The 10 Best New Characters of the 2014 Midseason

Our lives may be full of all the same boring people we've always known—ma and pa, that cute barista who we never have the courage to ask out, that guy who keeps bugging us to sell our kidneys—but thankfully, we have television to keep things interesting! The medium is a rotating door of fresh faces, and with the 2014 midseason well underway, there's a parade of new characters marching through our living rooms! So I asked the TV.com staff to name their favorites, and you'll find the results below in list-like form. Check 'em out, then share your own picks in the comments!


Captain Flint, Black Sails

A true pirate isn't trusted by anyone, not even other pirates. Thick as thieves, but thin as pirates as they say ("they" in this case = people I just made up). And Black Sails' Captain Flint is the truest of pirates. Ostensibly the series' main character, Flint flutters between being a protagonist and an antagonist, a hero and an anti-hero, a noble captain and a selfish jerk. And it's that intriguing uncertainty, portrayed brilliantly by Toby Stephens, that makes Flint so great; even after watching the entirety of Season 1, we're still not sure whether to salute him or flip him the bird. 


Lincoln, Broad City

Yeah, you probably expected us to include Abbi and Ilana instead (which would've been the obvious yet totally acceptable option because they're great), but our Broad City representative is Hannibal Buress's hopeful punching bag Lincoln. The running gag is that Ilana simply doesn't appreciate her loyal f*ck-buddy (he was mid-coitus with Ilana when we met him in the pilot, and she was paying more attention to her simultaneous Skype session with Abbi), even though he's probably too good for her. Lincoln's mellow vibe is a perfect counter to Ilana's hyperactivity, and it's Buress's subtlety that usually steals the scene. But you wanna know the best thing about Lincoln? He's a dentist!


Rust Cohle, True Detective

No one stormed television in 2014 like beer-can origami master Rustin Cohle, the enigmatic half of True Detective's odd couple. His trademark mouth diarrhea was full of philosophical nonsense (or was it metaphysical brilliance?), inspiring millions of people to quote him online and probably a dozen people to ill-conceived tattoos. And even though the man was difficult to work with, he was hella-good at his job. Matthew McConaughey is a lock for an Emmy with his performance, and kooky Rustin might just make the our list of the best TV characters of all time. Alas, True Detective's anthology approach means we've seen the last of Cohle for good... aside from a bazillion internet parodies and bad couples' Halloween costumes. 


Dr. Hiroshi Hatake, Helix

Syfy's insane Friday-night drama needs a steady anchor, and that man is Dr. Hiroshi Hatake. While the rules of physics and nature crumble and cause chaos for everyone else, Hatake is there to calmly keep them cool. And we assume that "Hatake" means "ninja-like question dodger" in Japanese, because no matter what entirely reasonable queries the CDC scientists throw at him, he always manages to end the conversation with, "Now is not the time to discuss that"—especially when "now" is the PERFECT time to discuss "that." Then he just goes about his business brewing immortality gene therapy like a boss. And none of it would work if it weren't for Hiroyuki Sanada's appropriately stoic performance.


Forrest MacNeil, Review


Comedy Central's hilarious new series wouldn't work without its host and "life experience" reviewer Forrest MacNeil. The things he rates on a five-star scale—stealing, addiction, making a sex tape—are funny on their own, but it's MacNeil's deadpan delivery and earnest approach to each experience that makes the series more than just a simple gag. When he became very addicted to cocaine while doing his research and actor Andy Daly unleashed the fury of a man whose altered brain chemistry had flipped on the party-mode switch, it was magical.


Kira, Teen Wolf

Teen serials with tight-knit casts always face a big risk when adding a new character to the mix. Nobody wants a Cousin Oliver situation, least of all Teen Wolf with its, uh, "passionate" fanbase. But Kira's introduction felt both organic to Season 3 mythology (she's a kitsune!) and added a new audience surrogate to the weird world of Beacon Hills. Plus, you know, she's pretty awesome in her own right... those instantaneous samurai sword skills alone! And don't even get us started on her mother's stone-cold badassery. Assuming Kira survives the current season (which is NEVER a guarantee), she should make an invaluable addition to Scott's pack in the future.


