I took a month off from pretty much everything, work included. Helpful for mental clarity and overall health.

I did spend a fair chunk of time in FF14, with a goal of getting a bunch of alt jobs up to 50, and getting some more to 90. Island Sanctuary and a bunch of other unlocks too. It’s enjoyable. Cleaning out the bags and sorting some stuff around gave me 7m gil too, so no complaints.

This particular post is more of a mental note on Netflix’s penchant for cancelling shows on cliffhangers. More specifically when an action moves from meme to reality. It would appear that cancellations are based on completion rates, not hours watched. So less people watching, but for longer stretches. If people aren’t watching episode 8, then why make a 2nd season? In the isolated space, this does make sense. But nothing is isolated.

For years now, Netflix has cancelled multiple series that fans enjoyed and provided zero context as to why (still don’t). Nature abhors a vacuum, so people have all sorts of ideas why. Standard cable cancellations are extremely black and white… the ratings are poor.

Netflix has conditioned people to do 2 things: binge watch, and expect something “good” to be cancelled. Combined, this results in people not bothering with a series until it is well established… at least the 3rd season, before binging the entire thing. I’ll raise my hand that I’ve done this. Something looks interesting, and the first/second episodes are ok, but I don’t want to bother for something that is going to be axed.

The binging part is also not helpful, because the peaks are so high and short. In the olden days, a season would end, you’d have a couple months, maybe a year to wait, and the new season would start. Stranger Things is interesting because the gap between seasons was 1.5 to nearly 3 years. Compared to something like the Boys, where the time between the final episode and first of the new season is around a year. It’s a very weird system where a show gets cancelled the first week or 2 after launch, rather than allowing it to be digested.

I’ve reached the point now where a good 90% of Netflix series are of no interest to me, because the time investment just isn’t worth it (Archive 81 is a good example). Honestly, the only reason I still have it is because the kids get to watch cable series that have been ported.

Hoping that the numbers Netflix collects can be coloured with the behaviors they’ve instilled on their client base.


I love Dark. Without hesitation it’s the best representation of time travel I have ever seen, and one of the best sci-fi series ever. It closes every single loop and thread with focus. It is a LOT to digest the first time through, especially since it’s in German, but it also sets a seriously high bar for any future series.

1899 is a new series from the same writer/producer group from Dark, and takes a similar mystery-box approach to storytelling. The general plot is about a group of strangers on a steamliner heading from Europe to New York, each trying to escape some event. A main point is that a sister ship in the line was lost at sea 4 months ago, and quickly in the first episode that ship is found.

The characters are varied, with multiple layers, and multiple languages. I think Netflix made a mistake in the “default” run for this series as dubs are an absolutely horrible way to listen to this series. I’ll offend a few people here, but if you need dubs to understand what’s going on, this series is absolutely not for you. It’s a really important part that the characters don’t all speak the same language, and that gap is a plot point. I will say that one of the challenges here is that there’s a lack of empathy with the main character and that there’s a tad more exposition here than I would normally enjoy.

Where Dark had an absolutely astounding soundtrack, 1899 suffers from remakes of classic rock songs that really focus on the anachronistic aspects of the show. It’s sufficiently eerie during the main parts of the story, it’s the bookends that aren’t as good. Heck, I still listen to the Dark soundtrack because it’s so effective at getting the paranoia across. In this series it feels distracting.4

The plot itself is complex, without getting into large spoilers. There’s a gradual slow reveal of bits that just feel off, and that builds in pace over time. It takes a while to tell what is real and what is imagined in any psychological themed series, and 1899 doesn’t break that particular mold much. With only 8 episodes, the mystery box is opened by the end of episode 5. The last 3 episodes are almost horror sci-fi in peeling away the layers of this box.

I enjoyed the first season, even with high expectations set by Dark. I’m still amazed that series like this are even greenlit in the first place. Happy that we can get content that requires the viewer’s attention!

What’s really tough here is that 1899 compares poorly to Andor in terms of writing/production, which is horrible timing in the streaming wars. If you take the step back and look solely at what Netflix is able to support in terms of series, 1899 comes out way above the rest. Resident Evil, Archive 81, Locke and Key, Warrior Nun, even Sandman compare poorly to what’s presented here. I am hopeful we get a 2nd and 3rd season to close out 1899. Though with Netflix, it feels like a throw of the dice.

The Mystery of Star Wars

The season finale of Andor came out Wednesday. Superb. Just an amazing all around story, with absolutely stand out performances, writing, music, cinematography and weight. I’ve been thinking a lot about why this series is good, and I’ve got ideas.

