TV's Best New Characters of the Summer and Fall

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?

Comments (85)
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John Reese is awesome! I love 'Person Of Interest'.
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Emily from Revenge, my favorite for sure!! Colette Valois is also growing on me. No mention of Emma Swan from Once Upon A Time...? She's kinda good too so far.

And a special mention for Taylor's desk, I actually paused the show to have a good look at it!
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great list!
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A hundred times yes to Carrie Mathison. She's terrific. Please can Claire Danes never go back to the film industry. They don't deserve her.



I would vote for Sarah Lund in the Danish version of The Killing, which I've only just seen so will pretend it can be included in this list!
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Faye Chamberlain is awsome, bitchy hot girls always are. You missed Max from 2 Broke Girls, curves and attitude....
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This is the only website that actually likes Maria Bellos hat.
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Tom Kane! Kelsey better dust off his mantle for his Emmy and Golden Globe awards.

It's a shame that Prime suspect isn't watched by more viewers. I really like Maria Bello's Jane Timone. The 'educated' viewers will watch crappy (un)Reality shows and let a great show like Terriers bite the dust!
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1. Tom Kane (Kelsey Grammer) - Boss

2. Maid (Frances Conroy) - American Horror Story

3. Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) - Homeland



Love Clair Danes' intensity.

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LOVE Christine Applegate and Maya Rudolph!

Also Ryan Cartwright, but I'm biased towards him because he was my favourite intern on Bones before they killed him off. Although he is AMAZING as Gary :)
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I agree about Ashley Rickards. I think Jenna Hamilton is one of the best new characters in several years. You couldn't ask for a more perfect lead for Awkward.
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Gary Bell (Ryan Cartwright) is my favourite new character this summer/fall (I've absolutely loved him since Bones), followed by Brother Sam (Mos Def). I have no idea what Robert California (James Spader) is doing on this list though, just a random character that isn't fun in any single way. Well, the office hasn't been fun the last few seasons either way, but shouldn't they try to make it better instead of worse?
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I could not possibly disagree more about the new doctor on House. While I do agree Masters was annoying, I find the new doctor far, far worse. Have we lost all standards on television when we find someone who can't speak clearly to be a standout. For example, in the first episode there is a scene of her yelling at a bridge. I couldn't figure out why. Since I couldn't understand ONE WORD that came out of her stupid mouth, I was clueless in regards to her ire. Was she angry at the bridge because it gave her that horrible haircut or was it simply not painted a pleasing color. Not a clue. She is the reason that I am cutting House lose and will no longer watch it, not because I'm tired of the show, but because her character is such a waste of television time.
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Oh as for Summer. How can you guys forget about Harvey Spector on Suits? He's a complex character as well, tries to act one way, but has a heart of gold on the inside, beneath the hard exterior.



Also Donna on Suits. She's just awesome. Simply put.



If anyone out there was into Teen Wolf. Stiles is a truly great character playing the trusty best friend and sidekick and Derek Hale has the perfect amount of mystery behind him.
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John Reese definitely is a riveting character I just love him. Period. I can't figure that guy out...but I don't really want too. He's perfectly ambiguous, morally, emotionally.He's layered, complex, he doesn't have much to say, a true man of action. It's hard not to like him.



Nolan (on Revenge) He's just as awesome as Emily Thorne.



I agree about Up All Night.
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I like Reese, but I like Lionel as well, as long as he doesn't become too nice. I'd probably like Finch more if he didn't keep going out into the field as much as he has since the pilot. I also like Dr. Park on House. Carrie Mathison's character shows the strength of non-network shows: the ability to run a series with a lead character who isn't particularly likable.
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Emily Thorne would be a better character if the actress wasn't quite as bad as she is.
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John Reese :D but i still love Peter Bishop, and the Winchesters
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i agree with most of them.
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Emily will follow the steps of Evangeline Lilly. Another great Canadian.
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Seriously Emily thorne is like the best character on tv now.
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What about the deformed guy from American Horror Story? He's great.
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I have to say, I do love John Reese from Person of Interest. He can seem totally unemotional but that's part of his appeal. Reese is all guts and there doesn't seem to be a thing that scares him.
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I love Rebekah from The Vampire Diaries :)
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Favorite new character is definitely John Reese (Person of Interest/cbs)
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These are all great characters. I feel that Mac on "the Fades" deserves a spot here aswell.
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Some great new characters, and I enjoy watching them!
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No love for Ted Danson's new character on CSI? He's probably saving the show.
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That still isn't saying much.
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True, all three CSI shows are coasting on past success... but the flagship is the only one that got better this year.
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I agree with Alphas, Homeland, Up All Night and Pan Am.

