The Best Characters on TV Right Now: 60-51


I’m continuing my countdown of the best characters on TV right now. I looked at a variety of television genres to try to find the most entertaining and well-crafted characters on television. Don’t forget to check out my choices for 70-61, 80-71, 90-81 and 100-91.

60. Bonnie Plunkett (Mom)

Part of what makes Mom stand out from other CBS sitcoms is that it’s not afraid to tackle real themes, in particular the harm that comes from addiction. Bonnie’s emotional journey doesn’t distract from the comedy, it makes it stronger. It’s great seeing such an honest, incredible redemption arc.

59. Lillian (Another Period)

Lillian is hilariously cruel and shallow. The show gives her enough comeuppance to balance out how awful she is. They know just how to write the comedy so that you laugh at how mean and desperate she is, rather than just feel uncomfortable or sad.

58. Mellie Grant (Scandal)

It’s been inspiring watching Mellie pull away from Fitz and shine on her own. Most recently, she stood up for women in Scandal‘s awesome midseason finale, disregarding how much it would hurt her politically. It was a wonderful episode that showed off her overall development in the series.

57. Tyrion Lannister (Game of Thrones)

Tyrion is often the most fun character in Game of Thrones, but the fact that he doesn’t conduct himself with self-seriousness doesn’t mean he’s not an incredible dramatic character. He has perhaps the richest backstory of any of them and, although he’s not perfect, is one of just a handful of characters you can genuinely root for.

56. Dinesh Chugtai (Silicon Valley)

My dude wants so badly to be cool and he’s just not. He will also swing wildly between wanting to have the moral high ground or else be a total badass rebel. You’re not pulling off either, my guy. Just learn to be happy with who you are. And get some better shirts.

55. Olivia Pope (Scandal)

Gladiator Olivia Pope felt like a breath of fresh air when she first came on the air in 2013. There’s still not quite anyone like her on TV and she’s still delivering satisfying moments, like when she dumped Fitz’s ass.

54. Carmen Luna (Devious Maids)

Carmen’s brazen confidence and constant laziness are enough to make her hilarious, charming and entertaining. But, on top of all that, she’s a true three-dimensional character. As silly as she can be, your heart breaks for her in moments like last season when she found out her singing career was crushed.

53. Rayna James (Nashville)

Rayna is a strong, hard-working woman who constantly has to fight against major obstacles. As much as the audience might wish she could catch a break, it’s seeing her deal with everything in her way that makes us love her so much.

52. Cookie Lyon (Empire)

Cookie is a huge character and incredibly entertaining, but her fierce love for her children and her rightful quest to get what she’s owed after her sacrifice for Lucious make her much more. She’s the true hero of the series.

51. Cheryl Tunt (Archer)

Archer has done a wonderful job of crafting a character who is so truly bizarre, you never know what she’s going to say. Immortal Cheryl lines like “seriously, what is cancer?” make me laugh every time.


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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