bit from best friends Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo), and Mike Wheeler (Finn  Wolfhard). He has joined the basketball team. Even though it is alluded to that he has never started, and primarily rides the bench for the entirety of the games, Lucas is still content to be in with the more popular teens at school, as opposed to being ridiculed like he was in middle school. Dustin and Mike have opted to invest the majority of their time as members of the Hellfire Club, a Dungeons & Dragons roll playing group, run by the long haired, heavy metal loving, Eddie Munson, who has a rebellious spirit. Unfortunately for Munson, he is the last person to speak with someone who is murdered. He undeservedly will get caught up in a plot line that involves Satanic panic, which was a real thing taking place during the 1980s. Without spoiling it for those of you who haven’t seen season four yet, Munson will play an integral role as to how things will culminate at the conclusion of the season. The part of the popular new character is acted by Joseph Quinn. Recent high school graduates, Steve Harrington (Joe Keery), and Robin Buckley (Maya Hawke), are working at the town’s video store, but their involvement in the storyline will be upped exponentially. Max (Sadie Sink), is having the most difficult time, not only adjusting to life as a high school freshman, but dealing with the death of her stepbrother Billy (Dacre Montgomery). 

Spring break is normally a happy time for both students and staff, but this is “Stranger Things,” so happiness is not allowed to pervade the plot line for any appreciable amount of time. The new, all encompassing evil threat, courtesy of the Upside Down, will come to be known as Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower). Vecna gets his power by feeding off of a person’s anxiety and fear, before he disposes of them in a truly horrific manner. His first victim is high school cheerleader, Chrissy Cunningham (Grace Van Dien). Nancy decides to investigate the story, beyond what the initial cause of death has been stated by law enforcement was. She is aided by her classmate, and fellow reporter Fred Benson (Logan Riley Bruner). Soon after they begin their investigation, Vecna claims another victim. Again, without giving too much away, the investigation will take not only Nancy, but Robin and Steve, to some very dark places throughout the season. Nancy and Robin will even take a trip to Pennhurst Asylum to speak with Victor Creel, a character played by Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street). Creel might hold the answers as to who and what Vecna is, and if there is any possible way to stop the evil entity.  

“Stranger Things” season four ups the horror factor of the show, with more scenes that depict supernatural violence. Viewers will also get an expanded look at the Upside Down. The younger characters, who have already faced impossible odds in the past, to save not only their community, but in essence the world at large, will once again have to give it their all, and then some. I’ve read reviews, as well as spoken to people, who were upset about the extended runtimes of the episodes. They felt it made the season come across as too bloated. I don’t know the reviewers personally, but I had to laugh, because some of the same people I spoke with that complained about the episodes’ lengths, always wanted more from each passing season. In regard to the extended runtimes, I do give the show runners credit. There are a lot of cast members to focus on during season four, and it couldn’t have been an easy task, to make sure that all of them were included in the storylines.

                                                                                                                                                

Season four garnered thirteen Emmy nominations, including: Outstanding Drama Series, and Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup. The series has also become the first English-language show to pass over one billion hours of viewing time worldwide. I waited until all of the episodes were available on Netflix, before I began watching. I didn’t mind the extended runtimes in the least. I was happy that there was more of a show I thoroughly enjoy. I took it one episode per night, so as not to rush through them in one weekend. The acting, writing, special effects, and overall storylines, in my opinion, are all spot on. As of the writing of this post, the fifth and final season of “Stranger Things” will be released for streaming sometime in late 2023, or early 2024.

                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                       

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About robbinsrealm

I was born in Smithtown, New York, and grew up, worked, and lived in various areas of Long Island before moving to Boca Raton, Florida where I now make my home. In addition to being an aspiring writer, I am also an English teacher. I have a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master’s Degree in Education, both from Adelphi University in Garden City, New York. In my spare time you will find me engrossed in books, watching movies, socializing with friends, or just staying active.
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4 Responses to “Stranger Things Season Four”

  1. filmmiasma says:

    I loved this last season and appreciated the longer episodes! People need to remember this do streaming and not a physical copy so they don’t have to return it. I loved it but could do with less Modine.

    • robbinsrealm says:

      Me too!

      I agree with you, that is an excellent point about streaming versus having to return a physical product.

      I am not sure Modine is going to be back, except via flashback, but who knows, anything can happen on the show.

  2. The Greene Screen says:

    This show never ceases to amaze me, but season 4 was next-level fantastic. The longer episodes were a wonderful idea.

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