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Catching up with Stranger Things S4 (yes, we have some feels)

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Catching up with Stranger Things S4 (yes, we have some feels)

Enlarge (credit: Netflix)

Stranger Things came back from a pandemic-driven three-year hiatus stronger than ever with an ambitious supersized fourth season—so much so that Netflix released it in two parts. Part 1 had a few minor flaws, particular in the earlier episodes, but quickly gained dramatic momentum. The cliffhanger ending deftly set the stage for the epic final two episodes, which featured a visually stunning, nail-biting battle against the denizens of the Upside Down—and some of the most emotionally resonant moments in the series to date. It's been two weeks since Part 2 dropped—the perfect time to talk about the many highs and occasional lows of this latest season.

(WARNING! Some very major spoilers below the galleries in the interest of in-depth analysis.)

Ratings-wise, this was the series' best season yet, drawing so many viewers when Part 2 dropped over Fourth of July weekend that Netflix actually crashed at one point. S4 Part 1 dominated the Nielsen streaming charts for four straight weeks, and that dominance is expected to continue once Nielsen releases its numbers for the two super-sized finale episodes. (There's usually about a month's delay for streaming platform viewership.) Part 1 also received 13 Emmy nominations. Seven years after it debuted, Stranger Things is more popular than ever, even launching two old '80s tunes back onto the charts after they were featured prominently this season.

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