Harold Levinson, Downton Abbey 

Paul Giamatti's Harold Levinson is the honey badger of Downton Abbey. In the wake of his involvement in the Teapot Dome scandal, Cora's fabulously rich but gleefully curmudgeonly brother was forced to join their mother on her European tour, complete with a visit to the in-laws and the full-grown adult nieces he never bothered to meet because screw them—British people are weird and his sister sold out for a title. But the way to Harold's heart was through his stomach and he thought the food was great, which put him right in line with one of our most beloved of tropes: the douchebag with a heart of gold. Don't let his crunchy exterior fool you; when one of Rose's fellow debutantes was offered up as a pretty young trophy wife, Harold was horrified and let his mushy side show. He's just a big ol' softie underneath.


Randy Hill, Enlisted

Fox's Army comedy is a whole lot more than "clean the latrine" jokes; creator Kevin Biegel has paid extra attention to make sure Enlisted has heart, and Randy Hill (Parker Young) is what makes it beat. Randy is defined by two characteristics: an unstoppable and disarming earnestness, and a serious case of the dum-dums. In concert, those traits reveal the show's heartfelt core through the eyes of an idealist, in stark contrast to the views of his two brothers, the cynical Derrick and the guarded Pete. And okay, even though we just gave you the academic reason for our appreciation of Randy, we'll happily admit that the real reasons he's on this list are his sensitivity to Pixar lamps and his fear of hats. 


Jay and Roscoe, Justified


FX's southern crime drama has fantastic characters coming out the wazoo, but this season's new duo of Jay and Roscoe stood out from the rest. Just the kind of opportunistic thug that Justified loves to throw into the mix to stir the pot, these brothers (played with charisma by real-life brothers Steve and Wood Harris) were a big reason this season broke out of its mid-season slump when they decided to take advantage of certain business partner's slack. We're always talking amongst ourselves about possible subjects for a Justified spin-off, and this pair of siblings is high up on our wishlist. 


Mary Watson, Sherlock


When Mary Watson (née Morstan) joined Sherlock this season, she was a pleasant addition to a series that's basically about two dudes hanging out and solving crimes. Much more clever (and funny) than her husband and baby-daddy, she was the smartest person in the room after Sherlock, which made her instantly likable and meant that she didn't put up with any of Sherlock's shit. She also posessed the mysterious power of getting Watson to shave his mustache, for which the entire world is grateful. Her former life as an assassin came out as a silly surprise in "His Last Vow," but the clues were all there, interspersed within seemingly innocuous moments of dialogue. But the fact that Mary might be an asset rather than a liability was the most refreshing of developments, because the last thing the series needs is a damsel in distress. 


Who would make YOUR list of the best new TV characters for the 2014 midseason?


Comments (181)
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Apr 25, 2014
Agreed on Mary Watson--superb casting and writing.

Tim, no Camryn Mannheim (Control) from POI ???? You said it yourself how perfect her casting is.

Honorable mentions should go to Root 2.0 (POI) and Slade 2.0 (Arrow), as both Amy Acker and Manu Bennett have pulled off character reversals so seamless and convincing that a number of fans have completely altered their feelings about the characters.

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Apr 01, 2014
I freaking hate Captain Flint. I prefer the supposed villain (Captain Vane). He's just so cool and direct.
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Mar 26, 2014
"ninja-like question dodger"

just great. i love the role/actor.
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Mar 25, 2014
Love Mary!! I love even more that she's Martin Freeman's real life special lady friend. Not sure why that makes me so happy. Maybe because these two are awesome together.
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Mar 25, 2014
Abraham from The Walking Dead. How is he not on this list?
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Mar 25, 2014
Jack Rackham from Black Sails, played brilliantly by Toby Schmitz.

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Mar 23, 2014
the guy that got killed in the pilot of the 100. that guy had some jokes in his pocket. too bad he had to go...

"i love earth"
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Mar 23, 2014
I like Kira but Nooooooooooooo Alisooooooooooooon
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Mar 23, 2014
I know, Banshee is not new, but I do feel I have to mention 2 players. Both great first place actors.
Hoon Lee plays Job
Frankie Farson plays Sugar
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Mar 22, 2014
I'd add Michael Cudlitz's character "Sgt. Abraham Ford" to the list. Having him back on my tv screen is fantastic!

