The 12 Best New Characters of the Fall 2013 TV Season

All the new fall shows plus new seasons of old favorites means there are a lot of new characters for you to get to know. But who has the time or Purell to shake hands with all of them? Not you, Mr. or Ms. Busybottom. Let us help! We're here to whittle down the fall's freshman class to just a lunch table full of cool kids with our annual picks for best new fictional faces of the season. Some of them are major characters, some of them are supporting, but they all have one thing in common: THEY'RE THE BEST!

Obviously you have opinions, too. And there can only be one bestest best new character of them all, so take a look at our picks, make some clicks in the poll at the bottom of this page, and let's figure it out together.


Red Reddington (James Spader) on The Blacklist

The Blacklist features plenty of ridiculous moments (does Keen even WANT a kid, given all the stupid adoption-related errors she's making?) but sitting comfortably in a lavishly furnished room at the show's thrilling center is The Spader, who either crawled into the skin of most-wanted fugitive Red Reddington or just shows up for work every day and acts like himself. It's hard to tell. But it's perfect for Red, who's found a way to finally emerge from the Hannibal Lecter-shaped shadow that all FBI-helping criminal lunatics are lost in. 


Gina Linetti (Chelsea Perretti) on Brooklyn Nine-Nine


If you ask us (you are asking us, right?), the breakout star of Brooklyn Nine-Nine is Chelsea Perretti as office administrator Gina Linetti. In addition to fun hand gestures like the one GIF'd above, this bombastic crazy lady is into weird things like fortune tellers and funky dancing, making the kooky cops she works with look sane by comparison. 


Barry Goldberg (Troy Gentile) on The Goldbergs


We (Tim) didn't care for Barry when we (Tim) first met him in The Goldbergs' pilot, but just like the show overall, he's grown on us (Tim) over time. Barry started out as a typical big brother in a loud-mouthed family, but his brutishness started to give way to self-mocking when we learned—as did his family—that he lets off steam by "rolling it out" at the roller rink in short shorts and a headband. From that point on, Barry has continued to reveal his true form: that of a confused teenager who's lost in his dreams. And one who knows how to throw a fit like no other. 


Wade and Kives (Nate Torrence and Kevin Weisman) on Hello Ladies

As inept wingmen for the equally inept Stuart (Stephen Merchant) in HBO's funny new comedy about dating in Los Angeles, the charming rogue Kives and sad-sack Wade account for two of three perfect points in the show's Bermuda Triangle of lady luck. Kives serves up plenty of the sliminess you'd expect from the Los Angeles singles' scene, but with the lady-boner-killing obstacle of being in a wheelchair. And Wade, well, he's just pathetic as he pines for his wife while they're separated. Contrast is key here, and these two are wonderful complements to Stuart's awkward desperation.


The Mother (Cristin Milioti) on How I Met Your Mother

It took eight long years, but we finally got our first glimpse of the Mother in last May's Season 8 finale, and we met her for realsies in the Season 9 premiere. And now we're glad to know she eventually met, married, and procreated with Ted, because she's funny, she's sexy, she enjoys the same weird things that Ted enjoys, and she can go toe-to-toe with an angry Lily and come out unscathed. Seriously, girl has been the crown jewel of Season 9 so far, and she's only appeared in two episodes. That's telling, to say the least.


Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) on Masters of Sex


We were tempted to simply write "Lizzy Caplan, Lizzy Caplan, Lizzy Caplan" and call it day; she's a huge part of what makes Virginia so captivating. But there's much more to the single mom and secretary who moonlights as a sex researcher in the 1950s than Caplan's strong presence and piercing eyes. She's a rare bird in the world she lives in, a progressive thinker who's not afraid to pursue what she wants—or to say it out loud to a man—in the office OR the bedroom. Which takes, uh, balls, given that so many of her female peers are perfectly happy with their roles as receptionists and wives. But it's not like Virginia is some sort of cold, militant feminist; she's also warm, caring, complex, smart, alluring, relatable, and funny. She'd simply prefer to do something different than what society has in mind for her, okay? And we love tuning in each week to watch her try. 


Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) on Sleepy Hollow


Sleepy Hollow has done lots of things right, but its most successful move by far has been its re-imagining of the awkward, weird Ichabod Crane from the original "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" short story as a sexy, sarcastic, Revolutionary War soldier who loves his now-dated clothing and refuses to conform to today's fashion trends.


Harris Green (Wendell Pierce) on The Michael J. Fox Show

The Bunk lives! Well, sorta. Wendell Pierce has brought some aspects his The Wire character to Mike Henry's friend and boss to create one of comedy's best new supporting characters. He's a ladies man—well, he's at least a smooth talker—who provides Mike's kids with the kind of real-life advice that Mike wants to protect them from. 


Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.


The character of Melinda May is still mostly a mystery, but that's one of the reasons why she's pretty awesome. Nicknamed the Cavalry, you probably don't want to be on her bad side. And even though she's a quiet type who's been out of the field for awhile, when she's given the chance to kick some ass, she does so with such ease that we can't help but wonder what sidelined her the first place. 


Winston Bishop (Lamorne Morris) on New Girl

Come on, you know it's true: Winston is a changed man this season—so much so that the label of "new" absolutely applies. Not only is he finally getting dedicated story arcs all to himself, he's also way more likely to be part of the main plot in any given episode. We can't say we're clear on where the character is headed in the future—in some ways he's simply been transformed from "token black guy" to "token weirdo"—but he's been so entertaining lately that we can't be too upset. If he maintains his current status as half wackjob, half wiseman, he'll soon be our favorite character on the show. 


Davina Claire (Danielle Campbell) on The Originals

The Originals' Davina started off very one-note, and that note was basically just a question mark. But the more time we spend with this childlike attic witch, the weirder and more intriguing she seems. It could just be that she's one of the few characters on this show who's not prone to didactic speeches about drama from the past, or it could be her insistence on referring to the title characters as the Old Ones. Or it could be that she just destroyed a church with her brain during a standoff between a 1,000-year-old vampire. Either way, she is DEFINITELY a bright spot on show that could use more of them. 


Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) on American Horror Story: Coven

All the characters on the new flavor of American Horror Story are great, and the young student-witches are the hocus-focus of fancy. But teen-celeb-turned-spell-caster Madison is the most fun because she's spoiled, powerful, and knows how to have a good time. So far this season she's flipped a bus of date-rapers, sewn together a "perfect boyfriend" for Zoe out of said date-rapers' body parts, thrown a knife at her new next-door neighbor before setting the lady's curtains on fire with her mind, and compelled a random passer-by to just saunter into traffic. That's a whole season's worth of ridiculousness in just three episodes, and she's just getting started. 


Who are your favorite new characters of the season? We've included the dozen listed above plus many others in the poll below. Vote away, and let us know who we missed in the comments!



Comments (128)
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Not listed: Mary (Reign), Bash (Reign), and Elijah (The Originals). The only reason that I watch The Originals is because of Elijah. The episode when he returned / woke up (episode 4) was the episode where the ratings went up.
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COULSOOOOON!
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BRING BACK TAMOH PINKETT!!
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Mary from Reign...finally a smart beautiful articulate but slightly vulnerable heroine
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Crane Mills (Sleepy Hollow) Davina (Originals) Skye (Shield) are awesome but my vote for the best goes to Mary Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane Reign)
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Not necessarily new, but love what they're doing with Elijah on The Originals.
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Dr Narcisssus on Boardwalk
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Definitely JACKIE on ‘Trophy Wife’! Second is DIANE also from ‘Trophy Wife’. Rounding out the top 5 are ‘Trophy Wife’’s BERT and WARREN and finally FITZ from ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’
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Tom Miller (The Millers) & Adam Goldberg (The Goldbergs)
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I had to go with James Spader, he is just amazing in the blacklist (witch should be renamed into: The James Spader show)
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pretty much haha, i had to stop watching it though, there's only so much crappy tv i can take...the writing and every other character is just garbage, wished this was on hbo with better actors to round out the show
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I had to go with Gina Linetti (Chelsea Peretti) she's hilarious! As for other picks, at first I said no, there's no way I could vote for The Mother but then I thought about her reveal last season and how I just immediately loved her. I think by the end of the season, she'll easily take the top spot, not just best new character but one of the best characters of all time.
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Lizzy Caplan and Tom Mison are two of my favourite actors this season!
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Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Andre Braugher's Captain Holt!!!!! Chelsea Perretti as office administrator Gina Linetti???? She's so incredibly annoying and that voice... is that real?
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You know I had to pick my BFF Winston. :)
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I like Zach, Andrew and Lauren on The Crazy Ones too.

