We are just a few days away from volume one of season four of Netflix’s Stranger Things. And if the excitement over getting to return to Hawkins wasn’t enough, this past week, we learned just how much time we would be spending with the gang. The first volume alone, episodes one through seven, features a total runtime of 536 minutes, and volume two, which is just two episodes long, is a total of 235 minutes! Matt and Ross Duffer are here to deliver!

This isn’t the first time we have seen an episode exceed the typical hour mark. However, this is the first time that every episode of a season exceeds it and then some. The season four finale of Stranger Things comes really close to the length of The Batman. The Duffer Brothers have been very open about their journey to bring season four to life. They had a story they intended to tell and didn’t want to have to gut minor plotlines to appease length. They even requested the ninth episode to make sure they could fit everything.

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I won’t lie to you and say that it doesn’t feel like you are watching such long episodes. It certainly does. However, it is never in a bad way. The extended length allows for much more natural pacing and flow. None of the storylines, character interactions or events ever feel rushed. Another important thing to remember is that while we did see separate storylines through seasons one through three, they mostly all took place within Hawkins. However, season four expands well past the boundaries of Hawkins, giving us more to explore, which takes more time.

The ability to not be locked into a set amount of time for an episode has been a fantastic choice from a viewer’s standpoint when used wisely. Shows released on cable television are required to reach certain runtimes in order to fill in timeslots. This means that writers/directors/creators need to fill each episode and sometimes stories fit perfectly. But sometimes they either feel overly rushed or that it is filled with too much fluff. Being able to explore an episode without a time constraint gives them more creative freedom which in turn gives us a more fulfilling watch.

Max floating above a gravesite while Will, Steve and Dustin look on in horror.

Image courtesy of Netflix 2022.

The choice for Netflix to release Stranger Things season four in two volumes makes sense in a few ways. First, they know that die-hard fans will binge over 800 minutes of content in a single weekend. But there is always the chance that many will start the season and never end it. Having a break gives viewers time to watch the first half before the second drops. Second, this extends the overall life of Stranger Things season four. Binging seasons within the first weekend is a popular hobby, but viewership will start to deplete as the weeks go on. Knowing that we will have to wait to experience the end might have some viewers rethinking their watch process or have them rewatching it constantly until July.

Volume one of Stranger Things season four hits Netflix on May 27, 2022. Volume two will drop on July 1, 2022. Don’t let the runtime of season four keep you from enjoying this series. We highly suggest taking off the entire weekend to binge the series safely and excitingly. That means tons of fluids, regular bathroom breaks and plenty of moving around. And snacks. Don’t forget the snacks. Extra points if you go for a full 80s-themed banquet of KFC. How are you going to celebrate? Let us know in the comments below and on social media!

Here is a complete breakdown of episode length:

May 27, first seven episodes:

  • Episode 1 – 1 hour, 16 minutes
  • Episode 2 – 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Episode 3 – 1 hour, 3 minutes
  • Episode 4 – 1 hour, 17 minutes
  • Episode 5 – 1 hour, 14 minutes
  • Episode 6 – 1 hour, 13 minutes
  • Episode 7 – 1 hour 38 minutes

July 1, final two episodes:

  • Episode 8 – 1 hour, 25 minutes
  • Episode 9 – 2 hours, 30 minutes

 

TV Series Review: STRANGER THINGS Season 4 Volume 1

 

 

Julia Roth
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