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Eleven tries to adjust to SoCal life in underwhelming Stranger Things S4 teaser

The fourth season of Stranger Things will debut on Netflix in 2022.

It’s Stranger Things Day, marking the anniversary of Will Byers’ mysterious disappearance  (on November 6, 1983) in S1 of the hugely popular Netflix series. The streaming giant is marking the occasion with the release of yet another teaser for S4—and it’s frankly a bit underwhelming.

Netflix has been trickling out teasers for S4 over the last year or so, and tonally, they’ve been all over the place. For instance, the teaser that appeared in May was classic Stranger Things, ominously hinting at the return of Eleven ‘s (Millie Bobby Brown) childhood tormenter and “Papa,” Dr. Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine). Brenner was supposedly killed by the Demogorgon in S1, but there have been mentions of his possible survival. We already knew that David Harbour will be returning as Hopper, along with the rest of the main cast: Winona Ryder, Finn Wolfhard, Natalia Dyer, Noah Schnapp, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, Caleb McLaughlin, and Sadie Sink.

We also know it will be the first season to take place largely outside of Hawkins, since Eleven and the Byers have moved away, and Hopper seems to be imprisoned by the Russians. Maya Thurman-Hawke returns as Robin, Brett Gelman will be back as Murray Bauman, Cara Buono returns as the Wheeler matriarch, and we’ll be seeing more of Priah Ferguson, who plays Lucas’ sassy younger sister, Erica. Among the new cast members is Robert Englund of Nightmare on Elm Street fame, which is a nice little link to classic ’80s horror.

Another teaser dropped in September during the Netlix Tudum global fan event. It was markedly different in tone, generating some major Scooby Doo vibes with its 50s-era flashback to a mysterious tragedy at Creed House, followed by a quick cut to the Hawkins gang exploring the now-abandoned house. The final shot featured a ticking grandfather clock, switching to the same clock ticking in the Upside Down. Creed House is thus probably connected somehow to prior seasons.

This new teaser takes yet another completely different tack, seemingly channeling 1980s high school films. We open with Eleven writing a cheery letter to Mike describing her supposedly rosy new life in California, 185 days after moving there with the Byers. She swears she’s finally adapted, likes school, and has made lots of friends—all of which is a lie. At least she’ll get to see Mike during the upcoming Spring Break. But we know better than to think it will be “the best Spring Break ever,” and the glimpses we get of gunmen invading the Byers house, the car chases, and explosions bear that out. Those are interspersed with 1980s roller rink scenes and some pretty disastrous haircuts for the Stranger Things gang, Eleven included.

Honestly, at this point, I still have no idea what this fourth season is about, or even what it’s going to look like (or feel like). The fourth season of Stranger Things lands on Netflix sometime next year, so there’s still time for the Duffer Brothers to communicate some kind of cohesive vision for S4. But this trailer isn’t it.

Listing image by YouTube/Netflix

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