Skip To Content
  • Viral badge

12 Times Adding A Character To A Show Worked Well And 11 Times It Didn’t

Basically, every character that's added to Stranger Things is a gem.

Every TV show has its core cast.


But a few seasons in, most shows also like to add in a new character or two.


Sometimes this works super well, and other times it falls flat. Here are 12 times character additions worked, and 11 times they didn't!


1. Helped: Hook, Once Upon a Time


The show had a bit of trouble at the start with love interests for Emma. With Hook, we finally had someone who matched her in wit, intelligence, and strength. Killian also had his own compelling story tied to Gold and managed to be the antihero to reinvigorate the show.

2. Hurt: Juliet, Lost


While it was smart to humanize the Others, Juliet never felt like an interesting-enough character to me. Even after her backstory was revealed, she felt kind of shifty and untrustworthy. Maybe I'm biased because I was a huge Sawyer-Kate shipper and I HATED seeing Kate with Jack, but I just never got her relationship with Sawyer.

3. Helped: Lila, The Umbrella Academy


Diego felt a little bit useless in Season 1, and turning him into the butt of the joke a bit more worked well in Season 2. Lila was a huge part of this, making Diego's storyline much more interesting and funny, while also having her own compelling storyline tied to the Handler. She injected further humor and moral complexity into the show, and I cannot wait to see what happens with her in Season 3.

4. Hurt: Liv, The Vampire Diaries

The CW

Liv really brought nothing to the show, and her "I don't care about anything" act just made her boring and annoying. Honestly, Tyler's role on the show had kind of run its course at this point, so Liv and Tyler's scenes were really just a chore to watch.

5. Helped: Erica, Stranger Things


Erica first showed up as Lucas's wisecracking little sister in Season 2, but Season 3 is when she really shone. She was a hilarious addition to Steve, Dustin, and Robin's storyline, but she was also complex, her cheeky attitude hiding a secret nerdiness and maturity.

6. Hurt: All the new characters, Once Upon a Time


Once Upon a Time should have ended after Season 6. There was no reason to bring in an almost entirely new cast and an older Henry for Season 7 after having a pretty solid ending to the season prior. It was way too much to adjust to so many seasons into a show, and the new characters just made me miss the old ones.

7. Helped: Ben and Chris, Parks and Recreation


You almost can't think of Parks WITHOUT thinking of these two. It's hard to believe they weren't in the show from the start! Originally coming in as an interesting foil to the Parks Department, they reinvigorated the plot while being interesting to watch on their own. Ben and Chris were unique and funny, and seeing the way they melded into the lives of the other characters was SO FUN.

8. Hurt: Ani from 13 Reasons Why


The whole plot of 13 Reasons Why centered on a tight-knit group of characters who were keeping secrets, so throwing in another teenage character to work against that just didn't work. It was painful to watch Ani have a relationship with actual rapist Bryce in a storyline that seemed to be trying to humanize him, and she had no chemistry with Clay.

9. Helped: Kira, Teen Wolf


Kira was such a sweetheart. Her family brought some super-interesting mythology to the show, and her caring and innocent nature made her a perfect partner for Scott. I was so sad to see her leave the show — while I'll always ship Scott and Allison, Kira was the next best thing.

10. Hurt: Andy, The Office


Andy was just a knockoff Michael without the charms of Steve Carell. He was annoying, selfish, and full of himself, and Erin deserved far better. The later seasons of The Office were just bad, and honestly, Andy was a big part of that.

11. Helped: Caleb, Pretty Little Liars


Adding a hacker to the Liars team actually gave them a chance. Out of all the significant others, Caleb was the only one who consistently looked out for the Liars and made reasonable decisions. He was the perfect bad boy, with a heart of gold for Hanna, and it was amazing to see a man be emotional the way Caleb could be.

12. Hurt: Soso, Orange Is the New Black


Soso was a super-annoying character, and as much as I loved to see Poussey happy, I wish it had been with someone else. Honestly, Soso was racist toward Poussey, and she deserved better. After Poussey's death, Soso really didn't seem to serve a purpose in the show.

