I watched three seasons of Stranger Things in a week. Top-tier procrastination method, highly recommend.
I then watched season 4 with a friend who has asked to be referred to as “Macavity.” I am now DISTRAUGHT.
I don’t love every decision the creators have made. I still love this show, mainly for its characters.
Macavity likes to rank the characters for every show he watches. I hate being left out, so I followed suit.
I stuck to the kids for now because there are so many characters.
Here is my Stranger Things character ranking from favorite to least favorite.
(I did my best not to spoil too much. Some spoilers ahead, however.)
S-tier: Never change, you perfect angels
Erica actually accomplishes what the creators were trying to do with Max.
They tried to make Max a Cool Girl who is tired of everyone’s shit but didn’t otherwise know how to incorporate her into the story.
Meanwhile, they gave a few lines to Lucas’s hilarious bratty younger sister, probably not expecting her to steal the show.
If you’re going to have a character be shitty to everyone, at least make them funny.
Erica is hysterical.
She’s only 11 and she’s already so tired.
I love her pointing out how inconvenient everyone’s adventures are for the rest of the people living in Hawkins.
I’m hoping for more Erica in season 5.
This man broke my brain.
Since starting season 4, I haven’t been able to think about anyone else.
What is this beautiful, charming, neurodivergent nerd doing in Hawkins?
Uh, running from the police and avoiding angry mobs, that’s what.
I barely have words to describe how much I love him.
I love everything he does, from screaming “HI” at teens to wolfing down Honeycomb cereal and Yoohoo Chocolate Drink to playing “MASTER OF PUPPETS” ON THE ROOF OF AN RV IN THE UNDERGROUND. HOW IS HE THIS COOL?
He’s so affectionate and kind to his friends and even to strangers. SEVERAL of his scenes made me sob.
Also, fight me all you want, but this dude is 100% queer.
He was flirting with Steve the whole time.
This man has my heart.
I love him so much.
A-tier: Wonderful, no notes
Yes, Steve shot up at least one ranking because of his chemistry with Eddie. Can’t be helped.
I’m convinced Steve has chemistry with everyone.
I love how much he loves the kids, even if he hates babysitting.
I’m just agog at how much he’s developed over four seasons.
HE CARES ABOUT AND PROTECTS PEOPLE AND I LOVE THAT.
His friendship with Robin is second only to his friendship with Dustin in my heart.
I can’t go without mentioning his fashion sense. Double denim forever.
Listen. Season 1 handed me a creepy weirdo and a cocky jock and told me to choose.
I made my choice long ago.
I don’t think any of the critiques about Jonathan’s character are wrong.
He did take semi-naked pictures of Nancy that one time. Pretty gross, even if the show treated it as harmless. (Watching TV shows that came out before #MeToo is wild.)
He also plays a secondary role to most of the other characters and is largely defined by his relationships with Nancy and Will.
Fine. I accept it. He just plays off those characters so well.
Every time he screams, “NANCY!” during a tense scene, my heart skips a beat.
I love how tender he is with Will. He shouldn’t have to be a surrogate parent, but he does his best.
Stoner Jonathan is my favorite Jonathan. Watching him and Argyle beat golf clubs into the ground made my year.
I’m reasonably certain Eduardo Franco wasn’t given a script and just ad-libbed all of his lines.
He makes season 4’s road trip subplot worthwhile.
Him making pizza during the sensory deprivation tank montage killed me.
Every interaction he has with another character is gold.
I AM NOT OVER THE GOLF CLUBS OR THE BLIPS.
He makes the show better and I want more of him.
I know it’s a stretch for me to stan the gay band geek, but here we are.
Man. I just like her.
I like that she’s goofy and grumpy and just wants to make friends.
She chucked a Molotov cocktail at a bad guy in season 4.
She’s sassy and has great outfits. I adore her.
Dustin is the heart of the show and I will brook no arguments.
He cares so much…about everything.
He befriends literal monsters.
He spars with Erica.
He ELECTROCUTES RUSSIANS while wearing fantastic hats.
He’s such a genuine, goofy weirdo. The world is hard; I hope he keeps his soft heart.
Never change, Henderson.
B-tier: I appreciate your various subplots
Lucas is the most slept-on member of the original four.
Compared to his friends, he best understands how to survive.
Every single season, he picks up a new survival skill.
That’s why I couldn’t get too mad at him in season one – kid’s just trying to keep his friends alive.
In season four, he chooses popularity over his friends.
It sucks but I get it.
I love how much he loves Max and wants to be there for her. Some of his speeches in season 4 made me tear up.
Lucas is a good kid.
Prior to season 4, Max was way down in D-tier.
Everything she did got on my nerves. Her sole personality trait was “annoyed.” She kept insisting “zoomer” was a class in D&D.
Then season 4 gave her a PTSD subplot.
Season 4 Max has layers.
I recognized my own experiences with depression in her struggle.
The end of “Dear Billy” made me weep.
Max is fighting so hard.
I hope she makes it.
I like Nancy best when she takes charge.
She’s grown so much since season 1.
She now owns multiple guns (considering how Hawkins gets, this is smart.)
I like that Nancy gets to be strong and still use the soft skills she’s acquired as a woman growing up in the ’80s.
I wouldn’t say I’m particularly invested in her wellbeing, but I do ship her with Robin, so. There’s that.
Suzie’s only been in three episodes.
I still like her.
She kind of reminds me of how I used to be.
I was never a Mormon computer genius.
