Look, we loved Stranger Things 2. At least, most of us did. But we also loved Star Wars and that doesn’t mean The Empire Strikes back wasn’t way better. So since the new season is still being written by The Duffer Brothers (and might not debut until 2019, as we discuss here), we have seven suggestions for how to make season 3 the best one yet.
- Ditch those new characters. Look, we get the impulse to add new characters (and we wouldn’t want to deny Lucas his newfound romance), but between Max’s nonstop fuming and her stepbrother Billy’s bullying, these two were the most frustrating part of season 2, and ultimately didn’t impact the story in any meaningful way (unless you count beating up Steve, and we don’t). Either reduce their roles while giving them a real point or have their family move someplace else between seasons.
- Keep the kids together more: Season 2’s best scene was the moment the gang reunited near the end of the season around a kitchen table to figure out a plan for tackling the Shadow Monster. That’s when we were reminded why we fell in love with the show in the first place.
- Keep investing in Steve and Dustin. Both were unexpected high points in season 2, with Steve becoming a surprisingly sympathetic “babysitter” and Dustin actor Gaten Matarazzo showing some terrific comic timing.
- Get the right number of episodes. Season 2 felt a bit like a seven-episode story stretched across nine episodes. We’re confident the Duffers’ will be more on target next time because Netflix notably did not announce an episode count for season 3 in advance — unlike last year when the company declared season 2 would be nine episodes before they were fully written.
- Remind us there are life and death stakes. Bob Newby was nice and all, and he had a horrifying death in season 2’s strongest episode, but the show hasn’t taken out anybody the audience actually cared about since Barb back near the start of season 1 — this despite everybody being in mortal peril half the time. Imagine how powerful the finale would have been if Joyce Byers had saved her son by taking the entity into herself, Exorcist-style, and perished at the end of season 2?
- Solve the Eleven problem. Why was Eleven kept off in her own adventure for nearly the entire second season? Because she’s so powerful that as soon as she finally reunites with her friends she can solve their whole problem. Eleven was originally supposed to die at the end of season 1 and — don’t hate us — but in some respects, it would have been better if she had because she’s a difficult character to mesh into a story that isn’t all about her. Maybe there’s a way for Eleven to lose her powers?
- Let’s never go to Chicago again. You know, that whole episode 7 thing?