American Horror Story and Secret Circle the jury is still out on. Jessica Lang is interesting but annoying, too. And Faye might as well just wear a shirt that says "I'm the Bitchy One!" giving her some emotion behind the mask is no less cliched than the "hooker with a heart of gold."
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If you want to watch a awesome show watch A Gifted Man on Friday night.Patrick Wilson plays Dr.Michael Holt a rich doctor who can see his deceased ex-wife who was also a doctor but she was a doctor at a clinic for people who were poor.She appears at times when he encounters different situations concerning poor people that need medical treatment and he provides a way to help them.The ex-wife gives him focus on what is the right thing to do.It is a very heart warming show.Please watch this show.
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I enjoy it... Makes me think of Pinocchio. He wants to be a "real" boy, but he needs a Jiminy Cricket to tell him how! It's kind of hilarious. I can understand how the shows rather leisurely pace could bore some people in our society with an attention span of.... ooh look, cookie!
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I am sorry but it is hell of a very boring show.. having said that, I watched every episode aired up until now, but especially the ex wife is so whiney, demanding, annoying in a very broad sense, her presence -which is the main premise of the show- makes it less watchable.. also because it tries soo hard to be heart-warming, it becomes cheesy and didactic.. why am I still watching it? probably because I still hope that there is a chance this show to get better..
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For me no doubt the best actrors are Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) of Revenge and Taylor`s from Terra Nova.
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Maria Bello's Jane Timoney from Prime Suspect, for sure.



Second is Claire Dane's Carrie Mathison.
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Claire is a great actress but Carrie is a messed up character who has very few likeable characteristics.
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Only two things I'm certain about in life: Hooch is crazy, and so is Carrie Mathison.
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Jane's hat needs to meet Neal Caffrey's hat from White Collar and have little hat babies.
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LOL! great comment. Would their baby be called a hat trick?
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Of course not, it's not a whore. It could be called Hattie
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I agree about Reese and Carrie.. Best new character on TV !

Faye is great too.
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Suburgatory: I like Dallas and Dalia -- Amer Horror: love Constance and Vivien -- Boss: sure I'll like da Mayor -- Up All Night: love all three main characters.
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How long did it take you to write the New Girl-Death Cab joke?
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Jane Timoney and that hat of hers from Prime Suspect!
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I'm all for John Reese (Person of Interest), Carrie Mathison (Homeland), Gary Bell (Alphas), and Tess (Suburgatory) characters. They're awesome, interesting, and very well played.

HA HA! Taylor's desk from Terra Nova is also a really great pick, but that's probably the only good thing in that over hyped and otherwise oh so boring show.
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definitely reese, faye and nick maybe, definitely not anyone from the cast of up all night.. they are good enough but not loveble.. also colette from pan am..
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yay, colette is in! and it is great that you've added gary from alphas, he was awesome! I wish it wouldn't be summer show and come back mid season.. also definitely agree about tessa from suborgatory, she is really cool:)
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Well, if you can't have a Commander Taylor desk, you can also get this.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0001GNLHM/ref=aw_d_iv_hi?is=l

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Well, well... nobody mentioned Bridget Kelly (Sarah Michelle Gellar) in Ringer.
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awful
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LOL

maybe but darn good lookin'
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- In Last Man Standing, i like/love the Oldest Daughter, Kristin Baxter bit more than other 2 Daughters.

- In 2 Broke Girls, i like/love the Main Waitress, Max Black bit more than the other one Caroline Channing.

- In Terra Nova, I like/love Josh Shannon's Future Love Interest Skye.

- In Death Valley, I like/love the second standing out Famale Police Office, Kirsten Landry bit more than the rest of the cast.

