The 14 Best New Characters of the 2016 Midseason

If television is like speed dating and its characters are our potential hookups, then boy do we have options! Like two or three S.O.s for every day of the week! But while your attention may still be stuck on old flames, it's our job to remind you that there are plenty of fish in the sea, so we've compiled a list of our favorite characters from this year's crop of new and returning midseason shows.

Below you'll find characters based on real people, a master of hell, a man in a dress, and more. The only requirements for eligibility were that they had to be new characters since the beginning of 2016. If you know of one we missed, let us know in the comments.


Marcia Clark and Johnnie Cochran, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

O.J.'s name may be in the title, but American Crime Story is clearly the Marcia Clark and Johnnie Cochran show. As the lead lawyers (sorry, Bob Shapiro) on opposite sides of the case, the series has come down to a battle between these two brilliant legal minds. Clark has the case in the bag with all the unsurmountable evidence against O.J., and it's her faith in the legal system that highlights a trainwreck demise as she watches it all slip away. Cochran has the unwinnable case, but the winning charisma and snake-like methods to turn the tide. These dueling tales of tragedy and success, not the murder or Kardashians, are the real centerpieces of the series. Well, that and Sarah Paulson and Courtney B. Vance's performances, which will both win them Emmys later this year. 


Whitney Frost and Jason Wilkes, Marvel's Agent Carter

Marvel's Agent Carter took on systemic oppression in its second season with the introduction of two new characters: Whitney Frost (Wynn Everett), a brilliant scientist whose mind was undervalued because she was a woman in the 1940s and who was forced to rely on her beauty to get ahead in the world, and Dr. Jason Wilkes (Reggie Austin), an equally brilliant scientist whose contributions were also undervalued because of the color of his skin. They were two sides of the same coin, two characters who faced an uphill battle in 1947 and were offered the same choice, but one chose darkness and the other light. They both were familiar and relatable, though, and the way in which the writers smoothly integrated their stories into larger themes of the era helped to make an already enjoyable series one of the best currently on TV.


Ms. Feldman, Teachers

TV Land's new comedy Teachers has six potential entrants for this list thanks to all six members of the comedy troupe the Katydids being high-larious, but Cate Freedman's Ms. Feldman gets the edge by an eyebrow. Dim-witted, probably stoned, and pretty terrible at her job, Ms. Feldman rides buffoonery all the way to the laugh bank for the pretty good show's funniest moments, like when she got her face waxed as an in-class demonstration of art. It didn't go well!


Taylor and Eric, American Crime


ABC's stellar second season of its series that demands you get feelings is a dandy, and at the center of the slaps to your emotional core are Taylor and Eric, the two gay teens whose actions kickstart a tsunami of politics and activism. American Crime creator John Ridley created a rift between the two by adding the question of whether their hookup was consensual which propelled the drama forward, but he also pulled back to humanize both of them on their journeys to understanding how the world would treat them after everything came to surface. And their characters wouldn't be as effective if it weren't for Connor Jessup and Joey Pollari, who have been incredible all season long.


Jamie, Vinyl

Less than halfway into its first season, Vinyl is not yet a good show. But amid the glut of machismo, yelling, and coke binges is a compelling character that's worth rooting for: Juno Temple's Jamie. She's a forward-thinking female in a land of power-hungry dudes, and one of the only characters that sees the winds of change a blowin'. Temple is a compelling performer who doesn't need that much screentime to make an impact—which is good, given the show's 42 other interests and storylines. 


Jesus, The Walking Dead

The newest survivor in The Walking Dead breaks a trend of repetitive newbies who show up just to be human sashimi for zombies while the originals look on in horror and we clap our hands in glee. Jesus is as mysterious as they come. His introduction came with a side of grand theft auto and his kung-fu skills gave Rick and Daryl a tough match, yet he still managed to convince the two that he was worth saving and bargaining with. It's been a while since someone in this show came along and instantly grabbed our attention, but our savior has come. And hey, Tom Payne's baby blues are killer! 


Lucifer, Lucifer

Since we have Jesus on this list, we may as well have Lucifer. The best part of Fox's new series Lucifer is a charmer even when he isn't using his supernatural powers of persuasion, thanks largely to the natural charisma and camera presence of Brit Tom Ellis. But good drama is reliant on characters who aren't invincible, and recent developments in the series have shown that Lucifer might not be the unstoppable force we thought he was. The depth of character is there, the personality is there, now if only the police cases could be somewhat interesting. 


Bertie, Love

What is it about Bertie that's so lovable? As Mickey's new roommate who appeared to just walk off a Qantas airliner from Australia, Bertie juggles innocent naiveté and bizarre experience from back down under to make a character who is entirely unpredictable and endearing. Claudia O'Doherty has an energy all her own, and it puts her in sweet and awkward moments as Bertie talks about blowjobs or her Aussie drinking songs for scene-stealing moments. Mickey may be the show's big catch, but we've got eyes for Bertie!


Roan, The 100

We haven't seen Roan (Zach McGowan) since Lexa threw a spear through his mother's chest and he became the king of the Ice Nation, but in his brief time on screen, the new The 100 character became an instant favorite. Fearless and powerful, he's a badass fighter, but he also has integrity, and that makes him respectable. Much like Clarke, he'd been separated from his people, and although it wasn't by choice, it was clear they both understood one another on some level. Hopefully Roan isn't gone for good and he's just off doing pushups somewhere while trying to bring some order to the Ice Nation, because with everything Pike (who'd definitely earn a spot on a worst new characters list) is doing at Arkadia, Clarke could use a little support.


Christine Baskets, Baskets

It's weird that the giant man wearing the ladies' dress is one of the least strange things in FX's odd-and-endearing comedy Baskets, but Louie Anderson in drag is the presence that grounds the series in reality. Weird, right? Christine—mother to Zach Galifianakis' Chip—steals every scene she's in with her combo of genuine earnestness, only-with-strangers motherly pride, and deep-seated exasperation, which can all come out in the same line of dialogue. 


Anita Gibbs, Suits

Harvey and Mike have gone up against some tough competition on Suits, but none have been able to go toe-to-toe as well as Anita Gibbs (Leslie Hope). It helped that she's not slimy like her predecessor adversaries, she's just really, really good at her job (and even when she did go low, you have to admit that it's nothing Harvey and Mike haven't done before). The only reason to hate her was that she's not on our side and if Suits had any sense, it would find a way to change that before the fraud trial was over. Did Anita Gibbs go to Harvard? Because she deserves to have her name on the wall more than anyone this season. 

Who were your favorite new characters from this year's midseason?