My favorites are also Captain Flint, Dr. Hatake, Rustin Cohle, and Jay and Roscoe on Justified.
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Mar 22, 2014
Randy Hill is awesome!! and so is Derrick! Enlisted is looking really good! Hope they keep it around...
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Mar 22, 2014
Archer - Pam's new chest puppies FTW :)
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Mar 22, 2014
The Originals
Genevieve
Vampire Diaries
Liv
Sloane
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Mar 22, 2014
u forgott lara croft from the walking dead lol
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Mar 22, 2014
Tim! Surely you can't forget Almost Human's John Kennex! Complex, moody, brooding, charming, funny, intelligent, obnoxious, pig-headed and pretty damn hot too!


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Mar 24, 2014
Uhh, he's not a midseason character because Almost Human is a year-long show (it premiers in the fall, thus it's not midseason, and thus he's not eligible for the list).
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Mar 25, 2014
Sorry my bad - seems like a midseason since it's only been 13 episodes in total...! But hey, nothing wrong with this error in favorite of this guy, right?
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Mar 24, 2014
If you mention Kennex, you gotta mention Dorian in the same breath.
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Mar 22, 2014
Dr Hiroshi Hatake YES PLEASE.
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Mar 22, 2014
Randy Hill is indeed a great character, and I also happen to love Enlisted very very much.
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Mar 22, 2014
Rustin Cohle head and shoulders above the rest!!!
Incredible characterization, incredible acting, incredible series
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Mar 22, 2014
OMG watch the fox lounge sessions with the Enlisted cast. Parker/Randy... the lines get blurred. Maybe it's because I'm the middle child but I like Derrick the best. :) The three of them together really do make the show worth watching.
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Mar 21, 2014
I would so watch Toy Story 3 with Randy.
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Mar 21, 2014
Captain Flint is my favorite !!!
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Mar 21, 2014
Randy Hill is awesome! The middle brother in Enlisted is also funny and deserved to be listed here.

Dr. Hiroshi Hatake is great!

I don't like Kira from Teen Wolf...
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Mar 21, 2014
The entire cast of CHICAGO PD, not sure if that counts as mid season :/ hahaha

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Mar 21, 2014
It wasn´t Mary who made Watson shave his mustache, it was Sherlock... just saying
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Mar 21, 2014
I think it was both. Watson thought that Mary liked this and Sherlock just said he doesn't and Mary the same so he shaved it. She admitted that Sherlock was right so I suppose both is good.
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Mar 21, 2014
At the risk of sounding like a hormonal teenager, John from The Tomorrow People.
And I absolutely agree with you about Forrest MacNeil.
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Mar 22, 2014
John from tomorrow people is stunning inside and out
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Mar 21, 2014
I like Jake McLaughlin's character in "Believe" as Tate.
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Mar 22, 2014
As do I he is more than just a pretty face and body to look at.
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Mar 22, 2014
His face is pretty beaten up so far! LOL, he sure does take a beating. I just like the way that he and Johnny Sequoyah (Bo) chemistry works. They're dynamite and makes it work. J.J. Abrams has a knack for finding great unknown talent.

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Mar 22, 2014
The banter between them is what I love about believe
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Mar 21, 2014
Hannibal Buress is awesome, but man did I hate the Broad City pilot enough that he couldn't save it. I don't even remember if I finished said pilot.

Yeah, Forrest MacNeil is great, what I like about him so far is that he isn't carrying demons into his reviews. The divorce was brutal though. And it's not his deadpan that's funny, it's his deadpan TV guy attitude, it's exactly what works on actor Andrew Daly - corny, with a core of humanity underneath.

No, sorry, I can't give you Jay and Roscoe, the actors were good, but the characters were far more 2-dimensional and their dialogue felt like they were trying to force 10 ounces of dimension into a 5 ounce glass.

Ugh, really, Mary Watson the super-spy assassin mercenary? This was the most out-there thing on a show about Sherlock Fuckin' Holmes, this was just painfully contrived.

