Quick Question: Who Are Your All-Time Favorite Supporting Characters?

Chances are, if you love a show, the reason is that you love the characters. It frankly doesn't matter how genius the premise or how well executed the production—if you don't want to spend time with the human beings involved, then the show's headed for the elephant graveyard of dead series. Everybody knows that good lead characters are essential, but often it's the quality of the supporting cast that really elevates a show to greatness. Think about it: All our favorite shows have at least one character who regularly steals scenes from the leads, and those characters can sometimes be even more likeable than the leads (see first example below). So whether they're third-billed or simply running gags, the following characters are some of my favorite supporting players. Who are yours?



Caroline Forbes of The Vampire Diaries


Candice Accola's character began as a fairly run-of-the-mill, overachieving blonde goody-goody, which made her a suitable target for Damon's Season 1 lothario-villain ways. But it wasn't until a town-wide, anti-vampire silent alarm caused her future-werewolf boyfriend to crash their car (long story) and Caroline was turned into a vampire in her hospital bed by Elena's evil doppelganger Katherine (long story) that Caroline really came into her own. Ever since becoming a vampire, Caroline's been the heart of the show: vulnerable, sometimes confused, but brave and empathetic and endowed with super-powers that place her firmly in superhero territory. And she's hilarious! Definitely hilarious. Caroline's the best, basically.



Buddy Garrity of Friday Night Lights


While everybody was busy singing the praises of Coach and Tami's marriage or Taylor Kitsch's clingy western shirts, one essential and under-the-radar character became crucial to the show's success: Buddy Garrity. All the best supporting characters can be defined by their complexities, and Buddy was no exception: Frequently shady, corrupt, and scheming, he also had a human capacity for guilt, correcting his mistakes and eventually doing the right thing. Even after his daughter left Dillon for college, he remained crucial to Coach Taylor's journey, providing some truly heartwarming support for a rival high school during the particularly rough events of Season 4. Add to that Brad Leland's blustery, nuanced performance, and Buddy remains one of the most unique (and real) characters in TV history.



Caprica Six of Battlestar Galactica


Though Tricia Helfer's face was the unofficial logo of Battlestar Galactica, her talents were spread between so many different iterations of her Cylon model that none of them were really ever lead characters. The best Six character by far was the original: The woman who became known as Caprica Six began the miniseries as one of the most loathsome terrorists on television, snapping an infant's neck within the first ten minutes and personally initiating a nuclear holocaust. But after becoming a celebrity among her own people, this Cylon had a change of heart, which led to her becoming a savior of the human race and also a lynchpin in the series finale. I'm a sucker for villains who go good (and vice versa) and Caprica Six is a grade-A example. For an artificial life form, Caprica Six was one of the most human characters in that world.



Julie Cooper of The O.C.


For a brief, shining moment, The O.C. was one of the more incredible series on TV. Its breakneck storytelling made it basically the proto-Vampire Diaries, and its knack for comedy made it a weekly joy to behold. The character who most summed up its sensibility was Marissa's trampy mother Julie, played by future Vampire Diaries and Nikita star Melinda Clarke. Her tossed-off one-liners put Joan Collins to shame and her character was always up for some hilariously bad behavior (sleeping with her daughter's boyfriend! Sex tapes! Marrying millionaire jerks!). While future seasons fleshed out Julie's character (and made her suffer through indignity after indignity), her brash, trashy outlook on life never stopped being a scene-stealer.



Gus Fring of Breaking Bad


Breaking Bad is the rare show where each successive season has improved on the last, culminating in a truly great Season 4. One big reason for Season 4's success was the front-and-center placement of the great Gus Fring, who until that point had been the little-seen catalyst for many of Walter White's fortunes and misfortunes. Common wisdom would have suggested that fleshing out Gus's background might detract from his mystery and power, but the opposite was true: The character continued growing richer and more sympathetic while never losing his terrifying presence. While he was simply well-written, a majority of the credit for Gus's awesomeness goes to Giancarlo Esposito, who, if there's any justice in the world, can now concentrate on racking up as many Oscars as possible.