First though, there are “blocks” of content, if not better articulated as “eras”.

  • The original trilogy
  • The Expanded Universe
  • Prequel trilogy
  • Clone Wars
  • Sequel Trilogy
  • The Disney Universe

The beauty of the original series is that it dealt much more with the mystical, the portions that were not shown on screen. The final arc of a large and mysterious world. You remember the characters much more than the action.

The expanded universe was largely inaccessible to the public. Unless you were a super fan, Thrawn means nothing to you. Mara Jade even less. These books/comics focused primarily on the recesses of the universe, and there was some insane junk delivered in those years. There’s a reason that all of this was retconned when Disney bought it…a right mess with some minor bright spots.

KOTOR decided to just ignore every movie and most of the EU to time travel to the “wizards everywhere” phase. The best parts of here are not related to the Jedi, but the power struggles and lore of the Sith, as well as the overall good/bad aspects of the universe. Understanding why Revan took his path is truly amazing.

The prequel trilogy is quite bad, with a few exceptions. It’s a spectacle for the eyes, no doubt, and the stunt work is practically a dance. And the pod race never disappoints. Yet the writing is atrocious and the editing even worse. Midichlorians are a ridiculous addition to the mystery, and by the end you’re actively rooting for the Jedi Council to be wiped out due to ineptitude. The need to explain everything in logical terms goes counter to reason people liked Star Wars in the first place – fantasy.

Clone Wars provided a medium to tell the hidden stories of the world, which effectively became Expanded Universe part 2. It’s somewhat ironic that the Anakin character in these stories had more complexity than the films, given the budget and attention. This is pure fanfic and goes to great lengths to focus on the characters rather than the events. You could tell this was led by passion.

The sequel trilogy is a pure money grab, and a reskin of the original trilogy. The Force Awakens is a bad attempt at remaking A New Hope and skipping all the bits that made you invested in Luke and the rebellion. Then again, it’s set up as a mystery box from a director known for mystery boxes – you want to know what comes next, not so much what’s going on now. The Last Jedi feels like an alternate cut of an existing movie, more to prove a point about how the universe keeps moving and how insignificant the rest of the stories are. It’s a movie of extremes, purposefully testing assumptions. Rise of Skywalker is like Marvel’s Avengers but with Star Wars paint – where you simply have to put your brain in a drawer and let the spectacle go forth. The teleporting lightsaber still makes me want to vomit.

The Disney Universe is much more complex. Rogue One is fascinating because for the most part you can’t really tell it’s a Star Wars movie. It focuses on the little people doing big things and paying a tremendous price for it. Solo didn’t work because it was telling a story no one really wanted to hear, about a character everyone thought they knew, with details that removed the mystery surrounding them. Obi-Wan barely passes the bar here because the same actor played the role, but it’s fundamentally flawed for the same reason as Solo. Mandalorian works because it’s not about things we know about, and goes to great lengths to not explain things, letting the practical and logical story just flow. Star Wars is the setting, not the purpose (with some exceptions). Andor is very similar, in that the story isn’t so much about him, but the people around him. People will remember the Ferrix brick because it’s not a prop, but a believable part of that world’s culture. It’s focused on the people and the reality of their actions – not on some hand waving space wizard.

I’m hopeful that we can get more grounded stories from the Star Wars universe, where the threat is ever present due to their size, not their magic sticks. Where a person can try their best and still fail. Where the bad guys are hard to tell from the good. Guess we’ll see.


I like Star Wars. I used to love it, back in the Extended Universe days (c’mon, Thrawn!). The prequels were a really hard sell, and the sequels are a just painful to watch. Clone Wars was amazing. Mandalorian hit the perfect itch because it went to great lengths to show what the world looked like without Jedi. I saw a couple episode of Book of Bobba Fett, wasn’t for me. Obi-Wan is all about Ewan McGregor, but it’s a story I just can’t care about.

Back when Star Wars Galaxies was around, way before NGE, the Jedi were next to impossible to find. KOTOR’s success had little to do with the actual Jedi character, but with the companions and world building around you (HK-47 is infinitely more interesting than Bastilla).

The problem is fundamentally with the Jedi and both their wilful ignorance and complete inability to solve anything without their magic sticks and super jumps. Jedi were cool when it was just Obi-Wan and Yoda, and you had no idea what was going on. It was the mystery and mysticism that made it work. I won’t lie that the Battle of Naboo with Darth Maul was cool as all heck, but apparently Force Speed only works when Jedi are being shot at.

