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Netflix Series - Stranger Things 3 - July 4, 2019

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Adam Lenhardt, Mar 2, 2018.

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Should Will Byers get a break in Season 3?

  1. Yes! The poor boy has been through enough.

    80.0%
  2. No! Suffering gives Will Byers's existence meaning.

    20.0%
  1. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    Just finished episode four, so I'm at the halfway point. The third and fourth episodes definitely upped the pacing and upped the stakes.

    One thing that this show does better than just about any other is introducing new main characters midstream and having them work as well as the OGs. Last season, Max was integrated pretty seamlessly, and this season Robin is introduced pretty seamlessly. I love Maya Hawke in this role. Until this point, all of the kids had either been Mike and Eleven's age or Steve and Nancy's age. Robin is somewhere in between, a year or two younger than Steven but a couple years older than Dustin.

    Lucas's little sister Erica, who was such a sassy little shit in her couple of appearances last season, is even more of a sassy little shit in her expanded role this season. But very entertainingly so.

    One thing I love about the science mysteries in this show is that it takes everybody out of their bullshit and brings out their better natures. It's like being a little kid again, when learning was fun. The egos and self-consciousness take a back seat. Even though the threats look like something out of The Thing or some other science horror movie every scene, it actually leads to more innocent storytelling.

    With regard to the threat this season:
    As suspected, the wisp of the Mind Flayer that was inside Will got trapped in our dimension when Eleven closed the gate. It is recruiting an army, Invasion of the Body Snatchers-style.

    Separately, but perhaps not completely unconnected, the Soviets are mounting some sort of operation in Hawkins. They were behind the development of the new Starcourt Mall, and have an massive underground facility underneath the mall. In parallels with current real world events, the corrupt mayor of Hawkins is in league with the Russians, doing their bidding in exchange for secret payoffs.

    Somewhat ironically, given that one of the smaller story threads this season is how all of the chain stores in the mall have killed off most of the mom and pop businesses in Hawkins's downtown, the Internet has killed off most of the malls.

    When it came time to shoot this season, there were a few different vacant or nearly vacant malls in the vincinty of Stranger Things's sound stages in the Atlanta metro area. The production chose the Gwinnett Place Mall in Duluth, Georgia, because it opened in 1984 -- only a year before the Starcourt Mall opened in the chronology of the show. Most of the anchor stores had closed, and there were only a few stores still in business, so the show was able to rent half the mall. The production design team redressed the storefronts on that wing of the mall to reflect popular chains from the time, with the authentic signage from the period. All of the food court locations were sets.
     
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  2. Tino

    Tino Executive Producer
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    I’m halfway thru too. Loving it.
     
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  3. George_W_K

    George_W_K Screenwriter

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    I couldn't stop, I watched it all in one sitting yesterday. I thought it was excellent all the way through.
     
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  4. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I watched the first episode and felt absolutely nothing. I didn’t really have fun watching the second season and I only moderately enjoyed the first. I think I’m going to bail rather than watch it out of obligation. Hope you guys enjoy it :)
     
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  5. Tino

    Tino Executive Producer
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    Yeah. Not for you. Maybe you should try Game Of Thrones. ;)
     
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  6. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    Just finished the season. Damn, that was a satisfying finale. Even though it started slow, I think this might have been the best season yet. Every single storyline was firing on all cylinders. And the finale took some really big swings, some of which I expect will be undone shortly into "Stranger Things 4", and other of which will have more lasting consequences.

    I loved the brighter summer aesthetic, and how that didn't prevent the show from being absolutely terrifying at times. I loved how the characters were allowed to grow and change so not a one of them was the same as when we met them. I love how world-ending crises bring out the best in our protagonists, and I love how they recognize that in each other. I love how, while some characters move into the foreground and others into the background with each new season, everyone gets at least one moment to shine, even as the number of characters has grown significantly from season to season.

    With regard to the finale specifically:
    I loved how it didn't deliver what we wanted, but what it delivered instead was deeper.