Dr. Julianna Cox of Homicide: Life on the Street


For Homicide diehards, Michelle Forbes' mid-series addition as sexy medical examiner Julianna Cox was an example of crass NBC meddling, an attempt to lure a bigger viewership to its critically acclaimed but low-rated award-magnet of a series. But I'm gonna be controversial and say she was one of my favorite characters, and that she's probably what got me watching in the first place. So, good job, NBC! Maybe it's Forbes' sardonic line-readings or the fact that this interesting (and, come on, not that sexy) woman was just chillin' with corpses and having the occasional affair with troubled detectives, but I couldn't get enough of her. When the character unceremoniously quit, packed up her things, and disappeared, I couldn't believe it! Oh well, that's what DVD re-watches are for, I guess.



The Log Lady of Twin Peaks


Twin Peaks felt like a show made up ENTIRELY of supporting characters. Its male lead, Agent Cooper, was so weird as to be unknowable, and its female lead was a corpse. So there was quite a menagerie of supporting characters filling out the ranks. For sheer WTF-ery, Twin Peaks' most famous scene-stealer was probably the Log Lady, a local clairvoyant who had an intimate relationship with a chunk of wood. There's really nothing I can say that would cause this character to make anymore sense than that, and that's part of the reason why she was so amazing.



Mozzie of White Collar


Few things are known about the man known as White Collar's "Mozzie" (probably not his real name). But we do know his capacity for good is matched only by his capacity for bad, and his mere presence on the show functions as a bit of a thesis statement: Superheroes (like Neal Caffrey) are only ever one bad choice away from crossing over into the dark side, and Mozzie walks the line like no one else. As played by Willie Garson, he's also a bon vivant, someone who appreciates the finer things in life and heaps disdain upon square Agent Burke and anyone else unfortunate enough to lead a conventional life. What's so impressive about Mozzie as a character is that for someone who regularly delivers comic relief, he's not a joke. He's capable of some pretty huge things, both for better and for worse.



Constance Langdon of American Horror Story


Here's an example of a supporting character so good, she elevated an iffy show into something much better. I frankly can't even imagine an American Horror Story without Jessica Lange's showy entrances, florid speeches, and astoundingly un-PC one-liners. We're lucky the actress will be returning for the show's so-far-mysterious Season 2, but there's definitely cause for concern in that she won't be reprising the Constance character. Still though, if Lange brings half the charisma she brought to Season 1, we're probably in for another amazing character.



Rayanne Graff of My So-Called Life


This may be nostalgia talking, but the heyday of My So-Called Life coincided perfectly with my early high school years, therefore Angela's bad-news bestie Rayanne Graff was as appealing a high school student as I'd ever seen on TV. Hilarious and exciting and stylish and sad and troubled, A.J. Langer's character was just straight-up magnetic. So many appealing and nuanced performances on that show, but for my money Rayanne was the most compelling. And it bears complaining about every couple years, but seriously, ABC? 19 episodes? It would've KILLED you to produce those last three? To this day I wonder whether Rayanne and Angela ever became friends again after their epic falling-out, but that's probably by design. Rayanne (and the fate of the series) were about as messy as real life gets.



Hans Moleman of The Simpsons



I mean, come on:


Who are YOUR favorite supporting characters?

Comments (199)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
Both Caroline and Mozzie are epic but i'd have to say Caroline by a hair :D
Reply
Flag
I tried to stay away from ensemble shows and some of them don't make the show, but they would definitely fall short without them:

Archer - Dr. Krieger (Lucky Yates)

Arrested Development - Kitty Sanchez (Judy Greer)

Community - Dean Pelton (Jim Rash), Seor Chang (Ken Jeong) & Leonard (Richard Erdman)

Doctor Who - The Master (John Simm)

Frisky Dingo - Ronnie

Game of Thrones - Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen)

House - Dr. James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard)

Justified - Chief Deupty Art Mullen (Nick Searcy)

Life - Roman Nevikov (Garret Dillahunt)

Parks and Recreation - Jean-Ralphio (Ben Swchartz)

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Q (John de Lancie)

Supernatural - Castiel (Misha Collins)

The IT Crowd - Douglas Renholm (Matt Berry) & Richmond (Noel Fielding)

The Mighty Boosh - Bob Fossil (Rich Fulcher)