So, no love for the guys on Sirens? Almost everybody there has been pretty solid.
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Mar 22, 2014
Agree about Mary. Her spy past was ridiculous even by Mofatt standards .
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Mar 21, 2014
Mary Watson is essentially Snake Eyes from GI Joe, only he retired and married a doctor who blogs about his friend who solves crimes with deductive reason and heaps of guessing.
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Mar 21, 2014
Okay, not a new show. But the second season of Vikings has Travis Fimmel breaking out in an amazing performance as viking leader Ragnar Lothbrok.

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Mar 21, 2014
why isn't Review With Forrest MacNeil listed on tv.com?
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Mar 21, 2014
Never heard of Broad City. What channel is that on?
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Mar 21, 2014
Comedy Central.
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Mar 22, 2014
Not on Comedy Channel in Canada, unfortunately.

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Mar 23, 2014
MuchMusic in Canada. Whatever that is.
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Mar 24, 2014
Thanks! I'll check it out.
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Mar 21, 2014
I agree with most of these, and I also want to say about Kira: I think her character is not as interesting as the rest and she is not yet fully developed as an actress. But I really enjoy watching her, i can't explain it!
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Mar 21, 2014
I really love Kira too. I think the only reason she's coming off not as interesting is because they haven't had time to develop her character fully yet. I disagree about not being fully developed as an actress though. I think Arden Cho is great and hopefully we'll get to see more of her acting chops in season 4.
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Mar 21, 2014
Randy Hill & Dr Hiroshi are the only ones I know. Hope both shows get renewed. The mothers mother in "mom" is also missed off the list.
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Mar 21, 2014
Lucky we had Mary Watson and Kira, only females in the list. I can imagine Tim making the list and then asking around for a couple of girl names to add to it LOL.
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Mar 21, 2014
Mary is an interesting take on the character. I can't wait to see how they are going to incorporate her in new adventures.
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Mar 21, 2014
I love Mary so much! I kinda suspected she was hiding something since the begining but that didnt make me lover any less. She fits so well with John and Sherlock. I'm really happy the way the writers decided to portrait her.


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Mar 21, 2014
half your spin off brother series got shot in the chest while qouting shakespeare.. the show was ended before its time- it could've gone places
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Mar 21, 2014
Rust Cohle from True Detective
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Mar 21, 2014
Hatake is amazing ! You can tell he's always struggling with himself, between his feelings and what needs to be done.
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Mar 21, 2014
Captain Flint is a great complex tricky character, he really earned his place on this list!
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Mar 21, 2014
Chayton Littlestone - 'Banshee' - a mound of a man that would have made 'The Albino' quake in his boots. The first person to be introduced to this world that just pounded 'Lucas Hood' into the ground. So awesome in fact they let us know he's returning next season to be a major part of the action in the post script following the Season 2 finale. As portrayed wonderfully by Geno Segers, 'Chayton Littlestone' certainly made a very large impression. (The people making this show we love really, really know what they are doing.)

Sammi Gallagher - 'Shameless' - Broadway darling Emily Bergl has fit in quite lovely as Frank's heretofore unmentioned eldest daughter. To be able to step into a well moving show like 'Shameless' like you were there the entire time is no easy task and Bergl has made it look easy as 'Shameless' in its fourth season has soared to its highest ratings (much has to do with the work being done by the unfailing leader of this cast, Emmy Rossum). Bergl and William Macy have been wonderful showing this very strange father-daughter relationship develop from Frank first trying to con her and her starting to fall for him before he told her the truth. The best part - she didn't care, she just was happy to finally meet her father. Watching her go through an entire relationship missed with her father as he struggles on his death bed over this season has been wonderful. (Her dumpy but sweet son 'Chuck' has helped as well.) Great news already that she's coming back next year as a member of the full-time cast. Hopefully 'Frank' makes it there as well.

Charles Vane - Speaking of 'Shameless', 'Black Sails' Capt. Flint isn't close to the most interesting pirate on the show despite Toby Stephens wonderful work as 'Flint', that title belongs to Zach McGowan's 'Charles Vane'. Formerly playing sex addict 'Jody' (who brought 'Karen' out of her coma in the most awesome way possible) on 'Shameless' they turned McGowan into a pirate here and he's done his best to steal this entire show.

