Netflix’s Stranger Things Season 3 Review: Third Time’s The Charm

The eagerly awaited third season of Stranger Things premieres July 4 on Netflix. In advance of Season 3’s release, Netflix sent us all eight new episodes. Read our review below, and head to our sister site TV Guide for more Stranger Things Season 3 coverage.

There were a lot of varying reasons to criticize Stranger Things Season 2, but the vast majority of viewers seemed to agree that Eleven’s field trip to Chicago in Season 2, Episode 7, “The Lost Sister,” was the low point. Here’s a very minor spoiler to get you hyped for Season 3: The events of that episode, including all those wonky characters, are never mentioned or referenced a single time throughout this season.

Under different circumstances, it would be disappointing for a whole slew of new characters and all the potential they should have brought with them to be completely dropped in the next season, like when Game of Thrones so thoroughly butchered the Dorne storyline in Season 5 that the writers simply murdered all those characters in the Season 6 premiere. But in this case, it’s a gift; “The Lost Sister” derailed Season 2 into another dimension, killing the show’s momentum just as it was finally getting good after a slow, somewhat frustrating season characterized by infighting and separation among the main characters.

Season 3 has no such issues. Trimmed back down to Season 1’s length of eight episodes after the extra long nine-episode Season 2 (like they had to literally jam the Chicago episode into the middle), Stranger Things Season 3 is as tight as Billy’s abs as he sits by the Hawkins community pool in his lifeguard uniform.

It’s summer vacation in Hawkins, Indiana, and the gang’s all here: Mike and Eleven are in full on make-out-every-day mode, much to Hopper’s chagrin; Nancy and Jonathan have internships at the local paper; Dustin has just returned from summer camp; Lucas and Max are going strong; Will hasn’t been possessed by anything lately; Billy sits by the pool getting gawked at by a squad of local moms (including Mrs. Wheeler); and Steve slings ice cream scoops at the brand new Starcourt Mall, where he lets the kids sneak through the back to access the movie theater for free. Honestly, summer break 1985 seems like quite a time to be alive.

Of course, this is Hawkins, so the peace doesn’t last. We won’t spoil anything, but suffice to say the Upside-Down isn’t done with Hawkins, and vice versa. But this isn’t a re-tread of Seasons 1 and 2; things play out way differently this time, with different characters at the epicenter. Eleven is fully in command of her powers, while other characters’ roles are greatly transformed thanks to the time that’s passed since Season 2, as well as some other factors that affect their abilities and motivations. Season 3 feels extremely fresh when it comes to the characters and the forces at play.

Two of Stranger Things’ main strengths have always been its cast and its setting, and both are in top form in Season 3. The main crew of Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Sadie Sink, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, and Noah Schnapp all bring their respective talents–particularly Brown. She’s always been at the show’s emotional core, embodying both vulnerability and power, but the actor shows off more sides of Eleven in Season 3–including a newly confident side influenced by Max. Their scenes together are some of the most fun in all of Season 3.

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David Harbor, meanwhile, gives Hopper a new look and a new attitude, with a running gag about him being a low key Tom Selleck/Magnum P.I. fan. And Winona Ryder brings the same lovable, just-short-of-manic energy to Joyce, who by the third time around has learned her lesson about strange goings-on in Hawkins and doesn’t hesitate to get right into the action. Lastly, Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) have some of the season’s best scenes, including some sequences that take the show’s horror genre flavor to new heights.

Likewise, 1980s Hawkins remains a place you wish you’d grown up (if not for all the interdimensional monsters and sociopathic g-men running around). ’80s nostalgia is obviously all the rage right now, but in the case of Stranger Things, we’ve yet to have too much of this good thing. And as usual, Stranger Things deploys its targeted blasts-from-the-past in smart ways that fit well with the world and themes–although some of this season’s apparent product placements, including 7-Eleven, Burger King, and New Coke, are completely over-the-top.

Starcourt Mall isn’t just a backdrop for much of Season 3–it’s the main setting for a surprising amount of the show’s action. In many ways, the mall seems like paradise–Stranger Things perfectly captures that hyperbolic 1980s “Material Girl” lust for all things capitalistic. But it also shows the other side–the effect that a mega-mall has on the local businesses in Hawkins. The second-best new character is Mayor Larry Kline (played by The Princess Bride’s Cary Elwes), a slimy politician who’s in way over his head trying to run the show in Hawkins. He’s introduced with anti-mall protests taking place outside his office.

The absolute best new character is Robin (Maya Hawke), who works at the mall’s nautical-themed ice cream joint Scoops Ahoy with Steve (Joe Keery). Season 3 may have forgotten about some of Season 2’s worst additions to the show, but it doesn’t disappoint when it comes to Steve and Dustin’s bromance. And Lucas’s little sister Erica (Priah Ferguson) just happens to be a mallrat who pesters Steve and Erica for endless free samples. The four of them have their own adventure throughout Season 3, and although we won’t spoil where it goes, the four actors’ chemistry with one another makes their scenes a highlight of the season.