Twin Peaks - FBI Cheif Gordon Cole (David Lynch)

Veronica Mars - Vinnie Van Lowe (Ken Marino)
Reply
Flag
eric van der woodsen from gossip girl, hands down. always so full of bubbly energy (considering the show began with him trying to kill himself) and sincerity, he often held the show together and was the smartest of the kids and the one who you didn;t feel the need to bash over the head from time to time. i wish to heaven he was still on the show!!! (maybe that;s why season 5 sucks so bad???)

and tom in cougar town, who doesn't love whenever tom sneaks up behind them and desperately tries to join the gang?

and my personal favorite would be beaver from greek. it seems like nobody watched greek, but those who did know what i;m talking about. especially cause the guy who plays beaver nowadays is always in stuff where he plays the jock or the bully, in greek he was the gentle giant who what he lacked for in brains he made up for in genuine caringness and concern for his friends.
Reply
Flag
Ryan O'Reiley from Oz
Reply
Flag
AHS - Constance Langdon

Angel - Fred (and all the other but she was my favorite)

Avatar The Last Airbender - Toph, Appa/Momo, and Uncle Iroh

Babylon 5 - Ivonava

Battlestar Galactica - Caprica Six and Dee

Beastmaster - Corapira, Sorceress and The Ancient One

Being Human US - Nora

Bored to Death - George Christopher

Breaking Bad - Gus Fring

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Giles, Anya (and the rest of the scooby gang)

Caprica - Lacy Rand

Charmed - Leo

Dead Like Me - Roxy

Desperate Housewives - Karen McCluskey

Dexter - Harry

Doctor Who - Rose

Drawn Together - Princess Clara

Eastwick - Penny

Eureka - Jo

Falling Skies - John Pope

Farscape - Rigel

Fringe - Astrid

Game of Thrones - The Dire Wolves and Dragons

Greek - Beaver

Grimm - Monroe

Haven - Duke

Hercules TLJ - Iolaus

Heroes - Niki Sanders/Tracy Strauss

Kyle XY - Jessie

Legend of the Seeker - Cara

Lost Girl - Kenzi

Merlin - Gwen

Monster Rancher - Golem

New Girl - Schmidt

Nurse Jackie - Mrs. Gloria Akalitus

Once Upon a Time - Snow White/Mary Margaret

Party Down - Henry

Primeval - Conner

Reno 911! - Deputy Trudy Wiegel

Ringer - Juliet

Rome - Titus Pullo

Sanctuary - Nickla Tesla

Smallville - Martha

Spartacus - Lucretia

Star Trek Voyager - 7 of 9

Stargate Atlantis - Dr. Rodney McKay

Stargate SG-1 - Bratac

Stargate Universe - Dr. Rush

Supernatural - Bobby

Teen Wolf - Stiles

Terra Nova - Skye

The 4400 - Diana Skouris

The Event - Simon Lee

The Gates - Claire Radcliff

The Riches - Nina Burns

The River - AJ

The Secret Circle - Diana

The Sopranos - Christopher

The Tudors - Charles Brandon

The Vampire Diaries - Caroline Forbes

The Walking Dead - Andrea

Torchwood - Gwen

True Blood - Pam

V 1984 - Diana

V 2009 - Ryan Nichols

Warehouse 13 - Claudia

Weeds - Andy

Wilfred US - Jenna

Xena Warrior Princess - Gabrielle



And oh so many more.....

More+
Reply
Flag
Mozzie is definitely my personal favorite !
Reply
Flag
Favorite Hans Moleman line ever. When he gets locked in the quickymart, "You stole 5 minutes of my life and i want them back!"
Reply
Flag
Alias: Marshall, Will and Sark D=<

Lost: Hurley

X Files: Lone gunmen

Game of Thrones: Tyrion (but is he kind of main now??)

