With the end of another year fast approaching, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the year that was. The world of television is still going strong and there’s more series available than ever before. It’s quite overwhelming and even a little hard to navigate at times, but there’s nothing better than when you find yourself a show, amidst all the others, that delivers you a character you can really relate to or love. It’s those characters, the ones that find a special place in our hearts, and getting to spend so much time with them that makes TV truly special.
All TV characters are not created equal, though. That’s just a fact, no matter what show you’re talking about. Some characters really stand out, and while they aren’t perfect, I do find myself looking forward to spending time with them after a rough day or week. I want to escape into their world, sit back and enjoy what they are bringing to the screen. These characters may not even be the ones you’d think were the most popular on their show, but they are flat out the ones that give me the most joy week to week.
So go ahead and check them out below! Just keep in mind, these characters are listed in no particular order. Here’s are my Most Enjoyable TV Characters of 2018.
Penelope Alvarez – One Day at a Time
It’s utterly impossible to not feel better after watching an episode of One Day at a Time. Sure, you may also have some tears in your eyes, but you’re going to feel better and like your heart is full. While Rita Moreno’s Lydia is a sheer force of nature, and teenage Elena’s (Isabella Gomez) journey to discover her true self has been delight and so well done, at the heart of the Alvarez family, and around which everything revolves, is Penelope. Penelope is played with so much heart and warmth by Justina Machado. She’s so many things to so many people: a mother, a daughter, a love interest, a friend, a veteran, a nurse, and while she generally does a great job juggling everything, what was so compelling was seeing that even she sometimes fails. When Penelope went off her antidepressant medication was when Machado did some of her best work. It was a realistic and affecting portrayal of a struggle so many can relate to and one that desperately needs to be told. Don’t even get me started on the monologue Machado nailed in the finale either! One Day at a Time wouldn’t be nearly as good, or nearly as relatable, if it weren’t for Machado and Penelope.
Wynonna Earp – Wynonna Earp
You can’t have a show called Wynonna Earp without Wynonna Earp herself, and you don’t have Wynonna Earp, at least the character we all know and love so much, without Melanie Scrofano. On a show that has so many rich, lovable and enjoyable characters, Scrofano’s Wynonna is at the center of it all, and she elevates every single actor she shares the screen with. Showrunner Emily Andras and her team of writers threw everything possible at Scrofano’s Wynonna — grief, action, guilt, despair, comedy — this year and she always delivered. After fighting against it for some time, Wynonna finally accepted that she was the Earp heir and was ready to take up the mantle, only to uncover that it was actually sister Waverly who was the Chosen One. No matter what Wynonna was going through, the audience knew and felt every single moment of it thanks to Scrofano. There hasn’t been a challenge that Andras and her team have thrown her way that Scrofano hasn’t stepped up and knocked out of the park. I can only imagine what is in store for Wynonna and Season 4, but I do know that as long as Scrofano is front and center, it’s going to be one hell of an emotional ride.
Delle Seyah Kendry – Killjoys
It’s pretty hard to top Team Awesome Force when talking about television’s best trios. Killjoys’ star Hannah John-Kamen is coming off a star-making year co-starring in all kinds of Hollywood blockbusters, and Aaron Ashmore and Luke Macfarlane give the Jaqobis brothers such quiet strength and heart. However, I cannot hide the overwhelming love I have for Delle Seyah Kendry (Mayko Nguyen). Forced into teaming up with Dutch and the boys as she desperately searched for love Aneela, Delle Seyah was made an even more important part of the Killjoys family and I couldn’t have been happier. I know we’re not supposed to root for her but I just can’t help it. There’s just something about Delle Seyah’s presence on my screen that makes me so inexplicably happy. She’s evil, she knows it and she doesn’t care what you think. But she’s not dumb and she’s not as cold-hearted as she’d like you to believe. Not only has Delle Seyah found the love of her life, but she’s now also a part of a real, albeit weird, little family after giving birth to Jaq. Nguyen brings such a confidence, grace, heart and sharp-tongue to Delle Seyah that no matter what our head may tell us, I can’t help but love the hell out of Delle Seyah.