'Clarissa' - 'Reign' - The beautiful Katie Boland was turned into the murderous facially deformed love child of Catherine deMedici and the results have been spectacular. She started as Mary's mysterious champion behind the walls of the castle in France who wore a bag over her face and then as we got to know her story and what had made her what she was it was a sad day when Mary had to try to kill her after her foolish kidnapping attempt on her younger brothers. They got to be princes, and she got to be the monster in the dark. We haven't heard the last from her and that is just fine with those watching. WATCH 'REIGN'!

Honorable mention:

Duncan Page - 'Revolution' This show brought in Katie Asleton, Jenny McArthur from 'The League', - and made her a war lord and the results were ridiculously awesome. And then this dumb show which seems intent on driving full force off the cliff as another turd NBC wasted way too much money on - killed her off and we didn't even get to see it happen. This dumb show......

Stevie Grayson - 'Revenge' Is it just me or is Gail O'Grady's appearance keeping a pulse beating in this corpse?




More+
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Mar 21, 2014
Buzz Hickey from Community. He's just plain funny.
Sammi Gallagher from Shameless. She can be annoying, but Her blind devotion to Frank makes you feel for her.
I also actually really like Amy Smart's character on Justified, along with the kid Kendall Crowe, its not his faultfault his family is crazy.
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Mar 21, 2014
Thumbs up for Buzz Hickey.
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Mar 21, 2014
Never heard of half your nominees, or the shows they're in , but agree with Harold, Jay & Roscoe, and Mary.
Did not know Jay was Roscoe's brother and vice versa. Bet Roscoe would kill him for that head of hair :&)
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Mar 21, 2014
Abraham from The Walking Dead.
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Mar 21, 2014
We discussed him, but we haven't seen enough of him on the show yet. Maybe we'll update in a couple weeks depending on the last couple episodes of the season...
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Mar 21, 2014
yeayyy for Mary!!! didn't expect any characters from Downton Abbey but yeayyy :D
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Mar 21, 2014
I do not know most of these but I can agree with Mary Watson... quite against canon and what an improvement... She is wonderful and her relationship with Sherlock is fantastic and refreshing.

Those two from Justified... meh... I haven't found the new characters from Justified all that great this season... Eric Roberts seems promising though not sure about his current health situation...

I wish I could agree with Kira being a great character. To me she is a rather paper thin character. Beyond her special powers she seems a rather shy teenager with a crush on Scott and a non-relationship with any other show character so far. Sure she is cute and has badass moments with the sword (thanks special effects) but personality is pretty flat esp. compared to Allison and Lydia
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Mar 21, 2014
Thumbs up on the Justified comment across the board, "meh" and "Eric Roberts seems promising" both are true. Broken pelvis is survivable.
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Mar 21, 2014
Captain Holt on Brooklyn 99. Hilarious!
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Mar 21, 2014
That's not mid-season.
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Mar 21, 2014
I like Hatake and Ms Watson - don't care about the others.
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Mar 21, 2014
The cast of Sirens, that show is great, but I suppose if I had to narrow it down I'd have to go with Hank, he'd make a cool friend.
I completely agree with Rust (True Detective) and Randy (Enlisted, he's possibly me favourite).
I'd also add Marcus (About A Boy) to the list.
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Mar 21, 2014
Completely agree about Sirens. Everyone on that show is hilarious.
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Mar 21, 2014
Ditto
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Mar 21, 2014
Doesn't it bother anyone that typically of the 10 favorite characters only 2 are women? - How come the male characters - the one even more retarded after the other - dominate the TV shows so much? - It is really time for more shows which center around female heroes - like Julianna Margulies (Alicia Florick in the Good wife) - Aren't women 50% of the human population? - I wanna see shows like for example Star Trek Voyager (female captain Janeway) - Xena the Warrior Princess - Commander In Chief (Geena Davis as the first female president) a show which was canceled way to early - The Closer (Kyra Sedgwick as deputy chief Brenda Lee Johnson) - In Plain Sight (Mary McCormack) - It has been way to long since we've seen some show where a woman kicks ass - Do they who create shows only consist of men?
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Mar 22, 2014
Either you don't watch much TV, or you're not paying attention, but I'm actually surprised these days when a new show is aired and the badass is a guy.
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Mar 21, 2014
Obviously you didn't watch Killer Women. Shame on you.