Fringe: Walter

Grimm: Eddie
Reply
Flag
MORGAN GRIMES. EPIC.
Reply
Flag
Mozzie was great but probably wont get that many votes because White collar isnt that popular
Reply
Flag
Bobby of Supernatural of course!
Reply
Flag
Omar, of course, Al Swearengen, Spike, Logan Echolls,
Reply
Flag
Without any doubt ... GUS FRING FTW !! :)
Reply
Flag
Buster from Arrested Development, or really any character from that show for that matter.
Reply
Flag
The guy that played victor on dollhouse always made me laugh and topher stole the show for me.
Reply
Flag
Eddie Monroe from Grimm: Silas Weir Mitchell is probably the only reason I keep watching the show. He's both comedic relief, Obi wan to the only Grimm, and pretty much a bad-ass as a "glutbad" ... euh .. Wolf.

Karen Walker from Will & Grace: Oh come on, she's the best!!

Lord Varys "The Spider" from Game Of Thrones: For a eunuch, he sure has got every man by the balls ;-). Love every scene with him.

Reply
Flag
Oh, and Summer Glau in everything, and...she had nothing to do with any of their cancellations. She just needs to do a show with Ted McGinley and it'll last 23 seasons...
Reply
Flag
I LOL'd, not gonna lie. XD
Reply
Flag
Buddy Garrity was a great character. Not a perfect man but a great human being who grows and grows on you. Love Julie Cooper and Melinda Clarke. And, of course, Michelle Forbes. My latest personal favorite is Jasika Nichol, Fringe's own Astro...
Reply
Flag
Um.....Brittany on Glee?????
Reply
Flag
Absolutely....
Reply
Flag
1. Vampire Diaries-Caroline Forbes. Caroline becoming a vampire was like the best thing that happened to that show. 2. True Blood-Lafayette and Jessica. 3. Law and Order: SVU- Munch and Tutuola. 4. Person of Interest-Fusco.
Reply
Flag
Dawn Chamberlain from TSC all the way
Reply
Flag
Seriously people, I looked at least 30-40 posts back and not one mention of the support cast of Castle... Personally I think they are all doing a stellar job and each can capture a scene and own it at any given time but my personal favorites would have to be:

1. Alexis - that has to be the single most responsible, mature and sensible teen of all time .. plus she can make Castle squirm like only one other person on that show ..

2. Lanie - pretty much does to Beckett what Alexis does to Castle ...

which is why I am praying those two put their heads together and come up with some plan(preferably something with a potential for lots of laughs) to fix the current mess our beloved leads are in. But I am not holding out much hope given the general tone of the entire season and Marlowe's determination to put them through the grinder... I guess I'll stick to fanfics on that one...

Back on topic here are some more favorite support chars:

Andromeda: Harper (just plain hilarious)

Buffy/Angel: Spike (easily stole the show almost every time he took the stage, especially on Angel) and Faith (didn't get nearly enough screen time on Angel for my liking)

Vampire Diaries - like I'm going to disagree with the obvious .. Caroline

Supernatural: Bobby ( the guy is dead and he is still saving their asses)

Smallville: Chloe Sullivan and Oliver Green

Lost Girl: Kenzi

White Collar: Mozzie (seriously though ... who else would it be)

I probably can come up with more but at 3 AM I'm not inclined to put that much effort in

More+
Reply
Flag
Peggy from Mad Men, Steve/Jimmy from Shameless, and Wade from Hart of Dixie.
Reply
Flag
Trinity from Dexter and Gus Fring from Breaking Bad
Reply
Flag
Buffy/Angel: Drusilla, Faith

Supernatural: Lucifer, The Trickster

Lost: Ben Linus

OZ: Verne Schillinger

The Sopranos: Christopher Moltisanti
Reply
Flag
Yup, forgot Bobby and Castiel from Supernatural. And Cordelia Chase. Not to mention Lorne from Angel. And Birkhoff, Amanda, Jaden and Ryan from Nikita.
Reply
Flag
Definitely Caroline. Harriman from SG1. Astrid from Fringe. Darryl from Walking Dead. The Lone Gunmen from X Files. Angel from Dexter. Juliet's Mom (Grrrr. Cow!) from Ringer.
Reply
Flag
NCIS abby / lost ben linus / ally mcbeal john cage / alias jack bristow / Fringe Walter / how i met your mother barney / one tree hill dan / numbers larry /
Reply
Flag
Bobby and Castiel: they make the Winchester boys look dumb!!
Reply
Flag
It's funny, i've seen so many shows and the only truly awesome support characters i remember were Buffy's Willow and Zander... I guess no contest for me :)
Reply
Flag
Justified -BOYD CROWDER!!