Sara Lance – Legends of Tomorrow
Many of us come to television for an escape from reality, and no other show has been as great of an escape as Season 4 of Legends of Tomorrow. It’s wonderfully weird and at the center of it all is Captain Sara Lance (Caity Lotz). She’s a powerful, badass woman in charge, no questions asked, and yet, the love she feels for every single member of her team is always evident. Sara is a reformed assassin who has learned to let go of a lot of guilt over things in her past and find love again. The romance she has with Ava (Jes Macallan) is just about as perfect as any TV romance can get. It’s supremely satisfying for viewers to get to see Sara so happy. It seems that with every season Lotz only gets better and better, especially this season as Sara is starting to see much of herself and the issues she’s worked through in Charlie (Maisie Richardson-Sellers). Sara is a real life superhero we all can root for, but Lotz makes her relatable, human and someone we’d want leading us into battle any day!
Lena Luthor – Supergirl
Lena Luthor is good. I’m sorry, but no matter what you or Supergirl may try to tell me, I will not believe differently. Lena (Katie McGrath) seems to be working harder than ever to try and prove that, from helping the DEO to even going so far in recent weeks as trying to cure cancer. While you may not agree with all of her methods, it’s always clear that Lena uses her wealth and brains to try and help Supergirl and the team in any way she can. Lena’s big heart was never more evident than in a recent episode that followed her experiment at curing cancer that ended up killing the willing participant. Through bonding with him, more layers than ever before were revealed about Lena, including the guilt she carries around with her about her real mother’s death. It was a great showcase for McGrath’s talent of putting a brave face on Lena, willing to stand up and go toe-to-toe with anyone, but who is really hurting underneath and just wants to feel loved. Here’s hoping someone gives Lena a hug soon. I know I’d volunteer as tribute if I could!
Villanelle – Killing Eve
Killing Eve exploded onto the scene earlier this year and there was magic from the moment Sandra Oh’s Eve Polastri crossed paths with deadly assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer). Oh has never been better and she brings so much to Eve, but it’s Comer’s cold, calculating and persistent Villanelle that really took this show to a whole other level for me. I couldn’t look away when she was on screen and the amusement she seemed to find in her chosen profession brought me just as much joy. There’s a goofiness and lightness to Villanelle that Comer brings and always left me captivated and begging for more.
Anne Carlson – Workin’ Moms
There are few shows on TV I relate to as much as Catherine Reitman’s Workin Moms. Of all the great women on it, there is none that I’m as fond of as sarcastic, sharp-tongued therapist Anne Carlson, played to perfection by Dani Kind. Anne is a take no shit kind of woman, always telling it like it is, but also one who saw her tough exterior crack a bit in Season 2. Anne’s conflict with best friend Kate (Reitman) lasted much of the season and, thanks to Kind and Reitman, was heartbreaking to watch. Anne’s past was also explored, as we met both her mother and an ex-husband that engaged in some very deplorable behavior. It was supremely satisfying to watch Anne make him pay in the end, and then get a personal win by marrying long-time partner Lionel. It’s a true testament to the writing, and Kind’s brilliant performance, that audiences can love a character that is often as angry as Anne is. Kind shows week after week that under her gruff exterior, Anne has a huge heart that fiercely loves her friends and family.
Nicole Mitchell – Mary Kills People
I’ve long said that I’d be on board if the creators of Mary Kills People changed the show’s premise to Sisters Kill People. Global’s drama following ER doc by day, Mary Harris (Caroline Dhavernas), as she performs assisted suicides for patients wanting to go on their own terms, has been compelling and affecting. While Dhavernas is stellar in the lead role, I most often look forward to and want to know more about Mary’s younger sister, Nicole (Charlotte Sullivan). The sisters have a complicated relationship, even more so now that Nicole is fully aware of what Mary has been up to, and I fully believe Nicole factored more into Season 2 because of Sullivan’s excellent portrayal. As the eclectic hairdresser, Sullivan worked with Mary creatives to bring a unique fashion and style to Nicole that gives her an air of mystery that draws viewers in, and leaves them wondering about her, long after she’s off screen. The snark and attitude Sullivan brings is reminiscent of her Gail Peck days on Rookie Blue, and proves that no one can get under your skin quite like family. Here’s hoping Mary’s final season leads to even more sister drama!
