Each new season of television brings the opportunity to meet your new best made-up friends as a colorful cast of fresh characters hop onto your screen in both new and returning shows. We pestered the TV.com staff for their favorite new characters from this summer and fall's series and came up with more than 20 characters and two inanimate objects. And just to show that we aren't crazy, we added some of your more coherent thoughts from Twitter.
Faye Chamberlain (Phoebe Tonkin) - The Secret Circle
What's most interesting about The Secret Circle's Faye isn't that she's a bad girl with a withering put-down always at the ready, it's that she's the most complicated character in her entire circle. In the real world this tall, dark, showstopper would be the most popular girl in school. But in Chance Harbor she's the loneliest, a sort of bitchy outcast who always seems to find herself on the outside looking in. While Faye says and does the rudest things to her friends, her guilty conscience always keeps her in the realm of the sympathetic. In other words, she's the most believable teenager on TV.
Constance (Jessica Lange) - American Horror Story
As soon as Constance's Southern charm breaks into the Harmon's house, FX's psychological horror takes a turn for the wacky. It also happens to be the first time a truly likable character with an ounce of personality shows up. But it's Lange's effortlessly creepy performance as nosey neighbor Constance that puts the baby head in the jar, so to speak. How many people can get away with calling their Down Syndrome-afflicted daughter "mongoloid?"
What you said:
Reagan Brinkley (Christina Applegate) & Ava (Maya Rudolph) - Up All Night
The ladies of NBC's new comedy seem like they've been working together for years, the chemistry is that good. Reagan's a groovy new mom who does just as much mothering at work trying to temper Ava's mid-life crisis of the week, and the way they complement each other makes both of them shine. Will Arnett as home hubby Chris gets honorable mention, but for our money, it's the ladies who rule the show.
Brother Sam (Mos Def) - Dexter
A suspicious character who first earned a spot on Dexter's radar when he got away with murder due to a technicality, Brother Sam quickly convinced the serial-killer of serial killers that he's undeserving of Dexter's scalpel-of-justice. One of the few killers of the show's run who actually seemed to regret his crimes, Brother Sam now devotes himself to "rescuing" other ex-cons and, as he describes it, "shepherding" them into better lives. Brother Sam's methods of dealing with transgressors are in stark contrast to Dexter's–and it's possibly all just a ruse–but for now he's a refreshingly nuanced character in a show that desperately needs them.
Dallas Royce (Cheryl Hines) - Suburgatory
After more than a decade on Curb Your Enthusiasm, the lovable Hines slips into the role of Dallas, a suburban terror disguised as a mom, like a form-fitting tube top made just for her. Dallas epitomizes everything wrong about the plastic mom-sters of the 'burbs, but somehow what we're supposed to fear becomes all the things we like about her. We blame Hines' breezy charm.
John Reese (Jim Caviezel) - Person of Interest
If Don Draper had any balls and knew how to kill men with one swift stroke of his pinky, he'd be John Reese, the mysterious man at the center of CBS' new sorta-procedural. Reese might turn some people off because he's so robotic, but that's the point! When his moments of vulnerability shine through, it hits that much harder. We'll get to know who this man is inside soon enough, for now, let's just watch him clean up New York City one bullet-in-a-quadricep at a time.
Nick Miller (Jake Johnson) - New Girl
Fox's breakout comedy is sold as That Zooey Deschanel Show, but it wouldn't last longer than a Death Cab for Cutie jam without strong support. Thankfully, Jess' roommates aren't overshadowed by Zooey's baby blues, and special recognition goes out to Nick as the recently broken-hearted bartender that's in perpetual should-I-shouldn't-I mode, but, unlike other characters of his ilk, actually makes progress towards recovery... in the pilot episode! We root for him because we've all been there and he isn't a pity party. Schmidt's alright too, but this is a douche-free list.
Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) - Revenge
How refreshing is it to have a young beautiful woman whose focus is not relationships, but cold, sweet revenge? The cherubic yet dead-eyed Emily handles her beaux with detached coolness, keeping her emotions on the back burner and her focus on destroying several powerful billionaires. Rich, beautiful, and ruthless, Emily proves girl power is more fun when its well funded.
What you said:
Tom Kane (Kelsey Grammer) - Boss
Because Boss doesn't air until Friday, you're going to have to trust us on this one. Kelsey Grammer delivers a powerful performance as Tom Kane, the mayor of Chicago that's suffering from a rare degenerative brain disorder. It's a crippling blow to this beast of a man, who will deliver a stirring speech in one scene and ear-twist a rival into submission in the next. He's one politician you don't want to mess with. Who's the boss? He's the boss!
Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) - Homeland
What happens when a great new character and a fantastic acting performance come together? Carrie Mathison! The best characters are flawed yet determined, and we can't get enough of her spoonful of drive and buckets of crazy as she tries to convince the world that a war hero is actually a terrorist. Even her crazy eyes deserve an Emmy.
What you said:
But wait! There's more! Read on to see the next 10 entries of our favorite new characters!
Robert California (James Spader) - The Office
Though the real shoe-filling went to new regional manager Andy Bernard (Ed Helms), the off-season hoopla laid to rest squarely on Spader as the new CEO. And in an ensemble full of clowns, Robert brings something new with sage-like advice delivered without a whiff of irony. And how about those motivational speeches?
Amy Jellicoe (Laura Dern) - Enlightened
It takes some kind of cojones to build an entire show around someone as unpleasant as Amy–the manic, dysfunctional, insecure and vengeful woman at the center of Enlightened. So why do we always look forward to spending another week with her? Probably because of Dern, who can play these unflattering colors so well. She's not just a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown–she's a woman in-between nervous breakdowns. And that tension is never less than riveting.
Dr. Chi Park (Charlyne Yi) - House
Upon Dr. House's release from prison, he was introduced to his new team, which now consists of only one tiny, mumbly Asian girl in a Velma haircut named Dr. Park. Comedian Charlyne Yi (Knocked Up) plays the weird, occasionally violent neurosurgeon with a heartbreaking awkwardness that provides a perfect counterpoint to Dr. House's fake-gruff attitude. Although her character is the latest in the House underqualified-yet-adorable-lady-doctor paradigm, Dr. Park is immediately weirder and more interesting than Amber Tamblyn was and a lot more likable too.
Colette Valois (Karine Vanasse) - Pan Am
Surrounded by a cast full of wistful dreamer-types, Pan Am's Colette is a breath of fresh, realistic air. Her portrayal of a French (and only non-American) airline stewardess adds depth to the show's international premise, and it’s easy to see why she’s been given some of the heaviest storylines the show has seen yet; her deliveries are as subtle as they are hard-hitting. She’s the picture of feminine strength in the 1960s.
What you said:
Herschel Greene (Scott Wilson) - The Walking Dead
You'll meet Herschel very soon, but if you've read the books you know why he's such an intriguing character. We won't spoil anything for anyone, but we've already seen him in action and just want to give him a big hug.
Linc Potter (Ray McKinnon) - Sons of Anarchy
In a show where the macho-est of men wear beards that hit the floor and dudes brush their teeth with beer and Tabasco, Linc Potter walks in with skinny jeans, some chocolate milk, and women's leather jackets and is instantly one of SAMCRO's greatest threats. But he's more than just a weird dude, he's... okay, he's pretty much just a weird dude, and McKinnon brings it.
Owen Slater (Charlie Cox) - Boardwalk Empire
Boardwalk Empire entered its second season needing to provide more bang for the buck, and that's exactly what Owen Sleater offers. Literally: He's an Irish immigrant with a background as a bodyguard and explosives expert for a Sinn Fein politician, who gifts him to Nucky like a fine bottle of whiskey. His talents? "Making people stop…whatever it is you don't want them to be doing." He ain't too hard on the eyes, either.
Gary Bell (Ryan Cartwright) - Alphas
Alphas is on to something great with Gary. He's autistic with the super-ability to pull all kinds of transmissions out of thin air, but it's his blunt confidence and comic relief that make him a standout on a sci-fi show with a surprisingly fantastic ensemble. The talented Cartwright brings him to life without a sense of pity in sight, a very refreshing take on a character that some would say has a disability. Dr. Rosen (David Strathairn) also deserves recognition, but Gary steals the show.
What you said:
Tessa (Jane Levy) - Suburgatory, Jenna (Ashley Rickards) - Awkward.
The sassy, too-smart-for-her-own-good teenage girl (TSFHOGTG) has been done to death, but that character archetype has risen from the grave not once, but TWICE! These two characters work because they're normal, likable girls living in a crazy world, but they're not snarky bitches like previous TSFHOGTGs that made the character type intolerable. A shout out to both actresses, too, who have a promising future.
Jane's Hat - Prime Suspect, Taylor's Desk - Terra Nova
Have you seen these things?!? Jane's hat IS the character! And Taylor's desk? We'd love to see what his bunk bed looks like!
Agree or disagree with our list? Who would you have added? Who would you have taken off?