Buffy/Angel- Cordelia Chase

Sons Of Anarchy- Wayne Unser

The Wire- Bunk

Reply
Flag
That 70's Show - Jackie Burkhart

Grey's Anatomy - Alex Karev

Sex and the City - Anthony

Glee - Quinn

Vampire Diaries - Caroline Forbes

Gossip Girl - Jenny Humphrey
Reply
Flag
Constance Langdon and Gus. You missed Desmond from Lost too.
Reply
Flag
My all time favorites include:

CHARLIE'S ANGELS - Bosley

MAGNUM P.I. - Higgins

THE NANNY - Niles

FRIENDS - Dr. Richard Burke

FRASIER - Niles Crane

HOME IMPROVEMENT - Wilson Wilson

CHARMED - Cole Turner

GILMORE GIRLS - Luke Danes

ER - Carol Hathaway

DHARMA & GREG - Kitty Montgomery

ALLY MCBEAL - John Cage

SEX AND THE CITY - Mr. Big

SMALLVILLE - Oliver Queen

THE CLOSER - Detective Lt. Provenza

BONES - Dr. Lance Sweets



TRUE BLOOD - Pam

PERSON OF INTEREST - Detective Joss Carter

A GIFTED MAN - Rita Perkins-Hall and Anton Little Creek

GRIMM - Eddie Monroe

THE GOOD WIFE - Eli Gold

HAWAII 5-0 - Dr. Max Bergman

MAKE IT OR BREAK IT - Sasha Beloff

REVENGE - Nolan Ross

SMASH- Eileen Rand







Reply
Flag
Claude Reins from Heroes Season 1. I MISS Heroes Season 1, and I miss Claude Reins.
Reply
Flag
1. Karen : Californication

2. HELENA PEABODY : THE L WORD

3. BETTY : MAD MEN

4. SIX : BSG 2003

5. JULIA : nip tuck

6. Kitty O'Neill : BOSS

7. Shane Vendrell : THE SHIELD

8. Cassie : Skins

9.Adrianna Tate-Duncan : 90210

10 Quinn : GLEE

11.OPIE : SOA

12.Caroline : TVD

13.SUN : LOST

14.Aarya : GOT

15. Caroline Channing : 2 Broke girls

16 Daryl :The Walking Dead

17 ERIN : BLUE BLOOD

18 SAUL : Breaking Bad

19 JESSICA : True Blood

20 DOAKS : Dexter
Reply
Flag
Aarya's not a supporting character lol.
Reply
Flag
Heroes - Noah "HRG" Bennet foreverrrrrr (Not sure if he can be categorized as supporting, but he wasn't even a main character at first. This is how awesome he is. AWESOME.)

Lost - Ben Linus (Same question: Do these ensemble shows have supporting characters really?)

Person Of Interest - Fusco

Charmed - Cole

Justified - Boyd Crowder

TVD - Caroline

AHS - Constance

Revenge - Noal Ross

The Office - Oscar

BSG - Boomer

X-Files - CSM

Arrested Development - Tobias

Game of Thrones - Jorah
Reply
Flag
Noah Bennet was amazing on that show. I forgot him
Reply
Flag
I'm a huge fan of the actor/character so I'm definitely biased, but really, he is one the best TV characters of all time. It's sad to see how he's always forgotten for posts/questions like this even though he is still a big favorite among many genre fans.
Reply
Flag
Skinner from x files, pierce from community, tobias from arrested



hmm all bald
Reply
Flag
Yeah Skinner was nice, loved how he slowly got unwanted tangled up in everything ... I liked that.
Reply
Flag
First I would have to say Caroline Forbes. Before she was a vamp I totally hated her, but now they actually have me cheering for her now... Julie Cooper, I can see it, what kept me interested was that she was so trashy and totally did what she had to do in order to take care of her daughters, I can appreciate that. Gus Fring, there are just no words, all I can say is watching Giancarlo Esposito on Once Upon a Time is just so wrong, he actually looks kind of silly. His acting was so amazing on Breaking Bad that Gus Fring is all I see him as now. I adore Jessica Lange, and I'm VERY happy they are finding a way to put Constance Langdon in AHS season 2! I don't care Price, be nostalgic! I loved A.J. Langer on My So Called Life! I was happy to see her on her little stint on Private Practice, I haven't seen her in anything in ages!
Reply
Flag
Just put together a list of supporting characters whose respective shows they each star in would not be as great as they are without their talents.