I am full up on Star Wars now. I could care less about Skywalker. So color me jaded when I heard about Andor, yet another Star Wars series to fill in another retro-active gap. He’s dead Jim! What kind of story can be told when you know there are no stakes at hand?

Well, it seems that you can tell an extremely good story. One that is lead by a crazy good cast, ridiculously amazing writing, music that is better than most movies, and a villain you can empathize with. Andor in any other setting would be amazing, in line with any noir sci-fi you can name. It tells a story of the middle folk in a galactic war, the organizers without any real power but searching for answers. The light show at the end of episode 6 is something that will stick with me for years.

I still like Star Wars. Perhaps if we can get more Andor and less The Rise of Skywalker, I may love it again………

Successful Series

This post is brought to you by the news that Henry Cavill is leaving the Witcher after season 3. Liam Hemsworth will take over. Right.

There are many factors that make a successful series. Casting is a huge part of it, where the actors need to demonstrate both chemistry between the characters and be able to deliver their own character. We’ve seen ample examples of great actors who don’t like the role for a set of reasons. Writing is also a big part, where the larger storyline and then individual components fit together with some sense of logic. Jumping the shark is a real thing. And we can’t forget the overall leadership of the series, where there’s a vision and structure to help tell a storyline. Budget is the last piece – unless you’re looking for a B-movie view, you need to invest in some regard. When all 4 are missing, you get something like Jupiter’s Legacy.

Comic books were next to impossible to adapt until CGI/effects were able to catch up to reality. We’re talking complex and integrated storylines that span decades, a veritable treasure trove of ideas. And over the years we’ve had varying levels of success in these spaces – Teen Titans Go is one of my favorite examples of setting being used for parody. Things like Smallville lead us to Green Arrow and the Flash. Agents of SHIELD is a result of the Avengers movie. Gotham hit some solid notes. The Boys is just an insane series that was already insane in comic book form.

Where that was successful, series based on books has been less so. Books are rarely based on dialogue, and the context is the real driver. For every HBO Dune series, we get something like The Sword of Truth that follows. They are notoriously hard to adapt into a visual format, because they never were visual to start with. I mean, Superman in yellow, with a hat, just doesn’t work. There’s no effective reference point. Heck, the Rings of Power series had to apply Peter Jackson’s visual style because there’s just no other visual reference point. And the stories themselves are told over hundreds if not thousands of pages. A character may only have minor progress in a book, but TV series need something, and they need it NOW.

Game of Thrones is a really good example of this, for a multitude of reasons. The initial launch was based on a solid set of novels, with great casting and writing with direction. When they moved beyond the books, the overall vision was lost, and the ending was clearly rushed, with the actors having stopped caring in the end.

The Witcher is slightly different in that it’s both a series of stories in books AND a video game series. Both have the same foundation and concepts, though there are certainly more liberties taken in the games. Fundamentally, it’s a retelling of Frankenstein, where the real monsters are the humans.

Henry Cavill is a self-avowed geek. He nearly lost out on Superman due to a WoW addiction. He’s built his own gaming PCs. And he’s a HUGE advocate for the Witcher being made in visual form. And it helps that the guy actually looks like Geralt.

As the story goes, he put in a lot of effort to convince execs that a Witcher series could work. The first season was a bit over the map, with Geralt being more of a grunter than a speaker… where in the books/games here’s certainly more talkative. Season 2 was really weird, with some excellent stories and then baffling choices. And during this time Henry was in the media explaining how he was trying to defend the books while ensuring the writing team put out good content. That is a conflict of interest if ever, and certainly can’t make for a good work environment.

So here we are now. The greatest advocate for the series is moving on. With rumors that the disagreements on direction of the series as the cause. And with respect to Liam Hemsworth set to replace, there’s not much hope that this will get past season 4, if that season even comes to pass.

What a strange set of events.

Rings of Power

I’ve watched this in fits and spurts over the last while, the last 2 episodes back to back. I will continue to look back at the Peter Jackson trilogy being a near masterpiece, in both the art of filmmaking but in making the material accessible. It’s not possible to read Lord of the Rings once and understand what’s going on, it’s just too dense. The supplementary material to expand the lore is borderline the foundation to all fantasy that has come since.

