The Best Characters on TV Right Now: 100-91


I’m counting down the best characters on TV right now. These are the most well-written, most well-acted, overall most enjoyable characters on TV. The people I can’t wait to see every week. Let’s kick things off with 100-91!

100. Diane Johnson (black-ish)

At first, Diane just seemed like a cute little girl. But, the more they unravel the layers of how truly diabolical she is, the more fun she becomes. She once told her mother that she wants to be a doctor because sometimes doctors let people die and no one can trace it back to them. That’s an amazing TV character, right there.

99. Ray Ploshansky (Girls)

Ray has always been a great character, but he especially started to shine in the most recent season of Girls. His fight to get on the community board provided some of the strongest scenes. Although he was unlikable at first, he’s become an easy character to love as we see more of his friendships with Hannah, Shoshanna and Marnie.

98. Dennis Reynolds (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia)

Dennis manages to be a truly bone-chilling character while still nailing all of his punchlines and being surprisingly sympathetic when he’s wounded. He brilliantly takes the archetypal sleazy friend on every sitcom to its most extreme.

97. Dr. Krieger (Archer)

Dr. Krieger is hilarious because of how weird and disgusting he is, but what really makes the character stand out is a strangely earnest quality he has. They don’t play up his evil scientist qualities, instead he acts like a fairly calm, casual guy. The juxtaposition is absolutely perfect.

96. Lena Adams (The Fosters)

Lena messes up plenty, but she’s always really trying to protect her family and be the best person she can be. This makes her a relatable, likable character who you can’t help but root for. Some of the most beautiful moments of the show have been Lena’s scenes with her children, who she clearly loves deeply and unconditionally.

95. Thea Queen (Arrow)

Thea started off as Oliver’s sheltered little sister, but she very quickly asserted herself and made sure everyone understood that she’s just as capable of being a superhero as her brother. It’s been great watching her develop and seeing Speedy fight bad guys every week feels very rewarding.

94. Rainbow Johnson (black-ish)

The uptight sitcom mother isn’t exactly a new archetype, but Rainbow shines as her own uniquely funny character. She matches Dre’s energy well and has her own set of quirks, beyond reigning in her husband.

93. Peggy Carter (Agent Carter)

Peggy is the perfect hero. She’s brave, moral and smart. But, she’s never so perfect that she doesn’t feel like a real character. She has a rich inner life that makes the spy action more interesting.

92. Selina Meyer (Veep)

Selina can be absurdly selfish and vapid, but in a way that doesn’t feel far from what we see of politicians on the news. She’s a brilliant, often depressing satire on the mind and ego of politicians.

91. Cisco Ramon (The Flash)

Cisco’s bubbly enthusiasm is a huge part of The Flash‘s energy and unique tone. He’s always there to provide a great snappy line of dialogue or a brilliant invention to save the day. Let’s face it: at this point, he should be counted as a superhero himself.


That’s it for part one of my list of the best characters on TV right now. Check back on Monday, when I’ll continue the countdown.


About Author

Pop Culture Spin Managing Editor Lenny Burnham is a writer/comedian in New York City. He hosts the podcast The Filmographers.


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