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Stranger Things has turned into a series that we have been eagerly awaiting the next season since the first day it entered our lives. We can say that Show leaves behind its bravest and strongest season. Our friends who live 40 years behind us will be with us for one more season and then go. All the cast grew up before our eyes. And some of them have become so popular in the past six years that they can no longer fit into Stranger Things. We can say that the series, which brought many future stars such as Millie Bobby Brown and Sadie Sink, has come this far pretty well. It is not easy to keep the audience’s excitement alive by advancing on the same theme for four seasons. While many TV series lost their excitement even in their second season, Stranger Things managed to grow and become a trend with each passing season. The biggest reason for this is that as the seasons progressed, it left behind the nostalgic foundations of the first day we met and turned into a more sci-fi-focused series. This transformation occurred not only as a story but also as a character. In this article, I will explain how Stranger Things changed in 4 seasons and the details that made the fourth season successful. But first, the subject…

Although Eleven starts a brand new life away from her lover Mike from scratch, her past never allows her to lead a peaceful life. The army becomes suspicious of Eleven when strangeness begins again in Hawkins, resulting in deaths. However, Eleven, who doesn’t even have the power anymore, tries to escape from the army and regain her powers, while Hawkins’ youths go after a new and perhaps final boss that causes deaths.

When Stranger Things first started in 2016, it was viral because it reminded us of the unique taste of the 80s. The series, which tells the story of nerdy teenagers preparing for the future in a small town, was adorned with references from the period, each more special than the other and that enthusiasts like me would savagely catch. From cinema to music, it was a show that combined the classic themes of the era with science fiction. And sci-fi was one of the main themes of the 80s. The series was successful when the essential elements of the period were told through young and excited kids. However, as the seasons progressed, the series left this retro theme aside and grew like the children. Easy to say it’s been 6 years. Those little kids turned into enormous individuals. There is no trace of the first day; as a result, it was not possible for the series to still maintain its childlike air.

After all, the series has clearly told us that it has changed by processing this idea within itself. In the following season through Will Byers, the series said that none of them were children anymore and that the subject was changing for this reason throughout the whole season. As the seasons progressed, the series abandoned its nostalgic mood and became a more sci-fi-oriented horror story. We can say that the fourth season was the bravest season of this story. Children have grown well now, separated from their families and faced with the realities of being adults. They couldn’t stay with D&D as Will wanted. Instead, they had to collide with the harsh realities of life.

The fourth season was a season where all the past seasons were connected, and we had the chance to meet the only person who was the reason for everything that happened: Harry, or thy name is, Vecna. At the same time, the season in which we had the chance to learn about Eleven’s past has now put all the puzzle pieces together. So we finally got to the big picture. After that, nothing will remain in the name of retro. We will only see a post-apocalyptic Hawkins and a great war. The team confirms what I have already said by saying, “the chaos from now on.” It will be a much more glorious and much louder season, and maybe we will say goodbye to some of the main characters this time. Although, one way or another, we will be saying goodbye to all of them in the last season. At least knowing that they survived will help us end the Show happily.

Stranger Things managed to keep the audience warm and curious by using this change correctly in the fourth season. This season has also increased the graphic details. The new side story Russia and the reverse world enhanced all the bloody scenes. Even though the first season has been a series where death has been around, the fourth season has been the season that most strongly reflects the wild face of the reverse world. The increase in graphic details parallels the series’s growth and the change of themes. The Show is no longer childish but has a seriousness that will appeal to adults.

Of course, the series did not wholly abandon its retro references. Eddie’s Halloween mask while escaping, the acutely Mordor reference, the actually existing Hellfire Club, the Vecna ​​and Freddy Krueger similarities, the Silence of the Lambs scene, Dustin carrying a Ghostbuster bag, Max listening to a Kate Bush song, and many more details have not escaped the notice of enthusiasts like me. In fact, Kate Bush’s popularization again thanks to the series and its entry into the top charts on Spotify proves how strong and loved the series is. Likewise, if Master of Puppets is now close to the top 10 in Spotify USA Top 50, it is thanks to the series. I want to focus specifically on the scene where Eddie plays Master of Puppets because the Show took place in March 1986. Master of Puppets is an album released on March 3, 1986. It was impossible for someone like Eddie to miss such a masterpiece. However, even though it hasn’t been too long, Eddie’s perfect playing of such a difficult song proves what a good guitarist he actually is.

However, it is obvious that the fourth season is not a reference bombardment like the first season. Instead, the series now focuses more on the characters’ actions and emotions. One of the most essential character changes belongs to Will. We have also officially seen Will’s hidden love for Mike, who indirectly said that he is actually gay with Alan Turing, whom he chose as his hero in the first episode. And as I understand, this change will be more on-screen because it seems he will be the main character of the last season.

To sum it up… Stranger Things’ fourth season, unlike other seasons, was more daring and far from the romantic details. The Show made the preparations for a farewell by connecting the remaining 3 seasons and showing what will happen in the last season. Along with the growing characters, its story also grew, became more serious, and turned into an adventure that could turn into children’s fearful dreams. It’s no longer a nerdy teen story of the 80s; it’s turned into a survival story. By moving away from romance and increasing its seriousness, the series again managed to fascinate its viewers. It is not a job for everyone to be able to move forward without cutting pace for four seasons. I hope that in 2024, we will close this adventure correctly and with the most minor damage.

Valerii Ege Deshevykh
Ukrainian Creative Director | Motion Picture Writer | Horror Freak

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