I like Stranger Issues as a lot as the subsequent nerd, however this new launch schedule feels, properly… a little bit bizarre. Listed below are the small print; the pentultimate fourth season of Stranger Issues will encompass 9 episodes cut up up into two ‘Volumes’ with a month’s wait in between. In line with the Netflix press launch, the primary seven episodes of Quantity 1 shall be accessible on Could twenty seventh. The final two episodes, entitled Quantity 2, shall be launched on July 1.
There’s a little bit bit extra; no less than three of those episodes are anticipated to be extraordinarily lengthy. Episodes 7 (in Quantity 1), 8, and 9 are throughout or above the 90-minute mark. The finale is reported at almost two and a half hours. All three of those episodes are mainly the size of a function movie, and even the sooner episodes in Quantity 1 are rumored to be “supersized” per the Duffer Brothers’ letter posted on Netflix.
Do I feel the Duffer Brothers are good at their jobs and know what they’re doing? Sure, usually talking. However this appears like a capital-G Gimmick to maintain followers concerned so long as attainable and to increase their visibility over a month as an alternative of a weekend, as usually occurs with Netflix-produced tv. This doesn’t really feel like tv, it appears like one other franchise’s cinematic universe… and possibly that’s what they need to have executed within the first place. Simply make two or three films and name it a season. However recently it doesn’t really feel like anyone’s saying no to the Duffer Brothers… or their price range.
Whereas all three seasons of Stranger Issues have been critically well-received, I do know that I personally struggled by way of the final season. It felt just like the 80s-inspired nostalgia had lastly been pushed so far as it might go, with out lots of power to bolster it alongside. To not point out the story appeared sluggish, missing lots of the character-driven urgency of the earlier seasons. Remembering how a lot of a slog a few of these regular-sized episodes felt like, the announcement of those extra-long episodes doesn’t excite me in any respect.
I perceive why they’re doing it; Netflix’s reveals usually do properly for a weekend, probably every week, after which their viewership–and the press–drops off dramatically as folks what need to watch the present rush to marathon it over the course of the weekend, hoping to keep away from spoilers or being overwhelmed to the hot-take punch on twitter. Splitting a season up into two elements, with a month in between, permits extra followers to get began with the fourth season with out feeling just like the ending has already been spoiled on-line. The five-week wait between the beginning and finish of the season additionally lets new followers atone for previous seasons earlier than the finale, provides the Duffer Brothers time for an prolonged press tour, and provides ample room for folks to invest wildly–probably inviting extra viewers into the Stranger Issues fandom–which might be essentially the most precious a part of any tv sequence.
Let’s take, for instance, Misplaced. The smash-hit thriller field TV present first aired in 2004, when streaming was nonetheless a factor of the longer term, and each week folks bought extra clues, tales, and inquiries to unravel. There have been boards and fanboards devoted to wild hypothesis and theorizing, and season finales recurrently spurred on watch events. What many individuals beloved about Misplaced was the chance to attempt to determine it out, getting extra info each week. It stays cited as among the finest tv reveals ever.
This is in huge contrast to Stranger Things. After the first season, Season 2 and Season 3 benefitted from a years’ worth of speculation, but the impact of any episode, individually speaking, was relatively insignificant to the theorizing that took the whole season into account. Each season drop was a big event, and then the excitement simmered on the backburner until the next season started teasing its cast, posters, and trailers. Now, with five weeks built into the release schedule between Volumes, I have to ask… why not just release Stranger Things weekly?
Netflix has resisted this format for a long time, but with Arcane’s multi-episode bloc release schedule, it felt like something was turning around. This announcement, however, makes it seem like Netflix is experimenting with ways to stay in the nerd-news cycle for as long as possible, rather than delivering a cohesive and exciting television experience. So instead of a more formulaic television series, we’re getting a series of films that are being described as television, simply because they exist in the same Volume. At what point, however, does streaming eliminate the difference between television and a cinematic universe?
This schedule feels like a lot of effort to circumvent a perfectly good weekly (or even bi-weekly) release schedule, which would achieve the same goals as this split release, allowing people time to speculate, invest, and set aside evenings to watch the show. If this split-release was the plan all along, why not release more episodes over more volumes? Why chonkify the medium, which is inherently meant for drop in-drop out viewing?
I know, I’m rehashing the same arguments that were brought to the table when Black Mirror introduced their 90-minute episodes. And whereas I do suppose there’s some distinction between a story tv sequence and an anthology sequence, I received’t harp an excessive amount of on the extrinsic definitions of tv as a medium–it’s not that fascinating of an argument, and fewer to my level, which is that I don’t suppose that Netflix wanted to provide three films to wrap up a tv sequence.
As streaming breaks down the variations and definitions of movie as a medium, I don’t need a longer sequence or extra episodes. Above all, I would like efficient, tight, cohesive storytelling supported by a enjoyable and thrilling fandom. I would like what the viewers of Misplaced had. For some time, I assumed Stranger Issues would ship… and for 2 seasons it sort-of did. However now? I’m disillusioned I’m not going to have the ability to simply dip out and in of a marathon watch of Season 4, that the Stranger Issues sequence has changed into a large franchise (full with comics, video video games, a Dungeons & Dragons tie-in, and novels), and that I’m going to have to listen to about Stranger Issues theories for 5 weeks with none new content material. I is perhaps alone right here, however I simply need to watch a tv sequence with out having to sit down by way of three films to do it.
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