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21 Supporting TV Characters Who Might Even Be Better Than The Main Characters

Because being the main character doesn't mean you deserve all the love.

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1. Gunther — Friends

For all of the crap he had to deal with from the six main characters, Gunther deserves some kind of award. While we got a decade's worth of episodes peeking into the lives of the titular ~friends~, Gunther's life was rarely brought into the picture. Let's give Gunther his due — he's earned it.
NBC

For all of the crap he had to deal with from the six main characters, Gunther deserves some kind of award. While we got a decade's worth of episodes peeking into the lives of the titular ~friends~, Gunther's life was rarely brought into the picture. Let's give Gunther his due — he's earned it.

2. Margaret Scully — Masters of Sex

Despite strong performances from the leads, Allison Janney's Margaret Scully, a woman struggling to break through a lifetime of repressed personal agency, is perhaps the most intriguing character on the show. And although her appearances have been infrequent, they are powerful enough to have earned Janney an Emmy for her guest role. Why not expand on that and make Janney's Margaret Scully the focus of an entire series?
Showtime

Despite strong performances from the leads, Allison Janney's Margaret Scully, a woman struggling to break through a lifetime of repressed personal agency, is perhaps the most intriguing character on the show. And although her appearances have been infrequent, they are powerful enough to have earned Janney an Emmy for her guest role. Why not expand on that and make Janney's Margaret Scully the focus of an entire series?

3. Regina — Once Upon a Time

Regina's by far the most complex character on Once Upon A Time, and she's the biggest fan favorite and one half of the show's most beloved ship — SwanQueen. Emma might be the Savior of Storybrooke, but Regina's the glue that keeps the show rooted in real character development. She's gone from innocent country girl to Evil Queen, and this season she might be making a full transition into the new Savior. Plus, no one looks better in leather pants. Give this woman a show just for the leather pants.
ABC

Regina's by far the most complex character on Once Upon A Time, and she's the biggest fan favorite and one half of the show's most beloved ship — SwanQueen. Emma might be the Savior of Storybrooke, but Regina's the glue that keeps the show rooted in real character development. She's gone from innocent country girl to Evil Queen, and this season she might be making a full transition into the new Savior. Plus, no one looks better in leather pants. Give this woman a show just for the leather pants.

4. Rachel Menken — Mad Men

Rachel was one of Don's first conquests (well, at least during the events of the show) and eventually proved to be one of the most enduring liaisons in a series full of them. Rachel was a no-nonsense type of person who did not hesitate to put Don in his place, an attitude that led her to stand out in his mind. And so when she reappeared near the end of the series, it was no surprise; Rachel was the type of woman who could stand toe-to-toe with Don. To see that attitude and energy on a spinoff — about, say, the challenges she faces as a Jewish woman trying to make it in the business world in the middle of the century — would be fantastic.
AMC

Rachel was one of Don's first conquests (well, at least during the events of the show) and eventually proved to be one of the most enduring liaisons in a series full of them. Rachel was a no-nonsense type of person who did not hesitate to put Don in his place, an attitude that led her to stand out in his mind. And so when she reappeared near the end of the series, it was no surprise; Rachel was the type of woman who could stand toe-to-toe with Don. To see that attitude and energy on a spinoff — about, say, the challenges she faces as a Jewish woman trying to make it in the business world in the middle of the century — would be fantastic.

5. Becky — Empire

Fox

Empire might be full of plot twists, but the only person who serves up more delightful comedic levity than Cookie is Becky. And it's about time Gabourey Sidibe got her own show anyway.

6. Barney Gumble — The Simpsons

Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie. Without them, The Simpsons would lose its crux and, seemingly, all interest. But picture this: A downtrodden man, struggling with personal demons that manifest themselves in an addiction to alcohol, seeks a human connection that will enable him to give up on the booze. Sure, it might not be laugh-out-loud funny, but with the rise of the "sadcom," a series focused on Barney could actually be a perfect entry into the television landscape.
Fox

Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie. Without them, The Simpsons would lose its crux and, seemingly, all interest. But picture this: A downtrodden man, struggling with personal demons that manifest themselves in an addiction to alcohol, seeks a human connection that will enable him to give up on the booze. Sure, it might not be laugh-out-loud funny, but with the rise of the "sadcom," a series focused on Barney could actually be a perfect entry into the television landscape.

7. Gendry — Game of Thrones

If only to answer the question, "Where the fuck has Gendry been this whole time?"
HBO

If only to answer the question, "Where the fuck has Gendry been this whole time?"

