With the first part of Season 4 of Stranger Things being released recently, it seems Netflix has quickly reminded everyone why the show has been such a smash hit. Reviews for this season have been some of the highest in the history of the show!
Everyone knows the main cast of characters and the lightning in a bottle they’ve captured with them. Dustin swearing will make me laugh regardless of how old he looks in future seasons. Steve “The Hair” Harrington working dead-end jobs post-graduation and getting rejected by any woman he actually has a connection with is always going to deliver. Eleven doing supernatural stuff is always going to be jaw-droppingly cool.
While these characters are household names for a reason, I think the real magic of Stranger Things comes from the side characters they encounter along their journey! Season 4 has delivered some strong contenders for all-time side characters but we’ll leave them off of this list until their respective story arcs have been completed (in case they do anything awful).
8. Barb Holland
If Barb hadn’t been the first death before things officially hit the fan in Hawkins, I would completely leave her off of this list. Although her brief appearance in the show sparked a massive “Justice For Barb” campaign from fans, people downplay the fact she was a complete wet blanket. Basically, all she did was give Nancy a hard time about dating Steve and partying before she got smoked by the Demogorgon. If it hadn’t been for the massive outpouring of support from fans, we likely wouldn’t have heard anything about Barb after season 1.
7. Bob Newby
Bob Newby is basically the Ned Flanders of the Stranger Things universe. He gives off “now I know I’m not your real dad but I’m going to act exactly like I’m your dad” vibes to the Byers family for nearly his entire stint on the show. His biggest talent is being good with maps and he’s the token rational thinker who doesn’t believe anything supernatural could possibly be happening in Hawkins until he’s too deep in the mud with our main cast of characters. Although he’s the cheesy stepdad who isn’t actually a stepdad, Bob is a good-hearted guy who’s willing to sacrifice himself for his loved ones regardless of how long he’s been in their lives.
6. Mr. Clarke
Mr. Clarke is the cool teacher every group of outcast students needs to push them over the top! He gives the main squad access to the A/V room and lets them borrow equipment outside of school, both of which play a vital role in getting the ball rolling in season 1. He also teaches the kids about multiverses and how to make a sensory deprivation tank, without much digging into why they need to know. The latter resulted in one of the cooler season-defining scenes we witness.
5. Erica Sinclair
“You can’t spell America without Erica.” Every gang of young world-savers needs a wise-cracking younger sister to keep them humble. Enter Erica Sinclair. The quips from the younger sister of main cast member, Lucas Sinclair, could reduce some grown men to tears. Erica spends the early stages of season 3 terrorizing another entry on this list for free samples while she’s simply trying to make it through another shift at Scoops Ahoy. She quickly finds herself knee-deep in thwarting a Russian plot taking place underneath the Starcourt Mall!
4. Dr. Alexei
Even if you have no knowledge of the Stranger Things universe, you have probably seen this wholesome Russian scientist living the American dream as he was memed to death after his appearance in Season 3. Should Russia have trusted Alexei with their secrets? Absolutely not. He spilled every single one of the beans for cherry Slurpees from 7/11. In his defense, who wouldn’t? Although his appearance was brief, Alexei likely consumed more sugar and had more fun than most of the cast members combined.
3. Robin Buckley
Robin and Steve are easily one of the best character duos on the show. They might only be rivaled by Dustin and Steve. Robin wasn’t introduced until season 3; however, she immediately solidified her chemistry with Steve as she roasted him for getting turned down by girls during their shifts together at Scoops Ahoy. Many fans initially thought she was going to be a romantic interest for Steve. To their surprise, the showrunners took things in a different direction making their on-screen friendship even better in my opinion. It looks like Robin and Steve will be taking their talents to Family Video in season 4. I’m sure their shifts together are going to deliver just as much laughter as their escapades at Scoops Ahoy!
2. Billy Hargrove
Is Billy an absolute prick? You bet. Is he the perfect 80s high school villain the show needed? 100%. He started off as a new character’s older brother who pretty much terrorized our main cast for the entirety of season 2. Largely because he had severe anger issues. In season 3, the showrunners introduced a lot more depth to him. After more light was shed on his backstory, it more than explained how he turned out to be the way he was. Billy is one of the more emotionally complex characters on the show despite his outward persona. His storyline matures with the show’s primary audience. Just as he seemed to be turning a corner, his story arc ended in a fitting way. People forget the main cast wasn’t the only thing he saved. He even saved Karen and Ted Wheeler’s marriage! What a guy.
1. Murray Bauman
Of all the side characters, there had to be one to rule them all. His name is Murray Bauman. We’re introduced to Murray as an “investigative journalist” harassing Hopper over the strange things happening in Hawkins. In this case, investigative journalist is a nice way of saying conspiracy theorist. To his credit, he was completely onto something with his suspicions of Hawkins. Murray can even be credited with getting the ball rolling on both Nancy and Jonathan and Hopper and Joyce’s relationships! Every moment Murray is on screen is absolutely electric.