LotR works because it’s a complex story that starts as a unified adventure, splits in the middle, and ties loose ends back together at the end, with both A and B plots being of near equal weight. This is my main gripe with Stranger Things as compared to The Boys, and ironically, the main issue with the Hobbit trilogy – the storylines are extremely weak and generally circular/meaningless. While not every story needs to have character growth, the A plot certain needs it.

Rings of Power has some big pacing issues, and most stem from a fundamental issue with the fact that elves are immortal. Now immortal is a word that we cannot comprehend in itself, it needs to be compared. In the lore, most of the elves are 10,000 years+ old. Dwarves live around 250 years. Humans rarely exceed 70, unless they are Numenorean (and then it’s weird). A year for us is the equivalent of 1 day for someone that’s 10,000 years old. Now, how many of us have undergone tremendous transformation in a day? It’s like comparing a human to a fruit fly.

Rings of Power focuses almost exclusively on the creation of the 3 rings of elvish power (A), with some setup of Numenor (B) and the first steps of Mordor (C). There’s a D storyline, but if you skipped the entirety of it, you wouldn’t even notice (and may be saner for it). The concept of time is difficult to manage in this storyline. GoT had more than enough example of people zooming across vast distances in hours, where for practical purposes it would be weeks if not months. For those timeframes to make sense, each of the A/B/C storylines has substantially different timeframes. A seemingly takes place over years, B over months, and C over perhaps a week. A never intersects with C, and B is used to bridge the other two.

The challenge here is that A is mostly a meaningless storyline, aside from exposition. The line is pitched as a Moby Dick approach to hunting Sauron, and the final 15 minutes are about that reveal and then completely ignoring it. Wow.

The B storyline also has no real progress or exploration as to why Numenor is the way it is. The books treat it as an Atlantis, where greed of the gods came with punishment. In this story, it’s about xenophobia, without any justification. And then a character turn which makes little sense.

The C storyline is the most interesting, in the elvish oversight of a human settlement in the southlands. There’s a weird love story here that doesn’t really work, but the human resistance and origins of the orcs is relatively well done. This is also the only storyline that has any true character development, where the decisions don’t appear driven by plot. Further than the smaller events that occur at the start are related to the final outcome.

Overall, if you’re a LotR fan, then you’re likely to get something out of the series, if only in the various call outs and interpretations. For the rest of people, I don’t see how this will work long term without some better writing and editing. Which is truly a shame, because this setting is an absolutely fascinating one.

Black Adam

Or the gap between critics and audiences.

Marvel movies are pure cookie cutter. You know exactly what you’re going to get when you see it start. The recipe has certainly evolved since Iron Man first came about, but it’s a clear and consistent experience. It’s a recipe that works (not withstanding how insanely intertwined the stories are now).

DC is not like that. The Batman Nolan trilogy is I guess the kick-off, but some would argue Man of Steel. Either works. Now think about the movies we’ve seen so far and how different they are. Justice League, Aquaman, Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn, The Batman… all of them share a common universe, but that’s pretty much it. This has produced some very different movies, with some impressive highs (The Batman is a joy) and some terrible lows (Justice League). You never quite know what you’re going to get when you sit down to watch one.

Black Adam is a weird movie, for numerous reasons. Which continues the DCU trend.

Black Adam, as a character, has been positioned as an anti-hero for years. He is fiercely protective of his country, going to extreme means to keep them safe from harm, making him their champion. Think Doctor Doom and Latvia. His methods are anathema to the golden age of superheroes, where the ends justify the means. In his mind, criminals have made their choice and the consequences are severe. In a sense, it’s Superman if he decided to be the arm of justice – ironically, the Injustice series is all about this. DCU has tried multiple times to present nuanced heroes… that has rarely worked out. They come off as goofy rather than gray.

The film also unveils the Justice Society (I know…) with Hawkman, Dr Fate, Cyclone, and Atom Smasher all trying to stop Black Adam for “reasons” and commanded by Waller. I’d like to say that this somehow makes sense, but it truly does not. The film’s entire setup is that Black Adam is a hero, and then this squad comes out of nowhere to attack him. It’s like the important part was edited out. Also, Cyclone and Atom Smasher are woefully underused. Hawkman is solid. Dr Fate is a weird one… but given his comics background understandable. I still think it works.

Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam is just a wall of muscle. Holy cripes. It’s insane how physically dominating he is on screen. As a character, he doesn’t develop in any meaningful sense, but he’s also not just “The Rock in a superhero suit”. I am glad to report that he doesn’t smile and has quite a few sarcastic quips throughout. Minus a few head scratching scenes, his character checks all the boxes and is fun to watch. Like stupidly fun to watch. His throne scene at the end is a nice touch.

