Lists, lists and more lists. Welcome folks to just the beginning of the end of the year countdown. It’s been a great year for television and, similarly to film, has been enjoyably eclectic. With great shows comes great characters (you’d hope) and 2014 was full of them. So here is my narrowed down list of 21 characters who stole scenes this year, in no particular order.
Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) – The Flash
I mean-he’s essentially bottled sunshine right? We need more characters like him. Barry Allen loves being a superhero, and we love watching him.
Korra (Janet Varney) – The Legend of Korra
A literal force of nature, riddled with demons but trying to overcome-what else can you want? Despite her pain and suffering she’s always trying to save the people she loves. While I’d argue the show transcends it’s targeted demographic I’m certainly glad a younger audience has gotten the chance to witness such a powerful female character.
Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross) Black-ish
Black-ish has turned into one of my favorite new sitcoms of the fall and Rainbow’s mix of awkward mom and exasperated wife coupled with her confidence makes for one expert scene stealer. Tracee Ellis Ross also has the best reaction faces.
Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) – True Detective
Reserved, philosophical, damaged: Rust was a perplexing character and beautifully performed by McConaughey and his final scenes in the last episode are some of the finest moments of acting on TV this year.
Helena (Tatiana Maslany) – Orphan Black
Orphan Black season two didn’t quite reach the heights of the first but Helena was never better.
Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) – Doctor Who
It was supposed to be the season of the 12th Doctor but really it was Clara’s. So much so that when Clara says “I am the Doctor” we were kind of hoping she was. She only grew in our affections as we learned more about her personal life and spent more time with her.
Jane (Gina Rodriguez) – Jane the Virgin
I’m still playing catch up with this show but Jane is remarkably infectious. She’s comfortable in her own skin and Gina Rodriguez is simply enjoyable to watch, regardless of what the character’s doing.
Eliza Dooley (Karen Gillian) – Selfie
Her personality screams self-centered until you realize her secret and buried insecurities, shielding a genuinely sweet character.
Clarke and Bellamy – The 100
I’ve only just caught up to season two but these two have really sucked me in. Clarke is a phenomenal bad ass female character and Bellamy has gotten to grow into an immensely watchable anti-hero. The show (which I already enjoy) gets instantly better when they’re sharing a scene.
Poussey (Samira Wiley) – Orange is the New Black
It’s fantastic what some backstory and some personal tragedy can do. Poussey became one of the highlights of season two as we saw her loose herself as she became more and more alienated.
Fitz (Ian De Caestecker ) – Agents of SHIELD
Secret time: Agents of SHIELD bores me more times than not. However, Fitz is one of the few characters this season that have gotten my full attention. His storyline this season has been genuinely moving and Ian De Caestecker has been doing some touching work.
Alison (Ruth Wilson) – The Affair
Never what she appears to be on face value alone and infinitely more interesting than her male counterpart, Alison is all tightly coiled grief and Ruth Wilson is magnificent.
Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) – Game of Thrones
Tyrion was painted as the monster people made him out to be and he reemerged for the first time since season one to become the shows real force to be reckoned with. The more that was taken from him the more fascinating he became.
Void Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) – Teen Wolf Season 3B
It’s never been a secret that Stiles is a fan favorite or that Dylan O’Brien is the shows only real potential break out but who knew he’s be so wildly entertaining as the baddie? Possessed Stiles opened up a wealth of opportunity for O’Brien to play with and seeing the comedic relief in such distress always makes for great TV.
Abbie and Illana (Abbie Jacobson and Illana Glazer) – Broad City
I mean, I can’t separate them now can I? They are the side of being a mid-20 year-old that we don’t like to admit to: messy in every part of their lives, especially where it counts, and hilarious all the while.
Josh (Josh Thomas) – Please Like Me
He deflects to humor or insults when put in emotionally uncomfortable conversations, he’s insecure about almost everything about himself, has had the same group of friends (if you can call it a group) for as long as he can remember, loves food and is messy in his love life. He’s astonishingly real and, more interestingly, relatable.
Gretchen (Aya Cash) – You’re the Worst
I could have picked any of the four leads and believe me, Edgar was close to being mentioned but Gretchen was the one who was the most unfamiliar. Rude, crass, vulnerable and aggressive, Gretchen felt new. Aya Cash was one of the best surprises of the fall season.
Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) – How to Get Away with Murder
It’s a powerhouse performance doused in shades of grey by Viola Davis who as Keating sells multiple facets of the character, never allowing Keating to appear as if she’s telling the whole truth. She’s a scene stealer to a fault.
Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) – Brooklyn Nine-Nine
I mean, did you see his “Am I okay” monologue? He never fails to land a line and he’s only gotten funnier in season two. Flashback Holt remains a highlight on the show.
Molly (Alison Tolman) – Fargo
I haven’t seen many characters like Alison Tolman’s Molly on Fargo, one of the year’s best shows. There were an abundance of rich characters on the FX show but its Tolman’s that left a lasting impression. Impossibly strong willed and good-natured, she was always the hero of her own story.
Mickey Milkovich (Noel Fisher)- Shameless
Few characters have been given such a rewarding story arc and Noel Fisher has absolutely knocked his out of the park. From rough and tumble and too afraid to admit his sexuality to out and proud but still ready to knock your teeth in, Mickey has turned into one of the best characters on TV in recent memory, not just simply this year.