One hard-to-ignore element is the fact that the younger protagonists are noticeably much older than they were in series three, despite it only being set months later, an issue that was compounded by delays in production due to the pandemic. TV shows involving child actors who are visibly ageing and growing, regardless of the show’s own timeline, can quickly become imperilled by the implausibility of characters that look 13 going on 30. But in other respects, when it comes to its portrayal of its young characters’ lives, Stranger Things 4 feels authentic, with clever writing that highlights the kids’ naivety, and clothes you can actually imagine teenagers wearing (Euphoria, I’m looking at you).
Throughout these first six episodes given out for review, threads and storylines from previous series are coming together, finally giving fans some answers to long-asked questions about just what on Earth is going on. And with each episode in the series so far running between 62 and 77 minutes, and The Wrap reporting that the finale will be over two hours long, it could be a long slog – but thanks to zippy pacing, wild twists and great comic moments, it never drags. Each episode also reportedly cost an eye-watering $30 million to make, and it shows: the effects are impressive, and the sets are beautiful, elaborate time capsules.
Netflix has a habit of cancelling shows before they’ve had a chance to play out as they should, but given the phenomenal success of Stranger Things from the off, there was never any chance of that happening. But audience figures aside, could it also keep its quality and momentum going right up to the very end? Stranger things have happened.
Stranger Things 4 Vol 1 is released on 27 May, with Vol 2 coming on 1 July on Netflix
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