The Best New TV Characters of 2009

2009 was a great year for meeting new friends—even if those friends were imaginary and beamed via coaxial cable wires or streamed through the internet. Several returning shows added new characters that charmed us (or tried to kill us), and a slew of new programs introduced us to entire casts of potential pen pals (including "cool" dads, bloodsuckers, and a female pimp). We singled out our 20 favorite new characters of the year.

Mitchell from Modern Family

Played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson
Yeah, yeah, I know you all want to see Phil Dunphy here as the rep for Modern Family, but for my money, Mitchell is the one that makes it all happen. As the Abbott to Cameron's Costello, Mitchell has the best comedic timing of the stellar cast, and no one can shift uncomfortably like Jesse Tyler Ferguson.
Memorable Moment: Figure skating in the parking lot with Claire.

Damon Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries

Played by Ian Somerhalder
If Vampire Diaries was just a simple vampire-boy-meets-girl storyline, it would suck. I mean, when has that ever worked? Come on! But adding an evil S.O.B. like Boone Damon spices things up quite nicely.
Memorable Moment: Damon disses Twilight.

Sue Sylvester from Glee

Played by Jane Lynch
I had a female gym teacher just like Sue in high school (didn't we all?). At the time, I didn't think she was funny, but seeing Sue on my television screen makes me realize how much I should have appreciated my teacher as a valuable source of entertainment. Sue is the type of person who will get you a kitten, let you fall in love with that kitten, then sneak into your house and punch you in the face.
Memorable Moment: You want us to pick just one!?!?

Arthur "Trinity" Mitchell from Dexter

Played by John Lithgow
Just when you thought serial killers couldn't get any creepier, along comes the guy from 3rd Rock From the Sun to redefine the word. Arthur—the scariest challenge our lovable anti-hero Dexter has faced—disarmed us with a sense of class, then literally disarmed us by cutting our arms off. Ah, who needed those anyway?
Memorable Moment: "Hello, Dexter Morgan."

Rev. Steve Newlin from True Blood

Played by Michael McMillian
He's a fast-talkin' preacher man and used-car salesman rolled into one, and who can resist that ear-to-ear grin? The Rev. Steve captured our attention with a brilliant caricature of the religious right, even though he wanted all vampires—even Jessica!—to be vaporized in God's shining glory.
Memorable Moment: Showing off the Church's armory to Jason.

Lucifer from Supernatural

Played by Mark Pellegrino (and others)

The Devil that Kripke and company have created is just so gosh-darn nice, we can't hate him. In fact, he's convinced us that he's simply misunderstood, and that God is the bad guy! What's that, Lucifer? You want us to burn down that puppy sanctuary? Okay! (Clicking the image goes to video.)
Memorable Moment: Convincing Nick to say "yes."

Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad

Played by Bob Odenkirk
Better call Saul! Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan told me that Season 2 would lighten up as soon as Saul came onto the scene, and boy was he right. The ambulance-chasing lawyer isn't afraid to take on shady cases, call a guy who knows a guy, and leave his morals at home... which makes him a perfect fit for Breaking Bad. The fact that one of my favorite comedians plays him doesn't hurt, either.
Memorable Moment: Saul saving his skin when Walt and Jesse make him dig his own grave.

Tanya from Hung

Played by Jane Adams
HBO has seen better shows than Hung, but thanks to Jane Adams' stellar performance, it hasn't seen many female leads better than Tanya. For my money, she bests Ray Drecker as the star of the show.
Memorable Moment: Her quick transition to P-I-M-P.

Abed from Community

Played by Danny Pudi
Our "Most Likely to Be From Another Planet" award goes to the socially inept—yet strangely aware—Abed. This unusual creature gets extra credit for his hilarious end-of-show bits with buddy Troy.
Memorable Moment: Abed is... Batman.

Richard Castle from Castle

Played by Nathan Fillion
At this point, Nathan Fillion could play a cadaver and he'd still be a joy to watch on screen. Cocky, wise-cracking horror novelist Richard Castle is Fillion's latest gem, and the role fits him perfectly.
Memorable Moment: The unveiling of his "WRITER" bulletproof vest.

The next best:
Kurt from Glee, played by Chris Colfer
Phil from Modern Family, played by Ty Burrell
Cal Lightman from Lie to Me, played by Tim Roth
Nicholas Rush from Stargate Universe, played by Robert Carlyle
Davis from Accidentally on Purpose, played by Nicolas Wright
Kenny Powers from Eastbound and Down, played by Danny McBride
Queen Anna from V, played by Morena Baccarin
Ethan Zobelle from Sons of Anarchy, played by Adam Arkin
Brick from The Middle, played by Atticus Shafer
Jackie Peyton from Nurse Jackie, played by Edie Falco

Which new characters were your favorites this year?

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