On a slight twist to the great article above... The Worst Characters of the New Fall Season:
Lets Start with The Millers: Tom & Carol Miller and Ray are all rubbish characters, but the ultimate accolade goes to Adam (he's the husband of the sister) as the worst new character of the season. He's terrible.
Stuart, Hello Ladies. After an encouraging start he has become an unbearable, selfish jack-ass. I would not be friends with this guy, unless it guaranteed that I would meet Christine Woods, but then I'd quickly drop him again!
Kimmie Boubier, Silly Lame Night. Her voice alone would be enough to get her on this list but the fact she's annoying just cements that position.
Beverley & Murray Goldberg, The Goldbergs. Constantly shouting terrible '80s stereotypes with no redeemable features, but considering how annoying their boys are I'd probably be angry all the time too.
The Dads, Dads. Horrible racist old people stereotypes. If my Dad was anything like either of those arseholes I'd kick him out.
Sean, Sean Saves the World. Does this one really need an explanation?
Donald Ressler, The Blacklist. This guy is supposed to be a federal agent so why is he such an idiot? Seriously, he's got less common sense than a carrot. He's basically there to spout out the occasional negative one liners.
And a final (dis)honourable mention for Kelly Clarkson, The Crazy Ones. If she's like that in real life then I don't want to meet her any more, she was horrible.

Who do you dislike?
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1. James Spader

2. Lizzy Caplan (Emmy nomination prediction !)

3. The kid who plays Bert !
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I thought you typed "Mr. or Ms. Bustybottom" which sounds far more interesting.

Red Reddington is awesome, either he's super evil and has a bigger plan, or he's pretended to be evil for decades to take down the worst of the evil. But Spader plays it so well that it doesn't matter to me whether he's good or bad, whether he's Keen's dad (he's not) or just using her weakness from her own father's failings against her.

Hate hate hate Gina on Brooklyn 9-9, this character is grating and trying way too hard.

So if only Tim likes The Goldbergs on the staff, who made enough noise to make him (Tim) single that statement out when he (Tim) wrote that blurb? Jen?

Oh, is Cristin Milioti on How I Met Your Mother? I wouldn't know, haven't seen her in a fuckin' while.

I liked Ichabod Crane on Sleepy Hollow, but not enough to count in a list like this.

Yeah, right on, Harris on Michael J Fox Show is a great character, too bad they have no idea what to do with him most of the time.

Melinda May needs a better outfit, that leather vest on long sleeves looks so stupid, and she NEVER changes. I like the idea of her, I like the actress, but so far they haven't done enough with her.