    I loved how Eleven saved the day not with her powers, but with her humanity. She couldn't save Billy's life, but she could find the humanity in him and save his soul, so that arguably the most contemptible character of the last two seasons get a hero's death that feels well-earned and emotional. I loved the complexity of Max's emotions toward Billy, who has resented her and been awful to her, but who also gave her rides to the arcade and who is, at the end of the day, family.

    I loved that Hopper was ultimately content to sacrifice himself to save Eleven, the person he loves most in this world. And I loved that he gave Joyce his permission, so that the weight of turning those keys was a just a little bit easier to bear. On a macro level, it was really important that after two seasons where everything fell on Eleven's shoulders, the adults stepped up to protect the children this time around.

    I loved Hopper's letter to Eleven, and how it started as Joyce's rehearsed psychobabble and turned into something genuine, straight from his heart, and exactly what Eleven needed from him when he wasn't there to give her a hug:

    “I know you’re getting older. Growing. Changing. And I guess if I’m being really honest, that’s what scares me. I don’t want things to change. So I think maybe that’s why I came in here. To stop that change. To turn back the clock. To make things go back to how they were.

    But I know that’s naive. That’s just not how life works. It’s moving, always moving, whether you like it or not. And yeah, sometimes that’s painful. Sometimes it’s sad. And sometimes it’s surprising. Happy.

    You know what? Keep on growing up, kid, don’t let me stop you. Make mistakes, learn from ‘em, and when life hurts you—because it will (echoing Karen here)—remember the hurt. The hurt is good. It means you’re out of that cave.

    But please, if you don’t mind, for the sake of your poor old Dad, keep the door open three inches.”

    Damned if that wasn't the message of this finale in a nutshell.

    I loved that Joyce and Eleven share a grief over Hopper, and that Joyce took Eleven in. The two supernatural children of Hawkins, Indiana living under one roof.

    I loved that Joyce decided to pack up and move away with Jonathan, Will, and Eleven. I hate that the gang is being broken up, but given the events of the last three seasons it's the only responsible decision for an adult who knows what Joyce knows to make.

    I loved the U.S. Army swooping in riding helicopters, Dr. Sam Owens leading the charge. There is something very comforting about Paul Reiser's performance in that role.

    I loved the ironclad friendship between Steve and Robin. And that Robin coming out to him didn't damage their relationship. Think how scary it must have been to come out in the eighties, at the height of the AIDS crisis, with the so-called "moral majority" railing about homosexuality with a high-profile national platform. But Steve's reaction was perfect. His reaction will make her life going forward better. And it cemented their bond. By the scene in the video store at the end, they've got each other's backs completely.

    I loved that Suzie was real, and not the proverbial girlfriend from Canada. And I love that the fate of the world rested on the theme song to The NeverEnding Story.

    I loved that Karen though about cheating on Ted, but ultimately didn't. And I loved that Ted, while basically being a boring sack of dough in human form, had a couple moments to show why Karen stuck with him in the first place. He went on the ferris wheel and the spaceship even though he doesn't like rides. And he's a good dad to Holly, even though we've never seen him be anything but clueless with Nancy and Mike.

    Other thoughts:
    • If they decide to go to five seasons instead of four, I hope they pull a Halloween 3 and bring in a completely different threat for season four. Save the final confrontation with the Mind Flayer for the the final season.
    • I don't think Hopper is actually dead. Two reasons: 1) Peter Gabriel's cover of "Heroes" was used when they pulled the fake corpse of Will Byers out of the quarry, and I think it's signaling the same misdirect here. 2) In the post-credits scene, the Soviet guard at the gulag said, "Not the American." I'm guessing Hopper is the American.
     
  7. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    :D
     
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  8. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Lead Actor

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    Wow, I can't believe many people are finished already. I only watched episode 1 last night (was out for 4th of July). I liked the first episode, which is clearly all set up. I like that they spent time with these characters to see where they are and what they have been doing since we last saw them. The stuff in the beginning with the Russians opening the gate (not a spoiler, literally the first scene) is classic 80s movie bad guy stuff. I'm going to take my time, probably over the next week, and enjoy these eight episodes. BTW, terrific soundtrack in this episode.