I won’t talk about the villain aside to say that it’s really not good. Like Ares not-good.

This won’t be popular, but my largest gripe here is the young actor put in a position to be the heart of the film. He’s meant to be the grounding part, where we can relate to the larger stakes and storyline. It is a critical role and for whatever reason, it just doesn’t work like it should. One scene in particular near the end feels like a B movie, completely un-earned. I am not sure if this is the writing or the editing. Maybe it should have been split between multiple characters, or the character had some vested interest in the stakes. They just end up being a plot device.

The end result is a mechanically challenging film, but a fun popcorn flick. The sum greatly exceeds the parts, and there is no denying the sheer joy of watching a human the size of Dwayne Johnson be a superhero. As much fun here as watching Arnold in Conan. It helps tremendously that the movie slate right now is a hot mess of nothing, giving this film time to make an impact. It’s a fun watch, and right at this moment, I think we can all appreciate that distraction.

The Sandman – Netflix

“Unfilmable” is thrown around a fair chunk, in particular for written media that isn’t action-focused, or dialogue-driven. Cerebral material can be a true challenge to translate. Dune(1984) vs Dune (2021) is a good example of how different approaches can lead to vastly different results. With a good team, almost anything can be filmed now-days.

The Sandman is an older comic from the late 80s to mid 90s, covering 75 issues. Neil Gaiman is one of those authors where I just seem to click, and this series can be seen as foundational work to pretty much everything that he made since. Prose-driven, with anthropomorphic representations of states of mind, with a strong application of fantasy horror. I read a few of the comics when I was younger, and they were just enthralling because they were so different. This is when Infinity War was the big deal! Long-form comics are making a resurgence now, yet the stage was set back with The Sandman.

Netflix has recently launched their series on the first two storylines from the comics (of at least 12 main storylines, depending on your view). It is thick and slow, just like the comics. Some scenes are just disturbing in their construct (ep. 5 in particular) where humanity is laid bare. The protagonist is not exactly endearing, as he naturally lacks humanity, making for some interesting moral/ethical points of view. Empathy isn’t the point here, it’s the pure logical construct behind pure purpose, and then the means to achieve it.

The writing is solid, the art design fantastical, and the actors representing the Endless all do an admirable job. Boyd Holbrook is a standout, but not for the right reasons. He plays the same type of character here as he has in other media. It feels like a mis-cast as his character is by far the most nuanced and beyond the actor’s range – we need to sympathize and it just doesn’t work. It is important to note that the British/American divide is clear as day in this series, a staple of Gaiman’s work. It’s anti-bombastic and intellectual…

I enjoyed it, and I think it strikes the best possible balance of translating the comics to video format. I’d be more than interested in seeing more. Now, knowing Netflix, I am expecting a note about this series being cancelled sometime next week.

The Marvel Issue

Comics, at their core, are serials. They are chapters of a larger story. In the golden and silver age, these chapters were usually self-contained within a given series (e.g. Fantastic 4 storyline was only in Fantastic 4 comics). This made it harder for new series to launch, as cross-overs were harder to coordinate. In the 80s this started to change, and there were large cross-over events, like the infinity saga. To understand all the bits and bobs, you needed to buy multiple comics series in a given month. Since these events were contained, it felt special.

Then the 90s, and the quest for more money. Cross-over events continued and came with an overall increase in sales. So what would any greedy person do? Make more cross-over events! Marvel was notorious for this, where it seemed impossible to read a Marvel comic without having to buy 4 other issues. And then they came up with the idea of special covers for the comics, meaning collectors had to buy 4 or more copies of the exact same issue to get all the covers.

This has multiple impacts.

  • Cross-over storylines were getting near impossible to follow, more like a giant conspiracy theory to track.
  • The storylines lacked focus/closure because the “good content” was being spread across 4+ issues a month.
  • Some of the links in storylines were made after publication. You’d pick up a comic and be confused as it referenced something that happened in a different series
  • Market saturation generated a “bubble” effect, where people bough comics for their resale value rather than their story. This made supply a challenge, and people couldn’t follow the story if their local store couldn’t stock shelves.
  • All bubbles pop. The market crashed and Marvel took the biggest hit (Atari vibes here).

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is following this same pattern, and doubling down on it.

