Stranger Things

Updated: Jul 26

Stranger Things, the Netflix drama with three seasons so far, has had some big twists and scary moments. We compare which seasons were better.

Whenever the new season of a popular show premieres, fans ask one major question: Is the new batch of episodes better or worse than what came before? Sure, there's definitely something to be said for simply enjoying being entertained by a good show... but analyzing a TV series is part of the fun.

In the case of season three of Stranger Things, there are many new elements that were introduced that give the show new depth. But there are also some things from the previous two seasons that were really well done. Here are five reasons that the first and second seasons of Stranger Things were better, along with five reasons that the third season is the best.

(1) Seasons 1 & 2: Eleven's Backstory

By now, fans of Stranger Things know all about Eleven's telekinetic powers and that she can kick some real butt. The first two seasons of the Netflix drama delved into this character's backstory and told the tale of how she got to where she is today. From spending her childhood at Hawkins National Laboratory to meeting Hopper and eating waffles with him, Eleven has a really cool and fascinating past.

While it's fun to watch this character date Mike and become best friends with Max, it's easy to become nostalgic about watching the beginning of Eleven's journey to get to Hawkins and meet the rest of the gang.

(2) Season 3: The Mall

One reason why the third season of Stranger Things is so great is because of the new setting: the mall. Is there anything more 80s than a trip to the mall? (Rhetorical question.)

The addition of Starcourt Mall has changed the small town of Hawkins, Indiana in a few different ways. For one thing, the fact that people are now flocking over there means that tons of smaller businesses are shutting down, and Joyce isn't sure that she can stick around. And for another, the gang discovers that there are Russians literally underneath the mall and by the end of the season, the Mind Flayer is chasing them in that location as well. The location change is fun, refreshing, and brilliant.

(3) Seasons 1 & 2: Watching Will's Struggle

Poor Will. He can never seem to catch a break on Stranger Things. In the first season, we learn that the reason why he went missing is the Demogorgon stole him. He ends up in the Upside Down, a truly terrifying place, and then the Mind Flayer takes him over, too.

In season three, Mike is upset that his friends are all pairing up as he still wants to play games together and be a kid. It's heartbreaking to watch this... but it felt like Will had a bigger role on the show in the first and second seasons. It was definitely more interesting to watch him struggle with the sci-fi elements of the series.

(4) Season 3: The Monster Is Truly Scary

Sure, you wouldn't exactly want to be caught in the Upside Down, and no one envies Will's position. But The Mind Flayer is arguably a truly scary monster, and that elevates the third season of Stranger Things and makes it really, really good.

The scene in Starcourt Mall when everyone is trying to stay hidden from the monster is one of the series' greatest.

(5) Seasons 1 & 2: Nancy and Jonathan's Romantic Tension

By the third season, Nancy and Jonathan aren't getting along very well and for a while, it doesn't even seem like their relationship will go the distance.

This makes fans notalgic for the first two seasons of the series when these two had some serious romantic tension. In those earlier episodes, these two clearly cared about each other and it was obvious that they needed to start dating immediately. Now, their relationship feels dull and stale.

(6) Season 3: The New Friendships and Relationships

It was only a matter of time for the Stranger Things characters to start dating one another and falling in love, or in some cases, deepening their friendships. One reason why the third season of this series is the best is the new friendships and relationships.

It's a true joy to watch Eleven and Max become closer and really get one another. Max teaches Eleven how to be secure and that is really awesome. Of course, fans love Eleven and Mike's relationship, and Max and Lucas are really cute, too. It feels like the bonds of the first and second seasons are really paying off now, and the show's relationships are only getting stronger.

(7) Seasons 1 & 2: The Mystery Was Brand New

The first season of a TV series is often the most well done and the most fascinating to watch since everything is brand new. The same thing could be said of Stranger Things.

While the third season is excellent, the mystery felt fresher in the first two seasons since we weren't as used to the world of the Upside Down. Every little thing, from Barb going missing to Will's strange visions, was a really big deal. The show is still great, but it does feel like old hat that weird stuff happens in Hawkins.

(8) Season 3: Dustin's Love Story

No one believed Dustin when he swore that he had a girlfriend, Suzie... but the joke was on everyone else when she helped save the day (and when they sang together).

Dustin's love story is one of the best things about the third season and a big reason that this batch of episodes is the best. It's sweet to watch him fall in love for the first time and find someone who truly understands him.

(9) Seasons 1 & 2: Everyone Is Still In Hawkins

Now that Joyce, Will, Eleven, and Jonathan are moving away, one thing is clear: season four won't have everone living together in Hawkins.

The first two seasons are better than the third one because none of the characters were considering leaving Hawkins. It's heartbreaking to imagine everyone being split up, and it's hard to know how the series will handle the big move.

(10) Season 3: The Set-Up For Next Season Is More Interesting

It was clear that the end credits of the final episode of Stranger Things season three would be epic. It was also clear that this would set things up for the next season. Everyone is expecting there to be a fourth season, and since the show is so successful, it seems like this will definitely happen.

Now that we're not sure if Hopper is alive (and if he's "The American" that the Russians are talking about), it seems like season four is going to be even better. While the finales of seasons one and two were well done, nothing can compare to the questions that fans have now.


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