“Stranger Things 2” hits Netflix Friday, but a few lucky critics got their hands on the entire second season early, and the reviews are pretty much like that of any sequel: It’s not as good as the first one.

The second season of the spooky drama picks up a year after the first. Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Will (Noah Schnapp) are hanging out at the local arcade in Hawkins, Indiana, but Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) is still missing. Details more specific than that aren’t allowed to be discussed, but the reviewers were able to share their opinions on the new season.

Critics seem to generally enjoy the second season, which Netflix has dubbed “Stranger Things 2” (like a movie sequel). They’re far less happy about having to call the new season “Stranger Things 2,” but that doesn’t seem to affect their enjoyment of the show. No one is panning the new episodes, but most, if not all, imply that the drama’s second outing could’ve been better.

The good news is that the cast is still top notch. After winning over viewers last year, that’s no surprise, but there are several new faces in Hawkins this year. Variety’s Maureen Ryan praised the performances of some of the new cast members, which include Brett Gelman, Paul Reiser and Sean Astin. However, not all new characters are created equal.

“Other new characters are far less successful, and one very uneven episode late in the season that features some of the new characters is full of exciting potential but ultimately feels like a missed opportunity. The problem with a show getting bigger is that some character arcs get smaller — and occasionally sloppier,” she wrote.

Stranger Things 2 reviews
The critics enjoyed “Stranger Things” Season 2, but they acknowledged that it has many flaws. Netflix

Uproxx’s Alan Sepinwall added that even viewers will likely find the plot that separates Eleven from the boys rather frustrating. “Given the importance of Eleven’s friendship with the boys in season one, it’s easily the new season’s most frustrating decision, even if Max turns out to be a good character in her own right; it’s not a coincidence that things perk up significantly almost as soon as the original group’s reunited,” he explained.

Linda Holmes, critic for NPR, revealed that she devoured the new season in one sitting, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. “Where it runs into a bit of trouble — and again, this is a common sequel problem — is that there’s such a fine line between maintaining the feel and the signature of a show and beginning to repeat its patterns. There are moments in the second season that echo the first story in satisfying ways, but there are also familiar elements that seem obligatory, the way Disney cartoons sometimes seem to have a wisecracking animal pal just because it’s expected,” she wrote.

Holmes is one of several critics who see repetition in “Stranger Things 2.” However, Daniel Fienberg of the Hollywood Reporter doesn’t seem to mind as much. “Some repetitiveness of plotting and the lack of thematic value found in the period setting aren’t quibbles that kept me from tearing through all nine episodes almost as quickly as I received them,” he noted. “The first few chapters may have some tablesetting slowness, but they have strong cliffhangers pushing from one episode to the next, building to a breathless finale. In the ways that count, there's no sophomore slump for Stranger Things.”

While there is plenty to criticize, every critic still said they enjoyed it overall. AV Club’s Erik Adams concluded, “Go ahead and call it ‘Stranger Things 2.’ But it’s also the second season of ‘Stranger Things,’ nine more episodes of a surprise phenomenon that might be uneven, but still has plenty of power up its sleeve.”

It sounds like “Stranger Things” is still worth binge-watching.

“Stranger Things” Season 2 premieres Friday, Oct. 27 on Netflix.