- In The Lying Game, The Leading Star Alexandra Chando is quite, the only likeble so far of the series than rest of the cast.

- In Up All Night, The Leading Star Christina Applegate is quite, the only likeble so far of the series than rest of the cast.

- Ringer, The Leading Star Sarah Michelle Gellar is quite, the only likeble so far of the series than rest of the cast.

- In Two and a Half Men, Alan Harper reminds the best favorite.

- In The Walking Dead, I happen to just only like the leading star characrer Rick Grimes, so far of the series than the rest of the cast.

- In Terra Nova, I happen to just only like the leading star characrer Jim Shannon, so far of the series than the rest of the cast.

- In Sons of Anarchy, I am loving/likeing Tara Knowles quite alot.

- In Nikita, I am still loving/likeing just only Alex than the other cast members.

- In The Vampire Diaries, Everybody come cross being likeble into their own ways.

- In The The Secret Circle, Everybody come cross being likeble into their own ways.

- In Fringe, Everybody come cross being likeble into their own ways.
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+1 Alexandra Chando
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My list of best new characters:

Dalia (Carly Chaikin) - Suburgatory. She is just perfect for the role. She doesn't even have to open her mouth, and one can still see she is a b*tch.

Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) - Homeland. Danes is one of my favourite actresses, and is doing a great job again. Intense presence on screen.

Constance (Jessica Lange) - American Horror Story. A great example of how a mature actress is simply fluent in what she is doing. Experience brings talent. Cold-heartedness has never looked this good.

Colette Valois (Karine Vanasse) - Pan Am. She brings a level of class and sophistication to the show, as well as being more refined in her acting compared to the rest of the cast. Maybe it's because she is Canadian?

Lemon Breeland (Jaime King) - Hart of Dixie. For the simple reason that she is so far ahead of the rest of the cast in her performance. Sometimes I wonder what Jaime is doing on this mediocre show, wouldn't she be able to get roles in better shows?

Jess (Zooey Deschanel) - New Girl. I was unsure about adding her to this list, since her performance and character so sharply divides the TV community. But isn't she just so darn adorable? I have a thing for kooky and quirky women. Enough said.

Honorable Mentions: Amy Jellicoe (Laura Dern) - Enlightened. Jenna Hamilton (Ashley Rickards) - Awkward. Harold Finch (Michael Emerson) - Person of Interest.
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Tank you for mentioning Dalia, she's the biggest surprise of Suburgatory ! Lemon is the reason I keep watching Hart of Dixie (and the increasingly hotness of the characters) .

But, though I don't dislike Zooey Deaschanel, I can't stand this Jess character!
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Commander Taylor's desk is the most badass piece of furniture on the planet!
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I'm just ticked off that Homeland isn't playing anywhere in Canada and Boss isn't on the Canadian tv schedule either! Come on. Canadians want to see these shows!
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I know, me too. I was looking forward to both shows, especially Boss. What I found more annoying was seeing previews for Homeland on TV, when we don't even get the channel in Canada. That's just bragging really.
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I'm pretty much with you on all accounts. Hands down, though? Carrie and Reese. I freaking love those two. Goddamn. They need to have some creepy TV babies. Yep.
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Loving Reese, Emily and Faye, Nick is great too. Why is Maya Rudolph on this list I honestly want to strangle her whenever she is on screen- not at all funny or interesting in the least (I love Will and Christina though)
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Edward James Olmos in Dexter? Or is it too early? He hasn't had a lot of screen time yet.

How about the new versions of Olivia and Walter on Fringe? They're kind of new characters since they're from a different timeline, right? Or am I splitting hairs here?
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If I were to choose between Olmos and Colin Hanks' characters, it would definitely be Hanks. Neither of them are really developed yet, but Hanks had a good scene with his sister a couple episodes ago. Right now, Olmos is just the guy pulling the strings, and is, frankly, very boring.



But I agree with this article that Brother Sam is a great character.
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John Reese (Jim Caviezel) and Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) are my two favorites. If you are not watching Persons of Interest or Revenge, you should be.
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pretty much the exact reply i was going to say... Best new shows of the season
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