    BTW, I still look at programs like this as a TV show, which is one reason I like to take my time with them. Watching 8 hours in a day or two would make it feel like a very, very long movie IMO.
     
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  9. Josh Dial

    Josh Dial Producer

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    I really enjoyed season 3. In fact, I think it was the strongest season so far. The plots naturally evolved and seamlessly (and satisfyingly) flowed into each other. There were only a few moments that didn't really hold together for me. The only drags to the story continue to be the Jonathan and Nancy stuff.

    I liked all of the new additions to the cast/team. Maya Hawke is a legit star. Sadie Sink completely justifies her addition in season 2 by dominating most of her scenes. Millie Bobby Brown continues to be great. Even Winona Ryder--whom I found to be a complete dud in the first two seasons--has finally turned it around. Unfortunately, Charlie Heaton is still just a bad actor (and it's too bad this is paired with a poorly written character).
     
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  10. Wayne_j

    Wayne_j Cinematographer

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    I loved this season, definitely #1 or #2 in the series. Season 2 is definitely the worst, but I still enjoyed it.
     
  11. Richard V

    Richard V Cinematographer

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    Best Season yet. For sure, deepest.
     
  12. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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  13. Greg.K

    Greg.K Screenwriter

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    Finished it last night. I am not sure I'd rate it the best season, but it's at least right up there with the first. 1985 is perhaps my favorite years of the 80s nostalgia-wise and so it hit all the right notes there, too.

    Bring on season 4 & some 1986 nostalgia! Top Gun, Aliens, Ferris Bueller...

    Though maybe ease up a bit on the product placement, next time, Coke - yeah, we get it. 1985, New Coke, New Coke everywhere in every episode, with labels displayed just so each time, even an extended bit with the
    the kids teasing Lucas for liking the stuff.
    Drink Coke!
     
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  14. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Lead Actor
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    From what I heard, Netflix never charged Coca-Cola to include the "New Coke" stuff. Is it really product placement to display a product that isn't available and that advertising monies haven't been paid out for? As a caveat, Coke, apparently, plans to make a limited run of "New Coke", so maybe they think the placement of "New Coke" cans in this series will entice some viewers to try the stuff.
     
  15. Greg.K

    Greg.K Screenwriter

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    https://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/new-coke-and-netflix-take-viewers-back-to-1985-for-stranger-things
     
  16. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    Finished episodes 3 and 4 last night. Things are really rocking now!
     
  17. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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  18. Tino

    Tino Executive Producer
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    Just finished season three. Loved it.

    Terrific. So on the money when it comes to nailing that 1985 vibe. Everything clicked this season. Story, performances, visual effects, Music etc. The Duffer Bros know their stuff.

    Terrific growth for all the characters who are young adults now and not children anymore. Can’t wait to see where they go with Stranger Things 4.:)
     
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  19. Tino

    Tino Executive Producer
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    Oh yeah and
    Hopper is definitely alive. First rule when you kill a beloved character is to show their death. Since they didn’t he is 100% alive and is the American in Russia.
     
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  20. Scott McGillivray

    Scott McGillivray Supporting Actor

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    I enjoyed the first couple of episodes. So fun getting to see so many likeable characters again just hanging out. You know the characters are great if they can be doing "normal" stuff and it is still fun to watch.

    Now, that being said, I immediately had concerns with the shockingly bad introduction of Jake Busey and his co-workers. What is up with that? Why make them behave SO over-the-top? I cannot blame the actors as the writers and director clearly guided that. It is so jarring and ridiculous to have a group stand out like that. Then they follow it up with another campy and out of place character in Erica. I mean, it is just awful. I do not blame the actor as again it is clear that she is written and directed to be like that. However, she stands out like she is from a different show or something. Just awful.

    I have two episodes to go and am sad to say that it will be a struggle if the quality keeps dropping like this.
     

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