Yes, you read that correctly. After teasing us with a commercial about the Starcourt Mall, Stranger Things’ much-anticipated third season won’t air this fall. It’s been pushed to the summer of 2019 instead. That’s the second worst thing Netflix could tell a Stranger Things fan. (The worst thing they could do is tell us the show is cancelled, which it’s not.) I was devastated after I heard this news about the push. Now that I’ve taken a day to regroup and gather my thoughts, I decided to poke around and find out exactly why Netflix would pull such a boneheaded move. What I discovered chilled me to the bone, and should concern other serious Stranger Things fans.
What Happened to Stranger Things, Season Three
The third season will air during the summer of 2019, a full year from now. According to Netflix programming executive Cindy Holland, this delay will allow the streaming service provider to make the upcoming season “bigger and better.” Although Holland didn’t get into specifics, rumor has it that season three will have more specials effects and additional filming locations. The announcement came shortly after Netflix released this now-iconic Starcourt Mall teaser trailer for the show’s third season:
Bigger Isn’t Always Better, Netflix!
Do you remember Stranger Things, season two? It opened with a group of miscreants being chased by Chicago police. The group’s leader, a woman named Kali (Linnea Berthelsen), used her psychic powers to escape the cops. Near the end of this scene, Kali is shown to have the number 008 tattooed on her wrist, much like Eleven’s (Millie Bobby Brown) 011. This marked the beginning of a sub-plot of the show’s second season. It was one in which Eleven learns that there are others out there who were subjected to Martin Brenner’s (Matthew Modine) evil experiments.
While some viewers might have found this sub-plot exciting, I considered it a huge distraction. I was more interested in the goings on in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana. Why? Because Stranger Things is on homage to the sci-fi films of the 1980s. Movies such as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and The Goonies were built upon a concept of adventure and childlike wonderment happening within the confines of small town America. Eleven’s side-adventure on the big, bad streets of Chicago was a distraction that did little more than kill time and muddy the waters.
Will Stranger Things Fans Forget Their Favorite Series?
This show is big, but it’s not too big to fail. Decision to delay the third season could hurt Stranger Things in a big way. There are so many great series to stream these days, and not all of them are on Netflix. The delay could create an out-of-sight-out-of-mind effect for some viewers. By the time next summer rolls around, some of these folks might have overcome their “Stranger Things fever” and move on to something else. Others might simply decide to quit watching because they were upset over the delay. Stranger things have happened. (Yeah, I couldn’t resist.)
The summer is another reason why this delay could end up harming the franchise. Not everyone wants to be glued to the TV during this time of the year. For example, after our long and grueling winters, many Michiganders want to spend time outdoors. Fun activities such as trips to the pool and family barbecues are more enticing than being cooped up indoors. While diehard fans like me will binge watch the show next summer, not everyone will. I think that season three’s ratings will bear this out. (You heard it here first.)
Netflix Should Reward Stranger Things Fans
There’s nothing us fans can do to stop Netflix’s delay of season three. (The bird has flown on that one, as Mrs. Buckler would say.) What we can do is demand more from Netflix and show creators Matt and Ross Duffer. The Starcourt Mall promo was cute, but that shouldn’t be the only teaser that they toss us. Now that we know about the delay, we deserve some things to tide us over until next summer. Here are two things the Duffer brothers could do to keep our collective appetite whetted until the official release of season three:
Release more teaser trailers between now and next summer. There has to be more than just the mall. We have absolutely no hint about what type of monsters, creatures, and villains our team will be fighting. We already know that Netflix’s Stranger Things trailer game is strong, so this isn’t too much to ask for, really. Plus, Netflix should want to do this to keep viewers engaged and anticipating the delayed third season.
Create and release mini web episodes. Back when The Walking Dead was still a thing, AMC created small web episodes that fans could watch on the network’s official website. These short vignettes didn’t involve main characters, but the content tied in to the show’s overall storyline. Matt and Ross Duffer are no strangers to this. As writers for Fox’s Wayward Pines, they likely penned some or all of that show’s popular web episodes. They should have no problem cranking out some webisodes that involve other Hawkins residents.
Do Something, Duffer Brothers!
Netflix and the Duffer brothers are very creative folks. I’m sure there are other things they could do to keep Stranger Things fans plugged in. They should, too. Hardcore fans like me aren’t the only ones who watch this show. Others simply tune in because of all the hype, but don’t always connect with the show on a deeper level. These fair-weather fans are the ones Netflix is likely to lose between now and the season three premiere… unless something is done to keep them engaged. Again, the only way we’ll know whether my dire predictions come true is the ratings. If they dip too deeply, we might face a worst case scenario of the show only lasting three seasons. Too bad we have to wait a year for it instead of just a few months. Thanks, Netflix!