Search icon


23rd Aug 2016

All the main characters from Stranger Things, ranked from worst to best

Sorry guys, but Barb actually kinda sucks. Spoilers ahead if you've not seen it all yet.

Alex Finnis

12. Barb


Everyone seems to fucking love Barb, which is weird, because she is objectively the worst character in the whole show. She spends the first two episodes getting pissed off that Nancy’s starting to get close to Steve, refuses to chug a beer, and then she just fucking dies. Sure, I get that she was just trying to look out for her friend, so I’m not saying she deserved be murdered by a monster and have her body consumed by a weird, gross snake thing, but I’m not saying she didn’t either.


11. Steve


So it turns out that Steve is a bit less of a dick than everyone assumes he is, but he’s still definitely a dick. Sure, after unloading ten barrels of shit into his pants he gives the monster a pretty good battering, and he does at least stand up to his dickhead mates and try to make things right with Nancy, but let’s not forget he did also spray paint her name and the word “slut” onto the front of the town cinema. Also, that hair…


10. Will

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 17.28.28

Will can’t really come very high up this list since he isn’t really in the show very much at all, but he finishes above Barb by virtue of not being really annoying and, even more crucially, not being dead.


9. Brenner

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 17.30.00

Here’s a pretty wild opinion, but before you jump to conclusions and start getting angry, just take some time to think about it. OK, ready? Kidnapping young children and experimenting on them with the aim of turning them into weapons to fight the Russians is, on the whole, not a very nice thing to do. Shocking I know. Brenner’s a very convincing and hateable villain, but he’s not quite hateable enough to elevate him above some of Stranger Things’ heroes in this ranking.


8. Jonathan

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 17.31.01

OK, so we need to get this out of the way first – taking pictures of people getting changed while you’re hiding outside in the bushes is creepy as fuck, no matter who you are or what your intentions are for them. Jonathan and Nancy go on to form a pretty badass team, and become very close friends too, though this is mostly a testament to her making time for Jonathan, and working hard to understand him. Still, it’s hard not to like and respect him for the devotion he shows to his family, and also to Nancy when they start working together to take down the monster. If she’s OK with him, I guess we can be too.


7. Nancy


There are a lot of characters in Stranger Things who turn out to be so much more than they initially seem, and Nancy is definitely one of them. At first we just think she’s the tired trope of the slightly nerdy, smart high school girl who gets swept off her feet when the coolest guy in class takes notice of her. We discover though (and I think she kind of discovers too), that she is far more than that. She is able to see the best in both Steve and Jonathan – two characters who are deeply flawed in very different ways, then teams up with Jonathan to take on the monster and try to save Will and Barb. Turns out she’s a pretty mean shot too.


6. Joyce


Joyce knows her son – she knows her son so well that she is totally convinced he is not dead, even when all the evidence that actually makes sense in the real world points elsewhere. She will stop at absolutely nothing to find Will, and doesn’t care if the rest of the town think she’s crazy while she does so. Also, we can’t really mention Joyce without mentioning how completely excellent Winona Ryder was throughout the whole season, not that we’re in any way surprised.


5. Lucas

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 17.33.09

Lucas takes a while to trust Eleven, which is fair enough when you think about it. I mean, even if you are a self-confessed nerd who loves superheroes and 10-hour Dungeons and Dragons campaigns, having some girl turn up in your life who can literally break people’s arms with her mind and speak to people through a radio is pretty intimidating. He’s the most logical member of the group, he’s very kind-hearted, and is also extremely brave – he’s got no problem going out to try to save Will alone after he falls out with Mike, and stands and fight the monster with nothing more than his slingshot and a couple of rocks.


4. Mike


The best Mike moment comes in the final episode, when he and Nancy agree to tell each other everything from now on. After she tells him she and Jonathan don’t like each other “like that”, she asks if Mike likes Eleven, and his response of “Eugh! No! Gross!” is possibly the strongest bit of teenage/pre-teen normality we get from the entire season. He’s the group’s leader – the one who gives a home and some hope to El, and who rallies the gang together to find their friend.


3. Hopper

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 17.34.48

Hopper is definitely the most interesting and complex of the “normal” characters. When we first meet him we think he’s just some drunk waster, then shit, turns out he’s a cop! Then we think he’s a lazy, do-nothing cop who’s stealing a living and cares about nothing but how quickly he can drink himself to death, then shit, turns out he’s actually a pretty damn handy detective, can throw one hell of a punch, and has a heart of gold! The flashback where we see how he lost his daughter is absolutely tragic, and is clearly what makes him so determined to find Will – he feels like if he can achieve this one thing, it might make up for how the rest of his life has gone since that moment.


2. Eleven


El doesn’t really say all that much throughout the show’s eight episodes, but she doesn’t need to. Millie Bobby Brown is an unbelievably good actor for a 12-year-old, and manages to so expertly put across El’s incredible power and yet more incredible vulnerability that she is perhaps the most convincing character in the whole show, despite, y’know, being able to flip vans with her mind. Also, we need to talk about all the times she saved the rest of the group from those dickhead bullies, because those times were the best.


1. Dustin

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 17.36.41

Obviously Dustin is the best character – Dustin is fucking awesome. Dustin is so awesome that I want to grow a massive perm and wear the same baseball cap day-in, day-out just to be more like him. He’s the one that always holds the group together when it looks like things might fall apart – he brings Mike and Lucas back together when it matters most, is always fair and kind to El, and is never afraid to call out any of his friends when they’re out of line if that’s what it takes for everyone to make up and get them back to the task of finding Will. He’s the smartest, funniest, and definitely the most enthusiastic member of the gang – just remember how happy he was when he found that chocolate pudding.