So is Robbie Amell's torso also a more belieavable actor?
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Madame LaLaurie is absolutely creepy, but hilarious! I lol'd when she realized that 'murica had a black president and cried over it and then hissed LIES. Also lol @ when she was assigned to be the maid and then Gabourey Sidibe's personal slave! haha! That bitch is la cray cray!
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I love the whole cast of AHS. This my first season watching this series. After the season, i'll have to go back and watch season 1's Haunting and 2's Asylum. The other new characters i like, are Ichabod and Abby, and Skye and Melinda from SHIELD. I look forward to Almost Human, from the sneak peaks, it appears i'm going to like Dorian's character as well.
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Mary from theCW's Reign so far
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I agree with most of the list. I was torn between choosing Ichabod or Red, I went with Red because Spader seems to be absolutely flourishing in his bad-guy role. While I like Ming-Na Wen, I'm not digging her character on S.H.I.E.L.D. but perhaps that's from my tepid feelings about the show overall. If it were my list I would have included Dr Ellen Sanders (Toni Collette) from Hostages and Helen-Alice (Liza Papira) from Super Fun Night. Both shows are not the best so I see why the roles are not coming through as fabulously as they should.
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Poor Heather Hall, she can't even beat - Other. Great Linetti gif.
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I'm really enjoying Ichabod Crane, Melinda May and Reddington on their respective shows, so they get my vote
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Ichabod Crane my new idol, He's the best !!! Although I can leave Winston behind.
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Ken Marino on Eastbound & Down is doing great work this season.

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Chelsea Peretti is very funny, but Joe Lo Truglio is the real breakout of that show. Gina has been in the background for the most part, while Joe's Charles is front and center. Plus, it's Joe Lo Truglio.
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Glad Bert got a shout out on the poll! Trophy Wife has been one of the best surprises of the season for me and Bert cracks me up
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HBO's funny new comedy about dating in Los Angeles

Seriously? You're trying to get this show to live on? Shame on you.

When is a black man a .............? When is a gay man a..................?

Really? That your kind of humor? Merchant should be ashamed of himself - unless he really is a misogynistic racist homophobic wanker in real life.
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Knave of Hearts from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. He's worth suffering through the bad CGI...he's so captivating!
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No he's not, but I do agree he is about the only relatable character on that show.
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Gina from Brooklyn Nine-Nine is great, there are plenty of characters that deserve to be on this list too from that show (Captain Holt, Detective Boyle & Detective Diaz.)
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Agreed. As amusing as Gina is, Diaz makes up crack up more often - usually just with a look!
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Captain Ray Holt (Andre Braugher) from Brooklyn 99 is fantastic. His totem of solitude and wisdom only enhances the ridiculous goings-ons around him. He kills it everytime!

And Bert from Trophy Wife is excellent. A constant source of glee.

I also really enjoyed Greg Grunberg in episode three of Masters of Sex.
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Andre Braugher is a consummate pofessional.
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It took me a while to think about voting for Agent Coulson because, being a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he is very much not a new character. (4 movies and a TV show, counting...)
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*for me.
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I'd just like to add Bonnie (Alison Janney) from Mom and Jackie (Michaela Watkins) from Trophy Wife.
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yes to jackie! trophy wife has a lot of great new characters
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I could also state that Marcia Gay Harden is wonderful, but that would be redundant.
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The Minotaur on AHS Coven.
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Precious worked her vajayjay for that hunk beast! LOL
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It gave me the heebie-jeebies just reading that.
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I love Sleepy Hollow, every character in it, but my absolute favorite has to be Jennifer Mills, I like Abbie, but sometimes I wish Jennifer was the series regular.
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We absolutely want Jennifer to join as a regular. How awesome would it be to have two sisters kicking butt with Ichabod each week? Also, how the heck has this show become our favourite new show of the season?! It wasn't even on our radar originally
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I've alwys thought Jenny and Sheriff Corbin must have been a force to be reckon with back on the day.

