The 10 best ‘Stranger Things’ characters, ranked

Stranger Things

Netflix’s science-fiction extravaganza Stranger Things remains one of the most successful shows in the age of modern online television. Created by the Duffer Brothers, the series follows a group of residents plagued by supernatural occurrences and man-made laboratory creatures in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana. Since its colossal debut in 2016, the hit series has garnered a significant amount of praise and has been on the receiving end of a multitude of awards.

Part of the series’ undeniable charm is an abundance of characters who are able to connect with the fanbase. Each character is equipped with their own unique set of strengths and weaknesses which take them on separate journeys. The characters have remained as engaging as they were at the very beginning and many have established themselves as fan favorites that keep viewers tuned in. So, before you sit down to binge down Stranger Things Season 4, which releases this May 27, it’s time to go through a ranked list of its most lovable characters to date.

10. Nancy Wheeler

Nancy Wheeler in Stranger Things

Throughout the course of the series, Nancy undergoes one of the most significant character growth. In the first season of Stranger Things, Nancy is the quintessential teenage girl trying to impress her friends and boost her popularity. She spends the first few episodes catering to Steve Harrington and ignoring her younger brother Mike and his friends. Over time, Nancy understands the importance of her true friends and family and does what she can to protect Mike and his friends.

She definitely matures throughout the seasons, and on more than one occasion, she uses her indomitable courage and determination to save Hawkins.

9. Lucas Sinclair

Lucas Sinclair in 'Stranger Things'

As one of the original members of the core boys’ group, Lucas remains the most pragmatic of his friends in terms of headstrong tactics and cautious behavior. He’s extremely loyal to his friends, which sometimes comes across as overprotective, though he undoubtedly means well. Lucas also boasts a great deal of bravery, as seen when he helped in attacking the Demogorgon and tried to lure the Demodogs away from Steve at the junkyard.

He’s quite mature for his age and it has only subsequently improved during his relationship with Max Mayfield. His dedication to his friends and tackling objectives with a level-headedness easily make him one of the best characters in the series.

8. Robin Buckley

Robin Buckley in Stranger Things

Since her debut on the show, Robin has become one of the most witty characters in Stranger Things. She is introduced in season three as a co-worker of Steve Harrington at Scoops Ahoy in the Starcourt Mall. Initially, many fans (and Steve) believed that she was to become his love interest. However, Robin eventually reveals that she’s a lesbian.

But her friendship with Steve still remains strong, and she proves to be an incredible part of the overall team by helping to go against the Russians. She is one of the smartest characters in the show, and she evenly matches Steve’s exceptional bravery.

7. Will Byers

Will Byers in Stranger Things

For all intents and purposes, Will is undeniably the heart of the series. The entire conflict of season one revolves around his sudden disappearance and the eventual flurry of hidden secrets that are uncovered. Will is kind-hearted and extremely loyal, which sometimes results in his feelings getting hurt, as seen when he confronts Mike about his group of friends not wanting to hang out anymore.

Even though Will has suffered the most harrowing experiences out of the core boys’ group, it is his trauma that assists the overall team when it comes to battling The Mind Flayer in seasons two and three. Will is easily a fan favorite due to his innocence and unrelenting desire to be a good person, which makes him incredibly likable.

6. Joyce Byers

Joyce Byers in Stranger Things

From the very beginning of the series, fans immediately resonated with Joyce’s courage and determination to locate her son Will. Joyce is the sort of character who will do whatever it takes for the people that she loves, and she certainly isn’t afraid to test those boundaries. She is incredibly strong-minded and not one to be easily persuaded.

Though her major portrayal is that of a desperate mother with a hardened exterior, her true feelings and relationships with others are explored in the later seasons, further establishing her strong presence in the town of Hawkins. It certainly helps that the incredible Winona Ryder perfectly portrays Joyce’s overall resiliency and really helps the character shine even in the darkest moments.

5. Mike Wheeler

Mike Wheeler in Stranger Things

Mike leads the core boys’ group in the series and he has proved more than once that he deserves to be the leader. Mike can certainly be extremely hard-headed at times, but he is very loyal to his friends and committed to his developing relationship with Eleven, something which has certainly heightened his overall likability. Although his attitude can sometimes get the best of him in situations, he always comes away with the knowledge of how others feel and uses it to become more of a compassionate person. 

It’s his qualities as a natural-born leader and his mindfulness that makes Stranger Things fans resonate with him.

4. Jim Hopper

Jim Hopper in Stranger Things

Jim Hopper is definitely one of those characters that fans can’t help but gravitate towards. As the Sheriff of Hawkins, he inhabits a particular tough exterior that can sometimes come across as extreme hot-headedness. While Hopper is a fearless leader and thinker, his inner softness makes its presence felt during his encounters with Eleven and Joyce.

Hopper is extremely loyal to those that need him, and on more than one occasion, has proven that he will risk his life in order to save others. A number of flashbacks early in the series have revealed that the reason behind his initial rigid and rough persona is the untimely death of his daughter due to cancer and his wife leaving him soon after. Nevertheless, he has persevered through every obstacle thrown his way and established himself as a true hero when he seemingly sacrificed himself in the season three finale to save Eleven and the people of Hawkins.

3. Dustin Henderson

Dustin Henderson in Stranger Things

Not only is Dustin one of the best characters in the show, but he’s also established himself as one of the funniest. Dustin as a character does a great deal in providing comedic relief, though he has proved on several occasions how loyal he is as a friend. He’s also incredibly resourceful, loving, and the peacemaker within his group.

Dustin is arguably the glue that keeps his friends together. He can be easily fooled at times, but he truly has everyone’s best intentions at heart. From his positive attitude to his endearing sense of humor, there’s plenty for fans to root for when it comes to Hawkins lovable goofball.

2. Steve Harrington

Steve Harrington in Stranger Things

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone that doesn’t have Steve Harrington in their top favorites in Stranger Things. Introduced in season one as the typical high school jock, Steve has certainly come a long way as far as character arcs and development go. His courage knows no limits, and has saved several people on many different occasions even if it means risking his own life. Through the seasons, Steve has been referred to as a hero by the fanbase. He has battled the Demogorgon face-to-face, along with a pack of Demodogs in a junkyard.

His once selfish nature has slowly transformed into an admirable sense of selflessness, and he truly will do what it takes to protect others.

1. Eleven (Jane Ives)

Eleven in Stranger Things

Without a doubt, Eleven has become the central focus of the thrilling Netflix series. She was introduced in the first season as a quiet, mysterious child who was subject to unimaginable torture in Hawkins Lab. As the seasons go on, her past is further explored, where it is revealed that she was kidnapped for a series of psychological tests which uncovered her telepathic abilities.

Despite her psychological trauma and apparent isolation due to Dr. Martin Brenner, Eleven has remained extremely loyal to her friends and has already saved the overall town of Hawkins several times now. She is incredibly unique in her own right and certainly adds a distinctive element to the series that would seem very empty without her. It will be interesting to see how her eventual story ends, but fans of Stranger Things are definately enjoying the magnificent ride for now.