TV.com Top Ten: Best new supporting characters of 2008

Behind every leading woman or man in television, there's one character setting them up and opening the door for them to shimmy on through. At their best, supporting actors are stealing scenes from their higher-paid compadres, and at their worst, they're dragging a show into the ground and being deservedly killed off.

We're going to focus on the former in this list, which covers our favorite new supporting characters from this television season. Are these in any particular order? Sort of. Is this the definitive list? Absolutely not. We're just opening up the discussion and want to hear who would have made your list.

10. Charlotte Lewis, Lost (played by Rebecca Mader)
As one of the Freighter Folk on ABC's best show, Charlotte entranced us as soon as we saw her hanging upside-down from a tree in season four's second episode. We have lots to learn about her past, which links her to the island more than any of the Oceanic Six.
VIDEO: Rebecca Mader Interview

9. Castiel, Supernatural (played by Misha Collins)
Forget his character and all that--how about that introduction with those gigantic angel wings! As the heaven-sent servant ordered by the big man upstairs to help guide Sam and Dean Winchester, Castiel, with his brooding gaze and menacing voice, makes it clear: he ain't no ordinary angel, and he don't need no harp.
Q&A;: Supernatural's Misha Collins

8. Big Mike, Chuck (played by Mark Christopher Lawrence)
Yeah, we know he's not exactly new, but he's become a bigger part of the Buy More storylines this season after barely a peep last year, and we love the writers for it. Mike perfectly embodies the top of the retail food-chain: a boss who doesn't want to do any work and instead passes tasks on to his underpaid underlings.

7. Walter Bishop, Fringe (played by John Noble)
Walter, you had us at "Now let's go make some LSD!"
VIDEO: The Fringe premiere party

6. Lew Ashby, Californication (played by Callum Keith Rennie)
The rock-and-roll god who asked Hank Moody to write his biography was memorable for many reasons, but we love the stereotypical ridiculousness of the character: guns, groupies, drugs. Rest in peace, lil' buddy.

5. Debbie, The Life and Times of Tim (voiced by Bob Morrow)
The only animated character to make the list, Debbie is also the only multiracial prostitute on the list. I know, shocking! She's always drinking and smoking and wears business suits with the ass cut out of them. Plus, she's voiced by a man. Frankly, I'm surprised she's not number one.

4. Gemma Teller-Morrow, Sons of Anarchy (played by Katey Sagal)
As the matriarch of SAMCRO, Peg Bundy, I mean Gemma, is in a position of supreme power and she isn't willing to give it up. Gemma is exactly what you would think a motorcycle club vixen would be--tough, scheming, and downright nasty.

3. Lt. Gene Hunt/Detective Ray Carling, Life on Mars (played by Harvey Keitel/Michael Imperioli)
These two 1970s cops turn a good new show into a great new show. The fast-talking duo are masters of excessive force, and Carling has some of the best dialogue in television today. And how about that sweet 'stache?
VIDEO: Q&A; with Michael Imperioli and Jason O'Mara

2. Daniel Faraday, Lost (played by Jeremy Davies)
Whoa--another Freighter Folkie? (Heck, we wanted to add Miles Straum, too!) Faraday is a fantastic addition to the cast, and a key tool for Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse to help explain season four's technical mumbo jumbo. And that skinny tie just screams physics nerd.

1. Lafayette Reynolds, True Blood (played by Nelsan Ellis)
Merlotte's gay cook steals so many scenes, he must have a rap sheet thicker than the Twilight books. He sells vampire blood, makes pornographic Web cam shows, and dresses flamboyantly, but make no mistake--he can kick your butt. Let's hope that wasn't his foot in the backseat of the car in the finale!

OK, let's hear your lists. Remember, no stars and they have to be new this year.

Comments (112)
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walter is awesome on fringe, lafayette is so great i hope hes not dead but i agree that tara is an awesome character shes hilarious
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I so agree with your pick for Nelsan Ellis as Lafayatte Reynolds on True Blood, but what about Rutina Wesley as Tara Thornton on TB also. Talk about a scene stealer!
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i love miles from lost! he is the funniest
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My top 3 is certainly Lafayette, Walter Bishop and Castiel (those eyes). Lafayette is the funniest sexiest creature to grace the small screen in a while.

