Power Ranking The 13 Best New TV Characters Of The Fall
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Power Ranking The 13 Best New TV Characters Of The Fall

By Joanna Robinson | Seriously Random Lists | November 18, 2013 | Comments ()

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Agents Coulson And May — Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.: One of the most problematic and controversial shows of the fall (only because we wanted so much from it), this show was saved from utter disaster by the twin experience and, yes, gravitas of Ming-Na Wen and Clark Gregg. The show would be a complete mess top to bottom without them.

In the last two episodes, however, this adorable pair have come into their own. If the show survives, I think they’re destined to become new Whedon favorites.

Bert — The Trophy Wife: Anyone who has suffered through the reign of terror that is Modern Family’s Manny knows how hard it is to pull off the “wise beyond their years” kid. But little Albert Tsai makes it look effortless. He’s endlessly endearing where he should be insufferable. Every week with this show feels like a soft warm hug.

Fara — Homeland: From a pure storytelling perspective, Nazanin Boniadi’s Fara provided something Homeland desperately needed, a Muslim character on the other side of the conflict. From an acting perspective, Boniadi is absolutely nailing this characters conflicted and personal investment in the war on terror.

Valentin Narcisse — Boardwalk Empire: It’s becoming increasingly clear that this under appreciated HBO show usually gets amazing in the last few episodes of the season. The best storyline this season centers around Michael K. Williams’ Chalky who was given a nemesis this year in the form of Jeffrey Wright’s Dr. Narcisse. Wright is a great actor who has been simmering in the background for years. (Most notably in the recent Bond films.) It’s great to see him step into the stoplight. Look at that mustache!

Pops — The Goldbergs: For those of us who missed George Segal’s sweet and dopey delivery on Just Shoot Me his return to weekly sitcom is a delight. The Goldbergs has three great adult comedians leading three pretty adorable children and gives off a lovely Wonder Years vibe. But maybe the most enjoyable aspect of this ’80s comedy are the suits Segal gets to wear.

Abbie Mills And Ichabod Crane — Sleepy Hollow: We’ve already talked at great length about these two. They’ve turned what should be a pretty ridiculous show into something that is completely enjoyable and watchable.

Marie Laveau — American Horror Story: Coven: You thought no one could beat Jessica Lange in a scenery chewing contest? Think again.

Det. Rosa Diaz and Sgt. Terry Jeffords — Brooklyn Nine-Nine: I think most of you Brooklyn Nine-Nine fans would argue that Tiny Terry here belongs in the number one spot. The best I can do, though, is name him the best new sitcom character. Comparing him to new dramatic characters is simply unfair. I’d also add Rosa to this list for her delightfully dour portrayal.

James Spader — The Blacklist: Terrible, dumb show, great actor. Spader is shining like a crazy diamond in the middle of the trash heap that is this procedural. Is it worth watching for him alone? It is.

Margaret Scully — Masters Of Sex: We already knew that Allison Janney is an incredible actress. We knew that. And we’ve seen her do some perfectly delightful comedy since The West Wing but Janney really sings when she’s given some juicy drama. As Margaret Scully, the sexually frustrated wife of the Provost on Masters Of Sex, Janney has been amazing. She elevated the Showtime show from great to phenomenal.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Ben

    I also like Blonde angry FBI agent in the Blacklist, I mean he's small fry compared to Spader obviously, but I still enjoy him. He reminds me of blonde/ blandly handsom dude from Boston Legal if he was like super pissed off all the time.

  • Afferbeck

    Abbie Mills is the hottest thing on TV. I can't even believe how attracted I am to her.

    Also I'm pretty sure The Blacklist exists because Spader said to his agent one day 'I want to be on a show where I am super fucking cool and mysterious 100% of the time'.

  • John W

    Let's hope Angela Bassett makes it to the next season of America Horror Story: Gaiju Zombie Invaders From Mars.

  • Sean

    Joanna, thanks so much for including Jeffrey Wright on this list. He has killed it this season as the deliciously devilish Dr. Narcisse. The way he talks alone is compelling. More people need to be watching Boardwalk!

  • Pat Sponaugle

    I totally agree. At some level I enjoyed the whacky explosive violence of Gyp Rosetti last year, but Dr. Narcisse is the one that really scares me.

  • Sean

    Bobby Cannavale made Gyp interesting more than the character actually was. Dr. Narcisse is interesting onscreen and on paper. Gyp started out annoying me, then I started to love him in the last half of the season. His outbursts were hilarious and so uncalled for! Love that "Bible camp's cancelled" scene.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Hell to the yes! He loves his pickles.