[My personal favourites are marked with a *]

(In no particular order)



Celia Hodes (Weeds)*

Conrad (Weeds)

Edie Britt (Desperate Housewives)

John Rowland (Desperate Housewives)

Katherine Mayfair (Desperate Housewives)

Renee Perry (Desperate Housewives)

Angie Bolen (Desperate Housewives)

Georgina Sparks (Gossip Girl)

Ranjit (How I Met Your Mother)

Hurley (Lost)*

Juliet (Lost)

Charlie (Lost)

Lafayette (True Blood)

Hoyt (True Blood)

Jessica (True Blood)

Pam (True Blood)*

Anna Stern (The OC)

Alex (The OC)

Vaughn (Alias)*

Weiss (Alias)

Marshall (Alias)*

Sark (Alias)

Spike (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)*

Faith (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)*

Fred [Winifred] (Angel)*

Lorne (Angel)*

Ari Gold (Entourage)*

Lloyd (Entourage)

Sloane (Entourage)

Shauna (Entourage)*

Marcy Runkle (Californication)*

Penny (The Big Bang Theory)

Amy Farrah Fowler (The Big Bang Theory)

Lana Lang (Smallville)

Lex Luther (Smallville)

Schmidt (New Girl)*

Dallas Royce (Suburgatory)*

Dalia Royce (Suburgatory)*
Reply
Flag
Spike from Buffy
Reply
Flag
I'll take advantage of my many, many years of TV watching and choose Niles from Frasier and Dietrich from Barney Miller. They never fail to make me laugh.
Reply
Flag
I'll see your Niles and Dietrich(both excellent choices) and raise you 1 Dennis Weaver as Chester on Gunsmoke, and go all-in with Rowdy Yates on Rawhide, played by some newbee uuuh what's his name Oh yeah Clint Eastwood!!



Reply
Flag
Walter (Don Francks) from ''La Femme Nikita''.
Reply
Flag
Chloe in 24

Reply
Flag
ugly naked guy from FRIENDS :D
Reply
Flag
True Blood: Lafayette



Reply
Flag
The Walking Dead - Zombie Sophia



(Actually all the zombies deserve credit, thanks to overworked and underpaid extras who toil under tons of makeup in the southern heat, and without which there would be no series!)
Reply
Flag
TVD: Caroline and Katherine. I don't think I can choose.

Teen Wolf: Stiles

Gilmore Girls: Jess

Lost: Ben

Supernatural: Castiel
Reply
Flag
Bones: Caroline Julian (the prosecutor)...she's just awesome in every episode where she appears
Reply
Flag
YES! Caroline is definitely awesome :D
Reply
Flag
like someone said to many to name alls but a here's a few



Supernatural : Castiel and Bobby

all of supporting characters from Buffy/Angel/Firefly

The Lone gunmens from the X-files (they made a serie (unfortunatly not long) with them!)

Walter in Fringe

Desmond in Lost

Reply
Flag
Yes! Cas, Bobby, Walter and Desmond, bother! Can I add Helen (Supernatural) Astrid, Billy Bell, and even Walternate (Fringe)!!!
Reply
Flag
Its crazy Walter that keeps me watching Fringe, each time I see Walternate I come to think that it is one scene lost to him instead of showing true Walter ... as Walternate he is as dull as the rest of the cast/show ... sadly ... used to love Fringe but they are overdoing it.

Guess you can't argue about taste :D You like walternate and that is fine, would be sad if we were all alike :-)
Reply
Flag
Totally with you on Supernatural and Buffy/Angel/Firefly.



I'd like to add that Scrubs' "B-team", as they called them, were great. Ted and the janitor were especially awesome.



Oh, and the supporting cast of Archer! Ray and Dr. Krieger are great!
Reply
Flag
Load More Comments

Like TV.com on Facebook