Stranger Things 2 review: What the critics are saying

Credit: Stranger Things - Jackson Lee Davis - Netflix
Credit: Stranger Things - Jackson Lee Davis - Netflix /

Before you watch the nine new episodes, check out what the critics are saying in our Stranger Things 2 review roundup. Spoiler: It’s very good.

Next: Stranger Things 2 preview

Stranger Things 2 premieres on Netflix on Friday, Oct. 27 with nine new episodes and four new cast members. The episode count is up one from the first season and the new characters Sadie, Billy, Bob Newby and Dr. Owens should provide some added intrigue and play off of our returning characters well. The hype for Stranger Things 2 is so much more intense than the first season. That’s easy to explain considering the first season came out of nowhere as a mid-July release that captivated the imaginations of viewers and served as a throwback to classic 80s movies like The Goonies, Stand By Me, Nightmare on Elm Street and Alien, among others.

The first season was nominated for 18 Emmys, winning five, and expectations are just as high for the new batch of episodes we’ve only seen snippets of from a series of trailers and teasers. We haven’t seen any screeners of the series so we’ll be watching with the rest of the fans when it’s released at 3:00 a.m. on Friday morning. But there have been a few luck TV critics from various outlets who have seen the nine new episodes to provide their reviews.

We can’t recommend the show enough and we know if you’re a fan, you’re already planning to binge-watch this weekend. But for those of you wondering if the sequel series can compare to the ground-breaking first season, let’s see what the critics are saying about Stranger Things 2. Below you’ll find snippets and links to the Stranger Things 2 reviews from some of the most-trusted critics.

Stranger Things 2 Review: What the critics are saying

Alan Sepinwall – Uproxx

"“Not all sequels live up to the original; this one does better than I ever would have imagined. The show itself couldn’t possibly sneak up on me a second time; how entertaining it continues to be absolutely did.”"

Daniel Fienberg – The Hollywood Reporter

"“Stranger Things 2 is quite good and, if your expectations are in check, largely satisfying. The Duffer brothers fall into very few traps of self-importance or self-awareness, and they deliver a second season with an expanded assortment of ’80s influences, an expanded cast of instantly embraceable characters and some expanded Stranger Things mythology without the bloat that inevitably dooms sequels.”"

Allison Keene – Collider

"“It’s rare for a TV series to come out of the gate as self-assured and as well-received as Stranger Things did, and even rarer for it to be able to maintain that into a second season. But somehow, The Duffer Brothers have again managed to wield their particular alchemy and create a follow-up worthy of the hype created by its predecessor. Stranger Things is not reinventing television, but it does once again provide a highly entertaining, extremely bingeable, and even surprisingly heartwarming viewing experience.”"

Kelly Lawler – USA Today

"“The new season is often more engrossing and tense than the first, and veers much further into the horror genre. There’s a noticeable uptick in jump-scares, and the threat of death is more palpable.”"

Maureen Ryan – Variety

"“There are missteps in the second season, many of them revolving around thin or unfortunate writing for some of the new characters. But once you get past the clunky first few installments — which largely restate much of what occurred last season and set up plot points that were easily inferred from the trailers — the drama’s momentum picks up noticeably.”"

Julia Alexander – Polygon

"“Stranger Things 2 grapples with trying to remain faithful to its predecessor season, as a linear TV series needs to do, while also reimagining itself as separate spiritual successor. The writers have imprisoned themselves in this self-imposed labyrinth that, for the most part, they manage to navigate around successfully, adding to the complex storyline. When they do stray from the path, however, and attempt to introduce a secular arc that doesn’t fit within the confines the Duffer brothers created, that’s when Stranger Things 2 fails.”"

Richard Lawson – Vanity Fair

"“Stranger Things 2 is still engaging throughout. Though the early-mid-80s world of the series is perhaps a bit too over-articulated this season, things still look good, all earth-toned, autumnal, and wistful, in their way. The plot involving the older kids, played winsomely by Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, and an underused Joe Keery, is sweet and satisfying, a good continuation of a narrative from the first season that doesn’t rely too heavily on the clichés of its characters.”"

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For the most part, the critics weren’t overly critical. I think the concerns about the show living up to the hype and following a sequel strategy vs. a completely new season are valid. That’s one of my biggest questions entering the new episodes. Overall, the critics enjoyed the nine new episodes, which should mean fans fall in love all over again considering.