I was a fairly sheltered, well-meaning nerd.
Suzie seems like she’s going through it, even if she doesn’t know it yet.
I can see her coming out and deconstructing in a few years.
I just want the best for her.
“BuT hE’s A bAd GuY.”
That’s what makes him so fun to watch.
Billy’s pursuit of domination is genuinely fascinating to me.
That and, yes, he’s very pretty and wears double denim well.
Watching men behave badly can be both terrifying and entertaining. (See Izzy Hands from Our Flag Means Death.)
Also. ALSO. I think a villain can completely suck and still be tragic.
Billy’s been through the mill and has opted to take it out on everyone around him. I wish he’d chosen differently.
He and Steve have fun chemistry. I like that they’re foils and have shockingly intimate chats in the shower. WHAT?
Billy remains one of my favorite additions to the Stranger Things cast. I would rewatch the entire show just for him.
C-tier: You’re fine, I guess
Will is going through a lot.
He still Took a Level in Jerkass in season 4.
It’s hard to be Team Will when he keeps being mean to El.
I know that, like Lucas, Will is just trying to survive.
He’s keeping a lot inside and I feel for him.
The subplot about his sexuality and his feelings for Mike really got to me. I remember how painful the closet can be. It can turn you into a monster.
I want Will to thrive. I’m really worried the show won’t let him.
Who’s going to manipulate this traumatized child today?
El never has a good time. Her subplots make me anxious. I’m honestly kind of relieved when she isn’t onscreen.
Her bullying subplot in season 4 hit a little too close to home.
She has a family now but even they can’t really help her.
She must be so exhausted.
Anyway, she bums me out, hence the low ranking.
I FULLY acknowledge that Jason sucks.
I also enjoy watching his street preacher impression.
Monsters aren’t always cartoonishly evil moustache twirlers. Hometown heroes can be monsters, too.
Jason loves his girlfriend yet refuses to see her as a whole person. He demonizes a cultural phenomenon he doesn’t understand. He seeks vengeance rather than wait for law enforcement and incites the town to violence.
In Jason, I see a privileged kid who has never been told “no” and has likely been overhyped by every adult in his life.
This kid convinces himself and the rest of the town that he can save them. He ends up causing so much harm.
A main consequence of both the patriarchy and white supremacy is that we idolize mediocre white guys who have more power to harm than to help.
We think 17-year-old student athletes will save us with their charisma and strong jawline.
Jason fulfilled the exact role he was groomed for and, lo and behold, it ended in disaster.
We’ll never know whether he had the capacity for change.
That, to me, is the saddest part.
Okay, sorry. I was trying to avoid spoilers, but it really can’t be helped in this case:
Chrissy is only in one episode, hence the low-ish rating. There.
I liked watching her interact with Eddie. I cared about her and was sad to see her die in such an awful fashion.
Mostly I miss her potential. Bye, Chrissy. We hardly knew ye.
PATRICK ALSO DIES. SORRY.
He seemed like a nice guy with a rough home life.
He was also VERY much in the background.
Sorry, Patrick. You didn’t deserve to die like that.
D-tier: You could stand to die once or twice
God, FUCK Fred.
All of Vecna’s victims are tormented by something from their past.
Chrissy has an eating disorder and an abusive mom. Patrick has an abusive dad. Max had an abusive brother who she watched die.
Fred killed someone in a car accident that he PRESUMABLY told no one about.
The season makes a big point about Eddie running away from the scene of Chrissy’s death.
Fred ran away from the scene of a car accident he LITERALLY CAUSED.
I was not sad when he died.
I know what you did last summer, Fred, and it was bad.
Aw, poor baby, you got a concussion?
Stick around, I’ll make it worse.
Seems like you experienced the consequences of your actions for the first time ever and didn’t like it.
Try being less of an asshole.
F-tier: Fuck off into the sea
Ahem. Mike is NOT the heart.
I was once a teenager. I understand that teenagers can sometimes suck.
Mike does nothing BUT suck.
He’s the most self-involved shit.
The way he puts Eleven on a pedestal is NOT cute.
He absolutely loses it whenever Eleven acts like a normal human person.
After Eleven hits Angela, the person who has been tormenting her for WEEKS, in the face with a rollerskate, Mike screams, “WHAT DID YOU DO?”
Did we…not both just witness Angela and her friends PUBLICLY HUMILIATING EL? WERE YOU TOO BUSY WHINING AT THE DJ TO TURN OFF THE MUSIC INSTEAD OF GETTING EL OUT OF THERE?
He has said “I love you” exactly one time and it was under duress.
He doesn’t give a single shit about Will, his supposed best friend.
He makes everything about him and I hate it.
Force-feed him pineapple pizza until he repents.
Barbara “Barb” Holland
Macavity is very upset about this ranking.
I stand by it.
My first exposure to Stranger Things was the “Justice for Barb” meme.
Allegedly, it started as a joke. By the time I got to it, people were full-throatedly demanding justice for Barbara.
Then I watched the show.
You were all mad on behalf of this NOTHING of a character?
I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t a wet blanket with less than 10 lines, most of which are, “Nancy…”
I refuse to waste emotional energy on a character who left so little of an impression.
I’m not sorry Barb is dead.
Justice for ME and all my wasted time.
As I write this, Macavity is on season 2 of his Stranger Things rewatch.
I’m tempted to start the series over myself.
If you agree or disagree with any of my rankings, please let me know. I need to feel something.