But I wouldn't change Abbie and Ichabod even if I could get the Sheriff back (best mentor of the TV season, by the way).
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Seriously?!? Melinda May?!? Oh dear lord...
Don't get me wrong, I loved Ming-Na in most of her preivous work (Eureaka, SGU) but on shield she is absolutely terrible. She is great doing a diplomatic power figure but as a "tough chick" she is absolutely terrible.
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We liked her to start, but each week's it's the same. She needs a backstory ASAP
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I voted for Madison Montgomery cos I secretly have a crush on her...
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Who doesn't?
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"... but with the lady-boner-killing obstacle of being in a wheelchair."
I know dudes in a chair with so much game that Barney Stinson would turn away ashamed.
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never liked ming na. she aws annoying in ER. she was annoying in that stargate universe that didnt last long. i find her annoying over all and refuse to watch stuff she is in :/
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I'm not sold on Winston being a break out "new" character because he found so many ways to steal scenes last yea. In the first year he was clearly overlooked, but that may have been because of the re-casting of the role after the pilot and they just didn't know which way to go. But last year they clearly felt they knew what Lamorne Morris could do with him and he became much more than a one facet character. So last year he would have had my vote. This year, I EXPECT him to chew up scenes and make me laugh, so I couldn't vote for him/
Love Winston, love Winston to death.
just not new,
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how Red Reddington isnt higher on that list is beyond me! He´s easily the best character this fall season. James Spader was made for that role. And he´s closely followed by Ichabod Crane . That should be top 2, after that I dont really care.
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We see their point that sometimes it's less of a character and more "James Spader being awesome." Maybe that's it?
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Madison and Fiona from American Horror Story.And sorry but the SHIELD characters are too undeveloped IMO.
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The bus was not full if date rapers. It was full of gang bangers. How many dates did you see her on that night, one at a push, not eight.
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BERT!!!!!! Every second he's on screen is gold!!
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"and the Emmy Award winner for outstanding lead actor in a drama series goes to: THE STUNTMAN IN THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN SUIT!!!"

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Why is Melinda May even on this list? Skye is a much better character on that show and I feel like people are voting just because its Ming-Na.
Ichabod Crane and Madison Montgomery are great new characters.
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My friend said that she's like a cop version of April of Parks and Recreation, but i still like Rosa Diaz from Brooklyn Nine Nine. Also Charles Boyle. AND Winston Letterman.
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I want more Fitz and Simmonds on Agents of Shield. Period.
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Can't say I agree with a lot of these.

I actually hated Gina for the first four episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but she was clearly the standout in the fifth episode, "The Vulture". The problem I have with her is that she's so mean-spirited to her co-workers, and I don't like laughing at someone been mean at the expense of others, even on television. So my verdict is still out on her, but I definitely put Diaz, Boyle and Holt above her in terms of best characters on the show.

The Mother? Really? Like you said, she's been in two episodes, how can she have made such a profound impact on anyone? Marshal's road trip partner Daphne (Sherri Shepard) is much more fun to watch in terms of new characters.

I wouldn't vote for Crane or May, but I suppose they're bright spots on shows were every other character is extremely boring/ generic (except Skye on Agents of SHIELD, I like her).

Including Winston is cheating, and even if this was a best character list of the fall season, he would be nowhere near, he'd probably be on my worst, actually. 'He's simply been transformed from "token black guy" to "token weirdo"—but he's been so entertaining lately that we can't be too upset' - yes he has, but we should be upset about it! Why would anything 'token' on a television show ever be considered good.

YES! YES! YES! To Davina from The Originals (can you tell I voted for her?). I love a good female villain, but television has been void of a good one for a long while, so the powerful yet strangely naïve Davina is a breath of fresh air as the woman standing in-between The Originals and taking back New Orleans. To be fair though, The Originals has a lot of great characters, Marcel is also good, and I'm also oddly intriguing by Klaus' new protégé,

The same could be said for American Horror Story, but again, Madison as the number one pick is a stand out, although Delphine, Fiona, Queenie and Nan are also standouts.

In addition to these I'd also add Valentin Narcisse from Boardwalk Empire and Jedikiah Price from The Tomorrow People.
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Ichabod and Abbie (SH), Fitz and Simmons (MAoS), as someone mentioned the improved Carol (TWD)
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Winston is an interesting choice. New Girl truly has done wonders with its supporting cast. Season 1 seemed to only really allow Schmidt to shine, then Nick became the MVP of season 2 and now Winston is the stand out. It really helps to keep the show fresh.
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