It’s hard to say much more about Stranger Things Season 3 without giving away too much. There’s going to be a lot of discussion about what happens to various characters, questions about the ways certain things were revealed, and debate about Season 3’s ending, but that will come after the glorious July 4 weekend binge. For now, it’s safe to say that Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer have pulled it off: After a lackluster sophomore slump, Stranger Things is back at the top of its game.

Attack on Titan: Season 4 Will be the Final Season

Following the premiere of the last episode of Attack on Titan’s third season in Japan, the series has confirmed a fourth and final season.

According to CrunchyRoll, the final season of Attack on Titan is scheduled to air on the Japanese NHK Entertainment channel in the Fall of 2020. You can find the brief teaser trailer here. It teases one major character behind what appears to be jail cell bars.

Notably, the third season of Attack on Titan was split into two halves. The first half aired in the Fall of 2018, and the second half began in April this year. The final episode of season three will debut tonight at 5:45 p.m. PDT.

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Ni no Kuni Sequel Confirmed by Developer Level-5

In an interview with Japanese magazine Nikkei, translated and reported on by Dualshockers, Level-5 president Akihiro Hino confirmed that a new Ni no Kuni game is in the works, and will release sometime after the upcoming Ni no Kuni movie, which premiers on August 29 in Japan.

Hino didn’t give many details beyond that, unfortunately, but did comment on how Level-5 is currently reviewing its development process, according to Dualshockers. Level-5’s recent  projects, Yo-kai Watch 4 and Inazuma Eleven Ares no Tenbin, were both delayed. In the interview, Hino implied that Level-5 is aiming to regain the trust of its fanbase after these delays.

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Stranger Things: The 10 Best ’80s References

Stranger Things Season 3 will debut on Netflix on July 4th, and so we’re counting down to its launch this week with a new story each day about the beloved series. Today, we get nostalgic for that crazy time known as the ’80s!

We’re feeling sentimental — not just for Stranger Things’ first two seasons, but for the halcyon 1980s Stephen King meets Steven Spielberg inspired universe in which the series takes place. The show’s creators, The Duffer Bros., were born in 1984 and, like all good Gen-Xers, are obsessed with the pop culture of their childhoods, directing modern audiences to look to the 1980s as the glory days for a thriving pop horror environment that we may never have again. They achieve this by jamming Stranger Things full of innumerable pop culture references, both obvious and subtle, to things they likely grew up with.

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Spider-Man: Far From Home’s Elementals Explained

A number of surprises concern the new web-slinging MCU film, Spider-Man: Far From Home, which debuts on July 4 with returning star Tom Holland. Not least is the fact that – at least initially – Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio (get the full story on Mysterio right here) may very well be an ally and not an antagonist (a situation that may evolve during the film, of course). But as for the villains we do know about, Spidey is called in by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to help out against a little group known in the comics as… the Elementals.

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How Apex Legends’ Daily And Weekly Challenges Work

Respawn Entertainment has detailed the Apex Legends Season 2 Battle Pass challenge system. On the game’s website lead product manager Lee Horn said the implementation “should allow for significantly greater Battle Pass progress with less grind over less time for players who return on a regular basis and maximize their challenge resets.”

Challenges for Apex Legends will be split into two types: daily and weekly, and completing them will contribute towards leveling up your Battle Pass. To minimize the grind, Respawn has said over half of the challenges will grant a Battle Pass level. The rest of the challenges will grant the player Stars which, when combined with match experience points, will work towards fulfilling a repeatable weekly challenge that also gives the player a full Battle Pass level with each completion. Importantly, Horn notes that Stars are XP specific to the Battle Pass and don’t impact account level progression.

Daily challenges come in the form of three tasks chosen randomly from a pool of 200. Examples include “deal 200 Damage in Bunker” and play one game as Lifeline.” They are designed to be achievable in short sessions and award 3,000 Stars each.

There will be seven weekly challenges and these are intended to be completed over several play sessions. They range from “get 20 Kills as Gibraltar, Bangalore, or Mirage” to “loot 100 Epic items.” Four of these weekly challenges award 6,000 Stars each and three grant an entire Battle Pass level upon completion. If you get a Battle Pass part-way through the season, challenges from previous weeks will also be accessible to latecomers.

On top of those, there will be three additional challenges that reset every week. This special set is the same every week and will refresh whether they are completed or not, as they relate to overall challenge progress. Take a look at a list of them below:

  • Complete five Daily Challenges: Rewards one Battle Pass level
  • Complete 10 Daily Challenges: Rewards one Battle Pass level Earn 9,000 Stars and/or match XP: Rewards one Battle Pass level
    • This quest may be repeated an unlimited number of times each week.
    • Each completion increases the Stars and/or match XP required for the next by 9,000, up to a maximum of 54,000. You need 9,000 for the first level, 18,000 for the second level, etc. This challenge resets to 9,000 each week.