And on a more serious note, The Closer's Brenda Leigh Johnson is being continued by Major Crimes' Sharon Raider, which in my opinion is an improvement.
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Mar 22, 2014
Well, I don't watch those, but they do fit in "new midseason", so up with the names to the list!
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Mar 22, 2014
Typically Killer Women is canceled - I also can not call Major Crime an improvement of The Closer - but hey - You're of course entitled to have your own opinion
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Mar 21, 2014
Yes, there are a lot of great female characters, just maybe not in this category of "new"+"midseason"+"selected by Tim". I cannot think of any great characters myself, either male of female, that come in the midseason batch as new. Mary Watson is a given, the two detectives from True Detective are great. The rest I either don't know about them or they are just... "new".

Think of a show like "American Horror Story", plenty of awesome hardcore actresses and characters of all ages. Another one is "Masters of Sex". Those two alone have a bounty. Just... not new to midseason :)
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Mar 21, 2014
"It has been way to long since we've seen some show where a woman kicks ass"

I don't think that's true. There are plenty of amazing ladies on TV right now. The problem is that female characters are always held to a much higher standard then males. A male character breaks down and cries? Aww he's so complex and interesting. A female does the same? She's weak and needy. TV.com's very own Lily Sparks called Emma Swan on OUAT weak and a piece of "disgusting" writing when she dared to show some emotion when her first love was thought to be dead. This is why writers feel inclined to only write tough asskicking "strong female characters" instead of just normal people who happen to be female. People should realize that there's more to female characters than just being either a damsel in distress or a masculine badass. Until that happens, we will get more and more of either of those two stereotypes instead of interesting, complex, layered women.
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Mar 21, 2014
There are a ton of really awesome shows with great female characters out there right now.

Orphan Black should be obvious...

Carol from The Walking Dead

Game of Thrones for Cersie and the Khaleesie and Arya

Agents of Shield has three very different main female Characters. Nerdy science, Badass, and hacktervist.

Banshee's females all are different and have their place.

House of Cards Claire...

Female characters are really starting to break the mold in TV recently. I've been loving it.



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Mar 21, 2014
I'm starting to feel like Carol has the biggest character arc in Walking Dead. Everyone thought she'd be dead by now, but she's taken all of her weaknesses and turned them into her strength.
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Mar 21, 2014
I must admit that was one of my thoughts too when I saw the list but rather than the article selection, I think it is down to show writers not writing good women characters all that often... It does not help that women show writers are also a minority (not that that fact would guarantee anything but surely it can't hurt)
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Mar 21, 2014
How about Ranger Molly Parker (Tricia Helfer) from Killer Women? I may be in the minority, but I really enjoyed that show. Hope ABC will make the 2 unaired episodes available online.
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Mar 21, 2014
I really hope so too. Just hated the way ABC summarily brought it to an end by screwing up the order of episodes. And sacrificing it for Mind Games? Jeez...
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Mar 21, 2014
The problem with Killer Women wasn't that it was bad, it was worse than that, it was mediocre, bland and forgetable. Don't get me wrong the individual cast members did the best with what they had, it's just they didn't have anything to work with, give the same cast a different show and I'd watch it in a heartbeat.
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Mar 21, 2014
Actually, women are 51% of the population. I think this article just points out how badly written female characters are on a lot of TV shows.
Or maybe it just means that in this particular batch of midseason shows, the female characters aren't as cool as the male ones.
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Mar 21, 2014
Thumbs up for Mary ! Was her background believable ? Not much, but this is "Sherlock", after all, and that show has a special brand of crazy. At least, it allowed for superb acting from Freeman ("That's where they sit."), and that means this version of Mary isn't likely to be thrown out of a train by Sherlock, like in the Downey movies, which is a big plus.
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