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Stranger Things: How and where to watch the TV show & spinoffs in release and chronological order

Want to get started on watching Stranger Things? Here's how to do it!

Stranger Things Season 4
Image credit: Netflix

Do you ever get nostalgic for the ‘80s? A decade where you could spend hours with your friends doing nothing but riding bicycles? A decade where the arcade was the ultimate hangout, and Pac-Man was the king of video games? A decade where we hid from Demogorgons and other monsters from the Upside Down?

Wait, what?

If that last example confused you, then you haven’t experienced Stranger Things, Netflix’s critically acclaimed horror series. You’ve probably heard all the excitement surrounding the series and might be curious to see what all the fuss is about.

If this is you, then Popverse has you covered! This handy guide will tell you everything you need to know about Stranger Things, including how to watch the series in release and chronological order.

How to watch Stranger Things in release order

Stranger Things season 4
Image credit: Netflix

Although Stranger Things is set primarily set decades ago in the '80s, the show itself is only a few years old. To watch the show as the creators intended is pretty straight forward.

That's with Stranger Things season 5 to come soon, and several spinoffs and a stage show prequel in the works (more on that in a bit). Seems pretty straight-forward for now, right? Well... not so fast.

How to watch Stranger Things in chronological order

Stranger Things
Image credit: Courtesy Netflix

If you want to watch Stranger Things in chronological order, barring flashbacks, it’s the same as the release order. However, where do all the tie-in comic books and novels fit in? What about some of the major flashbacks? This comprehensive timeline will break down where everything fits.

Please note, some of the novels and comics don’t give exact chronological dates. In order to determine their placement, we’ve looked at contextual clues in the comics/novels themselves, pored through Reddit debates, and browsed the Stranger Things wiki. In some cases we’ve even looked at the color of the foliage in the comic books to figure out what time of year it was.

If there are any discrepancies in the timeline placement, we will edit this list. In the meantime, if you want to know how the Stranger Things media fits in with the show’s timeline, let’s break it down…

A Stranger Things animated series and a live-action spinoff are currently being developed for Netflix. At this time, it is unknown where these projects will fit in the overall timeline. However, we’ll continue to update this guide as we learn more.

Is Stranger Things season 5 coming out in 2024?

Stranger Things 4
Image credit: Netflix

There is currently no release date for Stranger Things season 5, but it’s likely to be sometime in late 2024. Why hasn’t it been released yet? Well, as of this writing (December 2023), the season hasn’t even begun filming yet! Filming was originally set to begin in June 2023, but series co-creators Matt and Ross Duffer decided to postpone production when the WGA Strike began. Once the SAG-AFTRA strike began, this further delayed the production of the season.

Now that both strikes are over, the producers and actors are ready to get back to work. According to industry websites, filming is expected to begin in Atlanta, Georgia in January 2024. Assuming the process goes smoothly, and post-production isn’t delayed, we should see Stranger Things season 4 sometime in later 2024.

Is Season 5 the last season of Stranger Things?

Stranger Things
Image credit: Courtesy Netflix

It’s true, the Stranger Things saga will conclude with season 5. In February 2022 series co-creators Ross and Matt Duffer released an open letter stating that season 5 would wrap up the series. “Seven years ago, we planned out the complete story arc for Stranger Things. At the time, we predicted the story would last four to five seasons. It proved too large to tell in four, but – as you’ll soon see for yourselves – we are now hurtling towards our finale. Season 4 will be the penultimate season; season 5 will be the last.”

If you’ve seen Stranger Things season 4, then you know how much of a roller coaster that was. I can’t wait to see what the Duffers have in mind for the final act.

Can I watch Stranger Things on anything other than Netflix?

Stranger Things
Image credit: Netflix

Are you looking to watch Stranger Things, but don’t have a Netflix subscription? No worries, there are other ways to watch the series. If you like owning physical media, Stranger Things season 1 and 2 are available as DVD and Blu-Ray collections. There are currently no official home media releases for the later seasons, so don’t be fooled by the bootlegs that show up online. However, given the popularity of the series, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the later seasons get official releases down the line.

In the past, the series was also available to purchase or rent digitally from video-on-demand services like Vudu. However, a current look at Vudu’s website shows that this option is no longer available. This could change in the future depending on licensing agreements.

Stranger Things is a valuable commodity for Netflix, which is why the streaming service isn’t eager for viewers to watch the series on other platforms. Your best bet is using a Netflix subscription, even if it’s just for one month. Otherwise, my recommendation is waiting for the complete series to drop as a home media collection sometime after the show concludes.

Now you have everything you need to enjoy Stranger Things! Sit back, grab your remote, and watch out for the Mind Flayer!

Netflix's Stranger Things is headed to the stage with an original, official prequel

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