Apex Legends Season 2 is set to begin on July 2 and, along with the new challenge system, there will be a new character: Wattson, the daughter of the man who built the Kings Canyon arena.

King’s Canyon will have several of its landmarks destroyed, as strange creatures instigate a change in the map. Titanfall 2’s L-Star is also being added as a Legendary Gold energy-based weapon, randomly dropping in Supply Drops like the Kraber and Mastiff. There are plenty of other Apex Legends Season 2 changes on the way, so fans of the battle royale game have lots to look forward to.

Enter for a Chance to Win a Tera Summer Fun 2019 Pack and Collectible

Welcome to Daily Win, our way of giving back to the IGN community. To thank our awesome audience, we’re giving away a new game each day to one lucky winner. Be sure to check every day to enter in each new giveaway.

Today we’re giving away a Tera Summer Fun Pack and Steampunk Elin Collector’s Statue. To enter into this sweepstake, fill out the form below. You must be at least 18 years old and a legal U.S. resident to enter. Today’s sweepstake will end at 11:59 p.m. PDT. Entries entered after this time will not be considered.


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Stranger Things: Season 3 Spoiler Free Premiere Review

This is a spoiler-free review for the Stranger Things Season 3 premiere, titled “Suzie, Do You Copy?” All 8 episodes will be available to binge on Netflix on Thursday, July 4, 2019. If you need a refresher, be sure to check out our Stranger Things Season 2 Ending Explained

It’s been an agonizing year and a half since we were last in the imaginative world of Stranger Things, and a lot has changed for both the characters and the small town of Hawkins, Indiana. For one thing, the kids are older, and with that particular change comes a level of maturity, which gives the Season 3 premiere – titled “Suzie, Do You Copy?” – a darker tone and a more complex narrative that’s refreshing to watch. Creators Matt and Ross Duffer wisely focus their creative attention on how the passage of time has affected our favorite characters, relegating the Upside Down stuff to the fringes… For now.

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AEW Fyter Fest PPV Final Results And Review: Jon Moxley Vs. Joey Janela Was Brutal

Winner: Riho pins Rose at 13:02

Chris: Yuka Sakazaki is winning me over for the same reason Kylie Rae did. I love happiness. No, seriously. They’re so joyful. I’m still convinced Nyla is going to break her, though. Riho too, for that matter.

I’ve realized AEW loves the zooming in from the back of the arena camera shot in its production. While I don’t blame them, because it looks great, it’s used so often and so randomly that it is starting to lose some of that cool. While that’s not a critique of this match, it was used here while nothing was happening in the ring, so there was nothing to zoom into, a move I found odd.

As for the story here, it’s similar to Nyla’s match as Double or Nothing where the smaller women worked to keep Rose and Awesome Kong on the outside while they westled their match. I understand why, as Nyla is a believable monster of a talent that should just bulldoze these two. But I was so happy when they finally worked her back into the match and she did some bumping for the two smaller women before throwing her brute force around. Simply sidelining Nyla isn’t a good enough use of her talent and after Double or Nothing, I felt like we were missing out on what she was truly capable of.

As with Daniel vs. Cima, I also have to commend the blend of styles in this match. Nyla, against all odds, mixed in with the Japanese style of wrestling well and even had her own top rope highspot. But let’s talk about that ending. I don’t agree with it. That’s the second show in a row where Nyla has come up short and he even ate the pin in this one.

The finish was well-orchestrated, but building up Nyla is a beast should be a priority right now. At least, that’s how I view it.


Mat: I think I picked Riho to win, but Yuka is my favorite out of this group. When those two shook hands before the match, it made me the happiest, like when the Best Friends hug. Also, AEW hates putting any filler between matches, so I’m scrambling to write this and get the next match ready on-site.

I like the blend of the smaller Japanese style, with lots of quickness and unbelievable moves, alongside Nyla Rose, who is a beast. I do feel there were a few times where these styles clashed and Nyla couldn’t keep up with Riho and Yuka though. Nyla needs to be in the ring with Awesome Kong. I’m dying for that match. Anyway, with a match like this, I’m looking for a specific moment, and that’s when the two smaller wrestlers take on the behemoth. We got that, it was satisfying, and it’s almost the backbone of the match. Riho and Yuka team up against Nyla, then fight each other. That’s great in-ring storytelling.

I love, love, love the finish here. It took me completely by surprise, as I didn’t see Riho getting Nyla with the roll-up. Yes, that’s two losses in a row for Nyla, and I’m not exceptionally keen on that, but I do love that AEW is really highlighting the Japanese women here.