Why is TV better than real life? Because every year, it presents us with a bunch of new people and we get to pick and choose who we'd like to have as friends for the duration of the season. The ones who impress us earn the privilege of spending 30 or 60 minutes in our living rooms every week. Those who don't get banished from our lives with a simple click. We, the television viewers, hold all the power here. This is our Conveyor Belt of Love!
Below, we've assembled a list of our favorite new faces from the fall, and there's a poll at the bottom of this page with plenty of new characters who are fighting for the title of Best New Character. But first, let's take a closer look at some of the candidates selected by our staff.
Danny Castellano (Chris Messina) on The Mindy Project
The perfect contrast to Mindy's girly sunshine, Danny is the cocky doc who gets his rules on life from Esquire. It would be easy to dismiss him as the resident jerk, but he's written in a way that tempers the ridiculous behavior of The Mindy Project's other characters. When Danny points out Mindy's faults, he elevates both Mindy and himself to something more. He's the cynical voice the show needs if girlfriends are going to get their boyfriends to watch, and a key component to what makes this show work. Plus he's got crazy dope dance moves, yo!
Captain Marcus Chaplin (Andre Braugher) on Last Resort
Of all the great characters in this new (and now "limited-edition") offering from Shawn Ryan, the main draw is the booming voice and authoritative presence of the Cap'n. We've seen strong military figures come and go, but Chaplin adds just enough unrefined crazy to the norm that we get the feeling he might actually turn the key and level Washington, D.C. It makes him more than just a mouthpiece for spangled stars and stripes and creates a real quandary for those who serve below him, and that's why this drama is one of the best new shows of the season, even if it won't be sticking around.
BJ (Lucy Punch) on Ben and Kate
This show can be so sweet that it can kill you. But standing out from Ben's stammering and Kate's "aww shucks" goody-goodiness is the brash BJ, Kate's best friend and one of the few characters on the series who isn't afraid to unbutton her blouse and suck on some weed candy. She may be the devil on Kate's shoulder, but as long as a devil has a sexy British accent, she's perfectly okay with us.
Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) on Homeland
We thought we'd seen every single type of psychopath in Showtime's hit, and then THIS guy came along. He stabs hands! He shows Carrie his birthday suit! He gets shot and lives! The guy is cockier than John Holmes on Viagra, but he's so damn good at his job, it's hard to blame him.
Mr. K (Brett Gelman) on Go On
This guy is weird. In the perfect way.
Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) on Nashville
A lot of the attention (deservedly) goes to Connie Britton's Rayna James because Britton is 10 kinds of awesome, but we're even more enamored with Juliette's whoring, scheming ways. The show doesn't let her off easily, either; she botched an opportunity to salvage her name after a shoplifting incident and has a meth-addict for a mom. This makes her both pitiful and sympathetic, which sounds like a real person to us.
Arrow's Torso (Stephen Amell's torso) on Arrow
Few shows are more defined by one image than Arrow and the moguls that've been carefully sculpted onto the spot where Oliver Queen's beer gut should be. But Stephen Amell's torso is more than just eye candy for fitness fanatics and spinsters, it's a firm, fleshy symbol of just how super this new superhero is... not to mention how much time he had on that island with a coconut Ab Roller.
UPDATE: It seems Mr. Amell would appreciate your vote.
Sherlock Holmes (Johnny Lee Miller) on Elementary
Did we really need another Sherlock? No, but we're happy we got this one anyway. The idea of a recovering drug addict with a British accent on an American show dazzled us as much as his legendary deductive skills. But most of the accolades go directly to Miller, who finally gets his break on Stateside television with a role that suits him perfectly.
Tony DeMeo (Erik Palladino) on 666 Park Avenue
Oh man! Have you seen this guy? The cranky doorman/concierge at Hotel Hell? He's hilarious, whether he means to be or not. One of the bright spots in this mess of a series.
Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe) on American Horror Story: Asylum
The actress getting the most out of the FX series' seasonal reboot is Rabe, who started out by putting on a sweet habit as the innocent nun who knew when she needs to be spanked... but is now possessed by a mischievous demon. This show is loaded with impressive new weirdos, but Rabe's soft features are a thing of beauty, peeking out from under her nun's wardrobe, and when those eyes goes demon black, they're as scary and off-putting as anything else in this terrifying and demented hour.
Now let's get Democratic up in here and put this to the popular vote. Go ahead and vote for as many characters as you like—and feel free to suggest additions in the comments! (And yes, we'll soon be asking you for the WORST new characters, too.)