8. Flaca — Orange Is the New Black

Netflix

In a show chock-full of strong supporting roles, it can be tough for a character to stand out. But Flaca does just that, what with her distinctive punk aesthetic and love for The Smiths. And given Flaca's propensity for ~standing out~, giving her a show of her own would offer her sharp personality even more opportunity to shine.

9. Spike — Buffy

Even if you prefered Angel, there's no denying Spike was the most fascinating vampyr on Buffy, even when he was shacked up with crazy-ass Drusilla. His backstory episodes were some of the best in the Buffy canon — remember 1977 Spike on the NYC subway? — and his hair remains the most iconic bleach job in TV history. Imagine getting to see more of William the Bloody's backstory, getting guest appearances from Dru, and even more Angel crossover episodes.
20th Century Fox Television

Even if you prefered Angel, there's no denying Spike was the most fascinating vampyr on Buffy, even when he was shacked up with crazy-ass Drusilla. His backstory episodes were some of the best in the Buffy canon — remember 1977 Spike on the NYC subway? — and his hair remains the most iconic bleach job in TV history. Imagine getting to see more of William the Bloody's backstory, getting guest appearances from Dru, and even more Angel crossover episodes.

10. Angie — 30 Rock

NBC

LET'S MAKE QUEEN OF JORDAN INTO A REALITY.

11. Bert — Trophy Wife

Sure, there were four adults in leading roles on this show, but whenever Albert Tsai came onscreen as Bert, it was clear that he was the true star. Bert's the kind of person with an energy so infectious that you can't help but feel your mood improving when watching him. And while the entire show was terrific (#BringBackTrophyWife), if ABC offered to produce a spinoff, but with only one of the same characters, Bert is the clear choice.
ABC

Sure, there were four adults in leading roles on this show, but whenever Albert Tsai came onscreen as Bert, it was clear that he was the true star. Bert's the kind of person with an energy so infectious that you can't help but feel your mood improving when watching him. And while the entire show was terrific (#BringBackTrophyWife), if ABC offered to produce a spinoff, but with only one of the same characters, Bert is the clear choice.

12. Sense8 — Amanita

In its debut season, Sense8 proved itself to be an incredibly complex show with an intricate mythology. But despite having eight lead characters, some of the true standouts were the ones just to the side. Case in point: Amanita. Where her girlfriend Nomi is flustered, Amanita is cool and collected. She exudes optimism and compassion. And having a show focused on a badass queer woman of color would be a welcome addition to the TV landscape.
Netflix

In its debut season, Sense8 proved itself to be an incredibly complex show with an intricate mythology. But despite having eight lead characters, some of the true standouts were the ones just to the side. Case in point: Amanita. Where her girlfriend Nomi is flustered, Amanita is cool and collected. She exudes optimism and compassion. And having a show focused on a badass queer woman of color would be a welcome addition to the TV landscape.

13. Freddy — House of Cards

House of Cards is one of those television conundrums, a series that captures the rapt attention of viewers who want to know what happens next despite the fact that the main characters are, on the whole, people you don't actually want to root for. Bit you know who is easy to root for on that show? Freddy. He's a simple guy who likes to make barbecue. Who doesn't like barbecue? Let's get some more barbecue.
Netflix

House of Cards is one of those television conundrums, a series that captures the rapt attention of viewers who want to know what happens next despite the fact that the main characters are, on the whole, people you don't actually want to root for. Bit you know who is easy to root for on that show? Freddy. He's a simple guy who likes to make barbecue. Who doesn't like barbecue? Let's get some more barbecue.

14. Lucy — Twin Peaks

As the receptionist at the Twin Peaks Sheriff's Department, Lucy was the incredibly eccentric glue that held together an already-eccentric group of law enforcement agents. And although she popped up often, Lucy often didn't get a full chance to shine in the face of Twin Peaks's complex and idiosyncratic machinations. Plus, she respects the value of doughnuts, and that's pretty much the most important trait any TV character could have.
ABC

As the receptionist at the Twin Peaks Sheriff's Department, Lucy was the incredibly eccentric glue that held together an already-eccentric group of law enforcement agents. And although she popped up often, Lucy often didn't get a full chance to shine in the face of Twin Peaks's complex and idiosyncratic machinations. Plus, she respects the value of doughnuts, and that's pretty much the most important trait any TV character could have.

15. Clementine — Girls

Desi and Marnie's romantic liaison is...polarizing, to say the least. But despite that, let's give thanks for the fact that their dalliance introduced us to Clementine, Desi's (now) ex, who seemed to have more of a head on her shoulders than many characters on the show. She may be even more minor of a character than others on this list, but by virtue of being played by Natalie Morales, she still packed a punch. And Natalie Morales should always be on television. Always.
HBO

Desi and Marnie's romantic liaison is...polarizing, to say the least. But despite that, let's give thanks for the fact that their dalliance introduced us to Clementine, Desi's (now) ex, who seemed to have more of a head on her shoulders than many characters on the show. She may be even more minor of a character than others on this list, but by virtue of being played by Natalie Morales, she still packed a punch. And Natalie Morales should always be on television. Always.