Luke – Lovesick
I was late to Lovesick, only finding it on Netflix when its third season arrived earlier this year. However, I quickly fell in love with the comedy that follows Dylan (Johnny Flynn), a guy who must get back in touch with every girl he’s had sex with after discovering he has an STD. While I enjoyed Dylan and his friend/crush Evie (Antonia Thomas) quite a bit, it was Dylan’s best friend Luke (Daniel Ings) that I really fell for. When viewers first meet Luke he is just a guy that wants to get laid. Nothing more. Nothing less. However, Lovesick slowly reveals that he’s so much more than a party boy and underneath everything, lies a very big heart. The evolution Lovesick and Ings take Luke on throughout Season 3 was a consistent bright spot for me, and it’s what made the season really stand out. Sure, Luke may love a raunchy joke now and again, but his charm and heart really have a hold on me.
The Widow – Into the Badlands
There’s no shortage of powerful, badass women on Into the Badlands. It’s one of the best things about the AMC drama series, and out of all of them, the Widow (Emily Beecham) consistently stands above the rest. A skilled fighter who finds herself in some of the show’s most beautifully choreographed sequences, I admire the way the Widow never shies away from her need for power and going after what she wants. She’s always been tough, capable and skilled, but in Season 3 the show started to peel back even more of her emotional layers. At odds with “daughter” Tilda (Ally Ioannides), Beecham skillfully conveyed the toll that this rift was taking on the Widow and how much it affected her. We also learned more about the Widow’s past with the introduction of Gaius Chau (Lewis Tan), and saw that she wasn’t always the hardened fighter she tries to present herself as now. I’m eager to keep exploring what is driving this complicated woman when Season 3 returns in the new year. Oh, and don’t even get me started on her fantastic wardrobe!
Jason Mendoza – The Good Place
The Good Place is full of great characters from top to bottom, make no mistake about it. So it was a difficult decision, but in the end, I just get so much pure delight every week from Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto). The aspiring DJ and break dancer from Florida who loves the Jacksonville Jaguars and Blake Bortels gives me so much joy. While Jason seems like such a simple guy in so many ways, he is not an easy character to get right. What Jacinto does in bringing Jason to life probably doesn’t get the credit from any of us that it deserves. He makes Jason both idiotic and endearing, and while he’s often obvious, it’s clear Jason is just trying to be better and do good. It’s really no wonder Janet loves him as much as she does! I kind of do too.
Wayne – LETTERKENNY
Wayne (Jared Keeso) is the toughest guy in town and he wants to make sure you know it. But what’s so great about LETTERKENNY, other than the lightning fast, whip-smart dialogue and wisecracks, is that Wayne actually isn’t as confident as he’d like everyone to think. Keeso allows for and brings a vulnerability to Wayne that makes me love him even more. While Letterkenny is a town full of interesting, hilarious characters, it wouldn’t succeed as a show nearly as well if not for top dog Wayne. LETTERKENNY is a true Canadian gem, that wears that Canadianness proudly on its sleeve. Keeso, who also created and co-writes on the show, brings a warmth to Wayne, especially when he’s genuinely nice to some of the oddballs that he’s dealing with. He’s a guy we all wish we had on our side.
The Doctor – Doctor Who
I’ll be honest, I’ve never had much interest in Doctor Who. It just didn’t seem to appeal much to me, but that all changed when I heard a woman would finally be playing the new Doctor, something that is never an easy task. The show needs to reestablish things, the Doctor must get used to their new body and we’ve got to meet the new companions that will be coming along for the ride. Right from the start, Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor was downright delightful to me and as the season went on, we got to know more and more about her personality. Whittaker’s Doctor is never overly girlie and she’s shown being smart, confident and capable. She’s daring and also a little bit weird, which I totally love. She’s also the reason why I can now say that I get why so many have loved this show over the years. Turns out, I like it a lot too with a Doctor as enjoyable as Whittaker’s.
NoHo Hank – Barry
Bill Hader’s hitman Barry is reserved, calm and very, very good at his job. It’s part of what makes his scenes as the straight man opposite the outgoing, cheerful Chechen gangster NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan) so much fun. Carrigan’s Hank is a ray of sunshine on the dark HBO comedy, ready to see what you’d like for lunch before making it clear that he’s going to kill you later. Hank’s always got a smile on his face, the enthusiasm of a young child and a heart of gold. Carrigan plays him to perfection, and I couldn’t hide the huge smile that would spread across my face whenever Hank appeared on my screen.