  • dizzylucy

    I'm strangely enjoying Sleepy Hollow a lot. I also wouldn't mind just a 40 minute slide show of Nicole and Tom being goofy together behind the scenes.

    Tiny Terry!

  • Temmere

    Narcisse is at LEAST twice as interesting and menacing as any antagonist Boardwalk Empire has had before.

  • 5 minutes of Tom Mison and he's now in my top 10. With a bullet. Him and his eyebrows and his NOSE and his eyes and just UGH. Just when I think I might be getting a little too old to go so fangirlish, they pull me back in.

  • Samantha Klein

    I'm going to start a "Tom Mison's Nose" fanclub. You in?

  • emmalita

    Orlando Jones has all your fangirling needs met. :)


  • AvaLehra

    He's utterly dreamy. No lie.

  • stella

    And leaves the most adorable voicemails. And has the best on star conversations.

  • Captain_Tuttle

    Dreamy. Fully and completely dreamy.

  • Don't forget that perfect beard. It's just perfect. Perfect.

    [I don't swing that way, but his beard is so pretty.]

  • John W

    That header pic looks like an 80s sitcom.

  • Pat Sponaugle

    Right on. The classic "She's [something], he's [something else]. Together, they fight crime!"

  • stella

    I love Sleepy Hollow! Those are my favorite duo this side of Sherlock and Watson. Im praying that they stay platonic.

  • Ben

    Are we talking Bandersnatch Cucumber and Bilbo Sherlock/Watson or Sick Boy/ Oren Ishi Sherlock/Watson though?

  • theKelz


  • stella

    Well I havent actually seen Elementary, Im ashamed to say...I heard its awesome though...

  • Ben

    I'm pretty sure Elementary Sherlock Watson have it in their contract that it stays a platonic relationship. So that's always a plus.

  • Afferbeck

    The real question is whether Crane will ever get new clothes. Seriously, he's still wearing the clothes he was buried in 200 years ago.

  • I've lost track of how many times I've yelled "Hold off on the demons for a second and take that man to a damn Target! Get him in some flannel and jeans so I can die from how hot he is!"

  • Ben

    In an interview the uh... Tom Misson? (Actor for Ichabod) said he was going to lose his clothes when he's forced out of them, then kind of quickly recanted realising he's said something he wasn't supposed to.

  • I asked that question the first two or three episodes. I've learned to let it go. Besides - that high collar.

  • stella

    That is an excellent point. On the other hand however, his coat is amazing.

  • NateMan

    Me too. HOW that show is as entertaining as it is I will never understand. I should hate it. I should mock it. It should be like Grimm. And yet.... I watch it and enjoy it every single week. And every time I say to my wife "How is this as good as it is?"

    I think she's getting tired of me saying it.

  • Parsnip

    Spader is the only reason I watch [hangs head].

  • emmalita

    We are legion.

  • bonsi

    I like Santiago much better than Diaz. Diaz is still very one note. But I really enjoy the whole cast

  • Michelle

    For me, Santiago is the Ann Perkins of this show - which is to say, a nice enough character, but not at all interesting.

  • Andrew J

    Man Bert and the girl from homeland are the worst! Also I just don't think trophy wife is that good. Sure it's the good of the new comedies but that doesn't say much.

  • What makes Bert better than your average "wise for his years" kid is that he's still a little goof ball. He still acts like a kid.

  • Andrew J

    I will give you that he acts better than the other kids on abc shows like modern family, and back in the game. Although still not as good as say kenny powers kid on eastbound and down.

  • Samantha Klein

    To answer your header question on Facebook: YES. And I don't even swing Beharie's way.

  • Oh, God, everything about The Blacklist, from the premise to the writing to the cast to the laughable CGI, is a nasty pile of wet cardboard--except for Spader.
    And I am still watching the stupid thing, because of Spader.
    Damn you, Spader.

  • Spader. Spader in hats. Spader eating. Spader confusing stupid people. While he is wearing hats.

  • Afferbeck

    Spader telling other people to call other people for him.

  • Parsnip

    Spader is like syrup. He just oozes sweet delight when he's on the telly.

  • Daniel Lewis

    I don't think Blacklist is terrible. Dumb yes, terrible no.

  • Stu Rat

    What about terribly dumb? Would you go as far as terribly dumb?

  • Joseph Finn

    If you had told me at the beginning of the season that the show with the best leads chemistry would be Sleepy Hollow...well no, no one would have said that. But sheesh, those two work well together.

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