Walter Bishop is so innocently indecent. The comments he comes out with, brilliant character.

Castiel is simply the best thing to happen to Supernatural since Jensen Ackles. You just don't know whether you can trust him or not...typical angel!
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Lew Ashby rocks! I love this character! He's the best!
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i totally agree with you Braid7. supernatural is an awsome show and castiel only made it better. he is badass and i love him!
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Castiel has to be #1! Never has a supporting character made such a mind blowing entrance or fitted so perfectly in what was already a damn near perfect show. I didn't think it was possible for Supernatural to get better but with Castiel it has opened the show up in so many ways. I just hope the character gets the chance to explore his many (mysterious!) levels.....my faith in Eric Kripke and the writers means I'm quite sure he will :)
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Love Castiel, Love Dan and Charlotte and couldn't be happier that Lafayette is number 1.



My only gripe is where the hell is Tess Mercer? In the half a season she's been on Smallville, she's already far more interesting then Lex has been for the 4 seasons. She should have got a mention!
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DOROTA FROM GOSSIP GIRL!!!!!!!!!
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Dan and Charlotte are two of my favorite characters on Lost. Great choices!
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Lafayette is a pretty genius pick I think.
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Assuming Timothy Hutton as Nathan Ford is the male lead on Leverage, I'd like to nominate Aldis Hodge as Alec Hardison. Funny, clever character who's smart too.
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castiel is so hot!
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enuf is enuf… how many more times do we have to watch Jim Carrey on talk shows… on red carpets… well… EVERYWHERE acting like an idiot. [including the pic displayed at this site today under 'Today's Gallery'] When he was unknown it had a certain (new) novelty to it… but now it's just REALLY OLD… and not even funny anymore… he simply acts weird… note to his agent: advise client to get new schtick
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Lafayatte totally deserves it! What an interesting character, and he owns it haha. Big Mike is pretty great too.
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Katey Segal is amazing as Gemma Teller-Morrow. she is great support for the show
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Lew Ashby from "Californication" was just great! Shame the producers "killed" him. And Lafayette of "True Blood" is just brilliant. I think it was supposed to be his leg in the season 1 finale, but maybe they won't kill him eventually - with all the awards and appreciation. They might kill someone else instead or make him just badly injured (as we see something attacking him in the episode).
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Agreed re Lafayette! He's one of my favorite if not THE favorite on the show! Walter Bishop deserves to be here too but I think Emerson Codd and/or Olive Snook from Pushing Daisies deserve to be on this list!
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Total word to Daniel and Charlotte on Lost, they're fabulous characters who I love more than some of the orginal cast. I also adore Castiel with all my heart.
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I know it's not US-centric, but Gaius (Richard Wilson) from the BBC's Merlin has been phenomenal - a great sense of humor and a perfect aged counterpart to Merlin's enthusiastic youth.
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Love Walter Bishop and Daniel Faraday but there is no way Charlotte should have made the list over Miles. Also would have loved to see Keamy from Lost especially over Charlotte he stole every scene he was in. (FYI I have only just realised he is played by the same actor who played Joshua the transgenic dogman in Dark Angel).
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Thank you k_adams I couldn't have said it better myself. Transexualality is not a bad characteristic moreover Lafayette is not a transexual. I agree 100% with ebony_kunoichi he absolutety deserves to be #1.
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Charlotte Lewis? Oh come on she totally was a non entity on lost. What about Ben? Lafayette deserves to be #1 baby. He wasnt a transsexual either. He didnt wear girl clothes, just lipstick sometimes and nail polish. He stole every scene in True Blood. Sons of Anarch? who watches that? .Debbie, The Life and Times of Tim ? what! never heard of that show and I find the character a bit distasteful
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in my opinion it is not that simple with lafayette. every character in true blood has his dark sides, and lafayette is one of the few, who still seems to act political correct. maybe it's your interpretation, which is always rendered by the dominant ideologies (as are all of ours, too), that you see him like a racist dream. but when you point out, that he is that because of his transsexuality, you are the victim of your own argument. transsexuality is not a bad charakteristic and it shouldn't be interpreted as one
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I disagree about Lafayette because I think he's a "racist dream". He's just so wrong. Moreover he's the only black actor on the set so it makes his profile even more disturbing. I mean he's a drug dealer, produces porn and is nearly a transexual. There's nothing likable about him even if I can understand why some viewers appreciate him. It's all about entertainment after all and nowadays gays or disturbed characters are used as animals in a zoo. Shame on the producers and I hope my comment will help some people to understand why Lafayette shouldn't even be in this top 10.
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Oh Lew Ashby, why did they have to kill you off? Very happy he got a mention!
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MISHA COLLINS! yay =]
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I so love Castiel on Supernatural. Charlotte made an impact on Lost too. He has created a whole new dynamic to the show. I like Walter Bishop and Lafayette, but they were with the shows from the start so seem more like the basic makeup of the show.
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[quote]Remember, no stars[/quote]