16. Paris Geller — Gilmore Girls

Rory's who we all relate to when we're 16 years old, but Paris is the person you most relate to when you re-watch Gilmore Girls as an adult. Imagine a show starring Paris as an established surgeon, fantastically brilliant but lacking in social skills, both beloved and intensely hated by her staff — a bit like House but quippier, with occasional cameos by our favorites from Stars Hollow.
Warner Bros. Television

Rory's who we all relate to when we're 16 years old, but Paris is the person you most relate to when you re-watch Gilmore Girls as an adult. Imagine a show starring Paris as an established surgeon, fantastically brilliant but lacking in social skills, both beloved and intensely hated by her staff — a bit like House but quippier, with occasional cameos by our favorites from Stars Hollow.

17. Felix — Orphan Black

BBC America

Wit, sass, and smarts — Felix has all of the characteristics that make for a fan-favorite TV character (which, naturally, he is). But while Orphan Black as a whole focuses on its ever-expanding conspiracy, Felix keeps the show grounded in his deeply felt relationships with the main characters/clones. Those relationships are what made the show so powerful in the first place — so by giving Felix his own show, we'd have more of a chance to focus on what really works.

18. Doris — Looking

Although Looking was (sadly) cancelled after only two seasons, at least it gave us an introduction to Lauren Weedman's character Doris. While the first season played up her penchant for sarcasm and snark, Season 2 allowed viewers a better look at the character. In the episode "Looking for a Plot," we see Doris dealing with the death of her father, displaying a range of emotional depth that was gripping to watch. While there's clearly more story to tell with the men of Looking (and there will be a wrap-up movie to do just that), it's Doris who deserves even more of an opportunity to shine.
HBO

Although Looking was (sadly) cancelled after only two seasons, at least it gave us an introduction to Lauren Weedman's character Doris. While the first season played up her penchant for sarcasm and snark, Season 2 allowed viewers a better look at the character. In the episode "Looking for a Plot," we see Doris dealing with the death of her father, displaying a range of emotional depth that was gripping to watch. While there's clearly more story to tell with the men of Looking (and there will be a wrap-up movie to do just that), it's Doris who deserves even more of an opportunity to shine.

19. Jenny — Sleepy Hollow

Abbie may be one of the Two Witnesses, but her sister Jenny's the badass of the family. Jenny was a believer long before Abbie, so much so that she spent most of her life in an asylum for refusing to lie about her beliefs — imagine how dark and twisted her flashback episodes would be. She's tortured, good with a gun, and she has extremely hot chemistry with Hawley. Maybe they could open their own demon-hunting agency...
Fox

Abbie may be one of the Two Witnesses, but her sister Jenny's the badass of the family. Jenny was a believer long before Abbie, so much so that she spent most of her life in an asylum for refusing to lie about her beliefs — imagine how dark and twisted her flashback episodes would be. She's tortured, good with a gun, and she has extremely hot chemistry with Hawley. Maybe they could open their own demon-hunting agency...

20. Irene Adler — Sherlock

She's the woman who beat Sherlock, both figuratively and literally.
BBC

She's the woman who beat Sherlock, both figuratively and literally.

21. Rose and Bernard — Lost

Fraught love triangles, mysterious creatures, and dense mythology — these were some ended after six seasons, there were fans who were disappointed with how it handled those hallmarks of the show. You know which characters stayed far away from all of that stuff, though? Rose and Bernard. They were simply two loving, sweet, and down-to-earth people. For a show that sought to reclaim the importance of character above plot in its finale, perhaps Rose and Bernard perhaps have made the strongest case in favor of what happens when you let your characters exist outside of all of the craziness that surrounds them. Strong personalities rise to the top. And that's what Rose and Bernard were.
ABC

Fraught love triangles, mysterious creatures, and dense mythology — these were some ended after six seasons, there were fans who were disappointed with how it handled those hallmarks of the show. You know which characters stayed far away from all of that stuff, though? Rose and Bernard. They were simply two loving, sweet, and down-to-earth people. For a show that sought to reclaim the importance of character above plot in its finale, perhaps Rose and Bernard perhaps have made the strongest case in favor of what happens when you let your characters exist outside of all of the craziness that surrounds them. Strong personalities rise to the top. And that's what Rose and Bernard were.

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