Lonnie Byers (Ross Patridge), Karen Wheeler (Cara Buono), Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton), Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery), Angela (Elodie Grace Orkin), and Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard) in Stranger Things

The Most Disliked ‘Stranger Things’ Characters, Ranked

One of the reasons why Stranger Things is one of the most successful shows on Netflix is its characters. The show has a knack for creating compelling and likable characters, like Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn), Bob Newby (Sean Astin), Dr. Alexei (Alec Utgoff), and Max (Sadie Sink)—and then killing them. Still, there are plenty of good characters left to make us excited for season 5. However, despite having an extremely talented cast and an intriguing array of characters, the show does occasionally miss the mark.

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For example: Not every Stranger Things character is likable. Sometimes this is intentional, as certain characters are villains, bullies, or generally antagonistic. At the same time, there are few characters who are strictly “bad.” Things aren’t meant to be black and white. This is why the number of villains in Stranger Things who have no identity outside of being evil or mean raises ire from fans. Additionally, there are a few non-villainous characters who have drawn dislike from fans for lacking personality or strong characterization, and also for just being downright annoying. Here are the 10 most disliked characters in Stranger Things, ranked from mildly disliked to outright loathed.

10. Will Byers

Noah Schnapp as Will Byers in Stranger Things

Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) gets a lot of leniency from viewers because he has literally been through hell and back. Not only did he go missing in the Upside Down as a child, but then he also got possessed by a Mind Flayer and his own mother performed an exorcism on him. That being said, Stranger Things just doesn’t do his character any favors. Either he needs saving or he’s just tagging along while complaining incessantly. Even though it’s understandable that he has trauma, that doesn’t necessarily give him an excuse to treat everyone badly. What makes it even worse is that Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) has arguably been through worse than him, but never resorts to the same behaviors he does. Ultimately, his situation cuts him a lot of slack from viewers, but not quite enough.

9. Mike Wheeler

Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler in Stranger Things

While Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard)’s relationship with Eleven is one of the primary aspects of the show, we really don’t know what Eleven sees in him. Mike is prone to being a total jerk. Whether it’s yelling “What is wrong with you?!” in Eleven’s face or making snide remarks about Will not liking girls, he’s one of the meanest characters in Stranger Things. Additionally, in seasons 3 and 4, Mike becomes quite similar to Will in that he’s mostly just a tag-along with nothing to do besides complain. Despite not being mature enough to be with Eleven, he continues obsessing over her and trying to pursue a relationship that he probably knows isn’t helping her. If Mike really loved Eleven, he’d know to get out of her way and let her do her thing.

8. Angela

Elodie Grace Orkin as Angela in Stranger Things

Despite Angela (Elodie Grace Orkin)’s role being so small, she somehow manages to be one of the worst characters in Stranger Things. She’s meant to be unlikeable, but the series’ writers might’ve taken it too far. This girl seemingly has no personality or life outside of being a bully who torments Eleven. She ruins Eleven’s presentation and diorama about her dead father and then throws a milkshake in her face, and we get no explanation as to why. Angela may be one of the flattest characters in the whole series, considering she’s out there being the meanest mean girl ever without even having a last name.

7. Karen Wheeler

Carla Buono as Karen Wheeler in 'Stranger Things' season 3

Karen Wheeler (Cara Buono) is the mother of Mike and Nancy (Natalia Dyer) in Stranger Things. Another flat and unlikable character, Karen is very clueless about what’s going on around her. Though she has occasionally given Nancy good advice about standing up for herself as a woman, she also clearly got married for the sake of being married and well-off, which is not a good example for her daughter. We also can’t forget that Karen almost had an affair with Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery), who was only 18 or 19 years old. If Stranger Things wanted to, it could make her an interesting depiction of a woman constrained by gender roles in the 1980s, but it doesn’t. Karen is a character who could have a deeper story but instead turns viewers away with her poor choices.

6. Ted Wheeler

Joe Chrest as Ted Wheeler in Stranger Things

The whole Wheeler family may just be cursed in Stranger Things because none of them are particularly likable. However, Ted takes home the award for being the worst Wheeler. It doesn’t seem possible, but Ted is even flatter and less developed than Angela. He can occasionally be glimpsed eating, sleeping, or being oblivious, and … that’s it. If you’re really paying attention, you might catch Ted saying a word or two. Otherwise, Stranger Things could replace him with an actual potato and you probably wouldn’t notice any difference.

5. Jonathan Byers

Charlie Heaton as Jonathan Byers in Stranger Things

Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton) routinely tops lists of the worst Stranger Things characters, and it’s not hard to see why. First of all, taking pictures of Nancy without her consent was extremely creepy and a few edits aren’t going to make fans forget that. Plus, Jonathan frequently treats Nancy badly, such as not caring that her misogynist boss at the newspaper treats her like crap, or when he lies to Nancy (and everyone) about college. Not to mention while his little brother and Eleven are getting bullied and having problems in California, Jonathan was smoking weed in his room and ignoring them. He’s wildly insecure, a terrible boyfriend, and is rarely helpful or useful when others need him.

4. Dr. Brenner

Matthew Modine as Martin Brenner in Stranger Things

Dr. Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine) is the main villain in Stranger Things seasons 1 and 4. Unfortunately, he’s not a good villain or character. He’s just a stereotypical mad scientist who has no real motivation for what he’s doing. Season 4 tries to make viewers feel more sympathetic towards Brenner by showing his paternal instincts with his test subjects, but that doesn’t change the fact that he treats them like lab rats in inhumane experiments. Dr. Brenner is just such a purely evil and cold person that you can’t muster a drop of sympathy for him, even when he dies (twice).

3. Billy Hargrove

Dacre Montgomery as Billy Hargrove in Stranger Things

Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery) is Max’s abusive step-brother who is later possessed by the Mind Flayer. We’re supposed to feel a bit of sympathy for him, considering he was abandoned by his mother and abused by his father. However, Stranger Things makes it really hard to forgive Billy for his actions. He is a huge bully, but also a coward. He literally targeted a bunch of 13-year-olds and then ran away with his tail between his legs when they fought back … and then became the Mind Flayer and killed a bunch of people. Oh, and he’s also racist. The fact that Billy was “sorry” for his actions for .25 seconds before his death doesn’t make a difference or change the fact that he was a terrible brother and person who tried to beat up a bunch of little kids.

2. Jason Carver

Mason Dye as Jason Carver in Stranger Things

Even though his girlfriend was tragically killed, viewers still cannot muster one ounce of sympathy for Jason Carver (Mason Dye). While he claims he’s “avenging” Chrissy (Grace Van Dien)’s death in Stranger Things season 4, it’s more of a witch hunt. He always hated Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) and Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin) because he’s racist and thinks D&D is the devil. Chrissy’s death just gave this gun-toting small-town bigot an excuse to try to kill those he didn’t like. He is also mostly responsible for Max being in a coma, so we don’t feel anything aside from relief when he finally meets his demise.

1. Lonnie Byers

Ross Patridge as Lonnie Byers in Stranger Things

The Byers family is just as cursed as the Wheelers when it comes to being unlikeable. However, Lonnie Byers (Ross Partridge) is the worst Byers and is probably responsible for a lot of Jonathan’s and Will’s issues, too. He only briefly appears in season 1, but is quickly established as a terrible father and husband. It’s implied he was abusive to Joyce (Winona Ryder) and the boys and punished his sons for being soft while condoning toxic masculinity. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he didn’t care that his son seemingly died and instead showed up looking for a payout. Stranger Things really made him the epitome of a terrible human being.

(featured image: Netflix)

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.