Catra – She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
Catra was a part of Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power that took the series from a good time to a flat out amazing watch for me. Her complicated relationship with Adora really struck a chord and pulled at my heartstrings. Her love for Adora is strong, but she can’t help but also be jealous of her. By giving us insight into Catra and Adora’s childhood, we were able to see a lot of why it is she feels that way, and it allows us to have sympathy for a character who strives so hard for power and is fighting on the side of evil. Catra feels abandoned by Adora, who seems to have left her behind in favor of the princesses. She’s hurt and betrayed and unfortunately, for Adora, seems ready to go full on villain in Season 2 and really embrace the evil. It may be wrong, but I can’t wait to see what that means.
Alexis Rose – Schitt’s Creek
As is the case with so many shows on this list, it’s so hard to single out one Schitt’s Creek character above the rest. Catherine O’Hara is forever a queen and David’s (Dan Levy) always been just about perfect for me. However, as the series goes on and on, I seem to love Alexis (Annie Murphy) more with each passing year. She and David are pretty much the best siblings on TV and hearing Murphy’s perfect delivery of “Ew, David!” brings me an insane amount of joy. Murphy’s growth and comfortability playing Alexis seem to go hand in hand with Alexis’ growth on screen as well. This season Alexis was a bit less self-absorbed and she really let herself be vulnerable quite a bit. She even started her own one-woman PR business! Under all that crazy fashion and high class front that she puts on, lies a woman who just wants to be accepted, loved and happy. She may seem ditzy and self absorbed, but Murphy brings a relatable charm to Alexis that makes us love her all the more. Alexis really should be proud of herself for all that she’s accomplished, I know viewers are.
Elizabeth Jennings – The Americans
I’m still in denial that The Americans has ended for good and won’t be coming back. I want to live in that denial, partially because conceding the series is done means that I won’t be getting any more of Keri Russell’s fabulous Elizabeth Jennings. For six seasons, Russell was pure perfection as the Russian spy, perhaps no more so than in the series’ stellar finale episode. Russell’s face can convey so much — worry, exhaustion, frustration, anger, heartache — that often times her most powerful scenes are ones that require no dialogue. In the end, Elizabeth’s heart, along with husband Philip’s, was quite broken over the fate of herself and her family. I know the feeling all too well because I’m absolutely heartbroken I won’t have Elizabeth in my life any more.
Appa – Kim’s Convenience
The concept behind Kim’s Convenience is a simple one, but the execution and dynamics at play between characters is far from that. At the head of the Kim family is Appa (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee), co-owner of a grocery store in Toronto. He’s a hard worker and devoted to both his store and family. It’s a family that often confuses him and causes him headaches, but Appa’s fierce love for them is always evident. In Season 2, his relationship with estranged son Jung (Simu Liu) came to the forefront, and it was heartbreaking to see months of hard work, by both parties, ultimately fall apart so quickly at Jung’s graduation party. There’s no doubt Appa loves his son and wants what’s best for him, but he struggled with how to communicate that effectively. While Sung-Hyung Lee brings plenty of laughs to the table as Appa, it’s these quieter, more serious moments where Appa really shines. Oh, and how can I forget Appa’s constant, comforting farewell, “Okay, see you!” You can bet I will, Mr. Kim!
DeMarcus Tillman – American Vandal
If there’s one thing that American Vandal really succeeds at, it’s creating compelling, complex, funny characters. In Season 2, the spotlight seemed to shine the brightest on star basketball player Demarcus Tillman (Melvin Gregg). A mediocre student, but all-star athlete, Demarcus seems to have the rule of the school, even as he becomes one of the main suspects in the case of the Turd Burglar. While it’s absolutely hilarious to see how Demarcus interacts with other students, and even teachers, it’s quickly clear how layered this character actually is. He’s not just a dumb jock. He’s got insecurities too, especially when you find just how lonely life at the top can be. Throughout the entire season, Gregg brings massive amounts of goofball charm, swagger and heart to Demarcus, and with every unique handshake he gave, I couldn’t help but want more and more of Demarcus.
Who is your most enjoyable TV character to watch? Did I leave out your favorite? Add them and your thoughts to the comments below!
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.