13. Helped: Gus, Breaking Bad


Mike, Saul, and Gus were all amazing additions to Breaking Bad, but I think Gus was the best. He was such a complex and interesting villain, and he was more than a match for Walt and Jesse. His calm nature made him even more terrifying, and I was kind of disappointed when he died.

14. Hurt: Malia, Teen Wolf


Malia's character never really made sense to me. She should've had the emotional intelligence of a 9-year-old, and it was disturbing to watch her have sexual relationships. Her backstory and animalistic nature seemed to serve as a source of comedy rather than the character depth it should have, and she never built the strong friendships Teen Wolf was known for. It didn't help that Malia basically replaced Allison, who was an amazing badass with compelling storylines, relationships, and friendships.

15. Helped: Robin, Stranger Things


Robin was such an amazing addition. Her dry humor was hilarious, and it was so much fun to watch someone knock Steve down a few pegs. Her friendship with Steve was one of the best parts of Season 3, and she managed to hold her own in a show already stuffed with interesting characters. When Robin came out to Steve was one of the best Stranger Things moments, and it was such a great reversal of expectations after it seemed like Robin and Steve would get together.

16. Hurt: Felix, One Tree Hill

Felix tells Anna her skirt is too short
The WB

Felix was homophobic and misogynistic, and his relationship with Brooke was just gross. He was a horrible brother, boyfriend, and person, and he added nothing to the show. I didn't like Anna, either, but at least she was a good person who raised some important lessons about identity. Felix was just a trash person who never should've made an appearance.

17. Helped: Amanda, Revenge


Bringing on the person Emily had switched identities with was a super-interesting twist that I did NOT see coming. She had a fascinating backstory with Emily and provided a great foil to her. While she could be frustrating at times, she definitely reinvigorated the show.

18. Hurt: Paige, Pretty Little Liars


PAIGE AND EMILY WERE BAD TOGETHER AND I WILL DIE ON THIS HILL. Paige literally tried to drown Emily and then KISSED her, like that made it okay?? It seemed like she hated Emily at first because she harbored secret feelings for her, which is honestly such a tired and problematic storyline for LGBTQ characters. And then Paige continually disrespected Emily and her wishes. Emily deserved better.

19. Helped: The Originals, The Vampire Diaries

Klaus yelling at Elijah, Rebekah, Finn, and Kol
The CW

Okay, Finn was boring — but the rest of the Originals were awesome (especially Klaus, Elijah, and Rebekah). They were all fascinating villains in different ways who were motivated by different things. Elijah's code of honor and decorum contrasted so well with Klaus's savage outbursts, and Rebekah's desire for human love contrasted well with Klaus's desire for family and power, but in the end, they were all lonely people struggling to find connection. They were amazing villains who had interesting relationships with the other characters on the show, and I was honestly sad to see them leave for their spinoff.

20. Hurt: Daario, Game of Thrones


Daario was some great eye candy, but he really brought nothing to the show. He felt like an excuse to have more gratuitous sex scenes with Daenerys, who really did not need a man. I was glad the show made it clear that Dany didn't need him, but honestly, I would have preferred that he not be on the show at all.

21. Helped: Missandei and Greyworm, Game of Thrones


Game of Thrones could be so violent and at times hard to watch, and Missandei and Greyworm were such pure characters who brought a nice sweetness to the show. Their scenes were a welcome distraction from the horrible things going on. Also, it was amazing to have a badass woman like Missandei who was valued for her intelligence.

22. Hurt: The New Directioners, Glee


Look, it's hard to introduce a huge new cast of characters. Usually it's better for the show to just end, and honestly, that should've happened with Glee. I had no interest in seeing the main characters in college, and the new high schoolers just weren't compelling enough to me. I had to stop watching.

23. Helped: Spike, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

The WB

I love Buffy, but Season 1 was painful — mostly because it didn't have a very effective villain. Spike was an amazingly fun villain who was actually interesting to watch. His history with Angel made his storyline even more interesting, and his relationship with Drusilla was deliciously creepy and weird. He was brought back as a main character in later seasons, but Season 2 was Spike at his best.

TV and Movies

Get all the best moments in pop culture & entertainment delivered to your inbox.

Newsletter signup form