The original Iron Man and Avengers had a clear linear structure and you knew that something else was coming. To watch a sequel, it was good to watch the first one (e.g. Iron Man 2 was better if you watched Iron Man). This all came to a head with the Avengers saga with it having links, but not dependencies, on the other films in the MCU (Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, Spider-Man, Dr Strange, Thor). Fine enough.

What happened next is the what I like to call the Disney effect, or as we know it, the quest for more money. Disney+ launched and with it the next phase of the MCU. Every piece of content released since then is directly tied to the Infinity Saga, either interstitially, or as a consequence. Wanda Vision was an amazing series (with a horrid ending), but it is also mandatory viewing to make any sense of the recent Doctor Strange film (Spider-Man 3 is more than useful too). What we have in this phase is non-stop cross over events, where superheroes in one series are impacting another.

We’re in the storyline fatigue phase, where you need a Disney+ subscription to watch an 8 hour film (cut into 8 pieces) whose sole purpose is to prologue another film, which is a prologue for yet another film. For a Disney+ series, you can stop it, go and see what’s needed first, and then get back to it. A movie though, the experience is diminished because you’re confused. When the last Infinity film came out, Wanda was good and intelligent. Why is she “crazy” in Dr Strange? What actually happened in No Way Home aside from setting up the multiverse (and a confusing link to Venom)?

There’s market saturation, similar to the “dystopian teen sci-fi” crazy of the mid 00’s. MCU is making some really poor decisions if they want this to somehow be sustainable, repeating the same mistakes Marvel made in the 90s. Hopefully they can return to independent storylines, and keep the cross-over events as special occasions.

Stranger Things 4 – Eps 8 +9

Good but too long. Some spoilers.

I had mentioned in my The Boys review that it’s important to treat each episode like it has value. Stranger Things has become a good example, with Episode 8 being 90 minutes and Episode 9 being 150 minutes of plenty of filler. We’re not in Dragon Ball Z territory here, but man…

Now, when the stuff actually happens, it’s as good as any 80s horror homage can be. There are plenty of great scenes to pick from, with Eddie’s guitar shredding masterpiece being a true standout. It just takes forever to get to these pieces, with dialogue that should have happened miles ago.

Episode 8 is called Papa, and well, it deals with the guy that has no empathy. It takes 90 minutes to reach a point of catharsis, and El’s helicopter attack/scream is impressive to behold. MBB is an impressive actress, though that’s mostly when she isn’t talking. But after 4 episodes of being in this mess, it reminds me too much of Lost’s season 3, where there was a writer’s strike and everyone was stuck in a cage for half the season.

Episode 9 was the final attack on Vecna. You know that horrible 80s horror trend where you would should at the TV “don’t go in there / do that” ? This episode is full of such moments, things that stand in stark contrast to the rest of the series. The total lack of urgency in anything here (except Eddie + Dustin) is infuriating. I won’t spoil much here, but the horror sports jock is there to stall for 10 minutes while having done nothing for hours, and then just gets wiped off screen. Sadie Sink (Max) still stands out here above all the others, in being able to convey actual emotion and character progress.

After an entire season, Mike had 3 minutes, Will spends the entire season afraid to say that he’s gay, Lucas finds out that being popular isn’t worth it, Hopper’s storyline didn’t go anywhere (but I will give a hand to Murray’s arc), Jonathan has a 2 minute scene, and Steve… well Steve is still the most interesting bro-dad on TV today.

Vecna, while a very interesting character, is a weird one as all the prior seasons had rather human antagonists, with a shadowy upside down as a threat. He’s impressively well acted, but spends an inordinate amount of time explaining things and gloating, just like a James Bond villain. That he still wins, feels kinda good in that regard, as it turns the tropes on their head.

This season had some standout moments, but it simply took way too long to get to them. Tighter scripts and better editing would have helped a ton to get a meaningful story across. 9 episodes, and 14 hours of content needs some work. Maybe we’ll see a fan edit of all this so that it comes down to a more respectable 45 minutes per episode (or less).

Season 5 is an interesting prospect. It’s clearly the end game of the larger arc. My guess says we’re going to fall into Stephen King honors next, with Hawkins turning into a replica of Derry, Maine. The whole multi-dimensional bit was explored at length, and The Dark Tower could use an on-screen analogy.

Stranger Things 4 is still a decent watch, and it won’t get cancelled by Netflix until it’s all wrapped up. And, there really isn’t much else out there that’s comparable. Backhanded praise, I know. It has so much good stuff in it, just a shame you have to get through the muck to get to it.