Every so often, when it suits them, the powers that be at Netflix see fit to break their otherwise impenetrable silence on streaming statistics and announce that one of their original films or series has hit some milestone or another. Stranger Things 3 is the latest title to receive that treatment, as the streamer announced Monday afternoon that 40.7 million “household accounts” have watched the sci-fi adventure series’ new episodes since they launched on July 4, setting a new high-water mark for a Netflix title in its first four days. 18.2 million of those accounts have finished the eight-episode season, they also noted.
As ever, this announcement comprises just enough information to sound vaguely impressive and reinforce the perceived popularity of a splashy Netflix title. To a fan of the show, it’s validating; to a skeptic, it’s maddening. What does the term “household accounts” mean? How much of the season did those household accounts have to actually watch in order to be counted? (Netflix has said previously that a show counts as being “watched” if a member finishes “at least 70% of one episode,” which … what?) Is the first four days an important time period for a new title, or did Netflix just pick the measure by which Stranger Things 3 was most impressive? With Bird Box, the record was seven days; with Murder Mystery, three. Does this stuff even mean anything? It’s like Netflix just builds goalposts around wherever the latest ball they kicked went.
Regardless, Stranger Things 3 is a success for the streamer just about any way you slice it. Critics haven’t exactly gone gaga for it, but the third season has a respectable Metascore of 72, indicating generally favorable reviews, and featured a whopping 75 product tie-ins, per Forbes, some of which were less smoothly incorporated than others (looking at you, New Coke), but all of which helped fill Netflix’s coffers. At this point, Stranger Things 4 looks all but inevitable.
Read our review of Stranger Things 3 here and see the latest trailer for the new season below.