The most recent season of Stranger Things was released all the way back in the summer of 2019, which, at this point, seems like an entirely different era in human history. With a fourth season now set to arrive next month, Netflix has found itself needing to both make us care about the show again and remember what happened in it by any means necessary.
To do so, it’s decided to get a bunch of different animation teams together to show us what various moments from the show’s past would look like if the Hawkins kids were made from ink and paper.
Stranger Morning Cartoons includes six shorts that recreate scenes from the series in animation. There’s a season one recap (RIP Barb) by Blind Pig and another clip showing Hopper and Eleven descending to the laboratory portal in season two by Will Barras and Hush London. There’s also a collaboration between Hush and Claudia Brugnaletti that depicts Will shifting dimensions in an arcade from that same season’s opening episode, and Hopper writing a letter to—and reliving memories of his time with—Eleven by Humouring The Fates. (This last studio created an earlier homage to Stranger Things in 2019 that reimagined it as an ‘80s anime series.)
Our favorites are the bike chase animated by Smog and the ice cream shop scene by Pedro “Sugar Blood” Allevato, which both lean into the expressiveness of animation with fantastic, distinct art styles.
The video doesn’t exactly function as a thorough refresher to help viewers catch up on where the show left off almost three years ago, but it does serve as a reminder of some of the series’ better scenes.
As a nice side-effect, the animated format also helps soften the inevitable weirdness that’s about to come when we see the show’s kids—little babies when they last dressed up in ‘80s cosplay—turn up for the last stretch of the series with full heads of grey hair and crow’s feet. At least now our most recent memories of the characters when the new season starts will be as as age- and time-defying cartoons.
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