Don't let Harvey Keitel hear that.
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I want to say goodbye to Gil Grissom and welcome to Laurence Fishburne. I'm going to miss William Peterson so much. I've followed his career and remember when he first came on the scene. Please do something else soon, you are going to very, very missed.
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Agree with 2, I love Daniel.
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Very disappointed, I didn't see a word about my absolute favorite show "LIFE" and its characters. Although Alan Arkin is not new, I'm so glad to see him on a series. The new guys are great, the show is fresh, and new, and I am a forever fan. I know alot of others who feel the same way.
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Castiel. most definiently.
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Dwight isn't a new supporting character, and therefore does not qualify.
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Nelsan Ellis is a phenomenon! He is a pleasure to watch and a breath of fresh air amongst all the BORING actors out there.
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sianna2...that was really unnecessary. How about writing *SPOILER ALERT* next time you feel like sharing your knowledge...
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Ummm, how about somelove for Morgan/Chuck and Olive/Pushing Daisies.
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Lafayette was a great character and Nelson was a great choice. I'm sorry to say that his fans will miss out next season....For those who want the scoop they should read the second novel by Charlaine Harris in the Sookie Stackhouse series. Cant wait to see how they handle the next season, cause they didnt stray too far from the novel for this one....Gotta say that Callum Rennie (Lou Ashby) was really well played. Loved him in Battlestar Galactica....Agree with John Noble...yay for the aussie actors hittin it big over there.....he's a talented guy. Great script in that show! (Fringe)...I also think they guy who plays Arthur in the UK series Merlin is great....a suprisingly good show!
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C'mon, Miquel Prado should be on that list.
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Lafayette!!!!
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big mike it is! and concerning true blood: everyone could have made it into the top ten. they are all fabulous. but what about jimmy smits in dexter?
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I hated all True Blood characters... but Lafayette (and grandma).

I watched TB 'till the end, though, and now I'm suffering a sort of withdrawal. Looking forward the second season. Love and hate are really close, they say.
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Lew Ashby, I'll miss him.
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Castiel, he's amazing. Of course I can't say much since I've only watched up untill chapter 4 or so, but, so far, Castiel is really adding a lot of suspense to the show. He should have been place at the number one position; afterall, it is actually thanks to him that this great show was able to come back with such a great fourth season. Who would have watched it if Dean was dead?
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I love True Blood and i love Lafayette!!!
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Walter bishop should have won it, fringe is easily one of the best programs on air, I wasn't to sure about fringe at first but now I can't stand it not being on air. Long Live Fringe!!!!!!
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I would love to see someone from Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, or Bones on the list.
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Mate, Charlotte Lewis and Castiel, no brainer
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Come on now people. Lew Ashby all the way.
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I want to see somebody from Gossip Girl - this show has a great cast. I'd say Lily or ... Dorota :)
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