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    21 TV Characters Who Had Such Strong Arcs, They Were Literally Unrecognizable From Who They Were At The Start

    Tired: Loki in every MCU film. Wired: Loki in Loki.

    1. Loki from Loki

    Loki telling Sylvie "all i know is I don't wanna hurt you, I don't want a throne, I just want you to be okay"
    Disney+ / Marvel

    Listen, I was never a fan of Loki. His flip-flopping bothered me, and I never found him that interesting. UNTIL Loki. I feel like he became so much more interesting when confronted with his future, past, and goals. This was the first time I felt like he had actual character development, not just when it came to Mobius and Sylvie, but even in his own goals. He gets the opportunity to rule Earth and says no, then only considers running the timelines to prevent something worse from happening. But the most impactful moment came when he said to Sylvie, "I just want you to be okay." I can't imagine Loki from any of the films saying that to anyone.

    2. Cordelia from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel

    Cordelia is told the only way to keep the visions is to become part demon, and that it will be painful and unpredictable and she'll never be able to lead a human life again, but Cordelia tells him to do it
    The WB

    WE ARE IGNORING ANGEL SEASON 4 HERE, since that wasn't Cordelia anyway. Without Angel Season 4, Cordelia truly had the best character development of any character I have ever seen. She went from completely shallow and clueless to basically a god because of all the good she'd done. And yet she was still Cordelia the whole time — her transformation felt so natural and earned. I will never forgive the show for what they did to her.

    3. Wesley from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel

    Wesley tells Willow "I've changed. I've seen a darkness in myself"
    The WB

    If you looked at Wesley when he first came onto Buffy after finishing Angel, you wouldn't even recognize him. He was a bumbling, uptight comic relief character turned dark hero (and occasional antihero). He truly was one of the most interesting characters on the show by the end, and besides Cordelia, it felt like he was the most complex and had gone through the most transformative journey.

    4. Rebecca from Ted Lasso

    Apple TV

    Rebecca was hurt, and she did something bad that she later owned up to. But I also think it's more than just that. You can see in her whole demeanor, in her relationships, and in the way she treats her coworkers how much she's changed from the pilot until now. She's genuinely a new person because of the kindness of those around her and because of her own strength of character.

    5. Sarah Manning from Orphan Black

    BBC

    Sarah started off literally just trying to con a dead girl, and she was a super unwilling participant in figuring out the whole clone conspiracy. Plus, she was not the best mom. She definitely regressed at certain points in the series, but by the end, she'd really emerged as a true leader and a great mom, as well as a great sister to all the other clones. I especially loved seeing the progression of her relationship with Helena!

    6. Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender

    Zuko says he thought he wanted honor, but really he was trying to please his father, who was cruel and challenged him to an Agni Kai
    Nickelodeon

    Zuko starts as an angry teenager hell-bent on catching the Avatar and "regaining his honor," only to learn that honor is something that's been inside him all along (this is a kids show, after all). He works with Aang and the others to atone for his actions and do the right thing after actively working against them for seasons. If that's not character development, I don't know what is.

    7. Mona from Pretty Little Liars

    Freeform

    Mona was a straight-up criminal mastermind. She tortured the Liars for years and then worked with the new A-team to continue the game. But over time, her care for Hannah, Mike, and her mom helped her grow, and she turned toward becoming one of the Liars' biggest allies, even apologizing for her past actions. She also stopped hiding how smart she was and truly let it define her.

    8. Alexis from Schitt's Creek

    Pop!TV

    Alexis starts out extremely vapid and materialistic. She goes along with whatever fun situation comes her way, and she doesn't seem to prioritize herself or her future. In Schitt's Creek, she truly starts to apply herself, finishing high school and then college and starting her own business. She also learns how to be a true friend and a good sister and daughter over the course of the series — I've loved watching her relationship with Moira grow in particular.

    9. Bonnie Bennett from The Vampire Diaries

    The CW

    Bonnie starts out as a classic "best friend" character — loyal, kind, and protective. She's always willing to sacrifice herself for Elena or Jeremy or any other greater purpose, and she dies multiple times to save people. But by the end of the series, Bonnie finally knows her own strength and worth. She fights for what she cares about but also herself, and she isn't so quick to give up her own needs. She challenges everyone around her, but especially Damon, to be better. She's by far the strongest character on the show, magically and otherwise.

    10. Jin from Lost

    ABC

    I really hated Jin at first. He was so controlling and stuck in his ways, and it was amazing to watch him transform into someone who was worthy of Sun. He became a hero who truly wanted her to be happy, even if it was without him. Their love story absolutely broke my heart, and I'm still upset about how it ended.

    11. April from Parks and Recreation

    NBC

    April starts out as someone who really doesn't want to try at anything. She's extremely cynical, and though her worldview doesn't change, she really comes into her own and finds her place in the world as the series goes on. She becomes a better friend and pushes herself to find what she really wants to do, and though her personality remains the same, she's much better at letting people in.

    12. Sansa Stark from Game of Thrones

    HBO

    Sansa went from being a little girl who wanted nothing more than to marry a prince to being an incredibly intelligent queen and certified badass. She figured out that Lord Baelish was manipulating her and had him killed, had Ramsay eaten alive by his dogs, and negotiated her brother's freedom. She fought for the North, and we love her for it.

    13. Walter White from Breaking Bad

    AMC

    I didn't say that all character development had to be good! Walt went from jaded high school teacher to drug kingpin — but the real development for me came when he finally admitted that he didn't do it all to help his family, but because he liked the power. WE BEEN KNEW, SIS.

    14. Brooke Davis from One Tree Hill

    Brooke says "You want high school Brooke? I have news for you. I am not that girl anymore. There is a lot more to me than just sex"
    The CW

    Brooke went from being an immature, insecure party girl to being a wonderful friend, CEO, and mother. She owned up to her past mistakes and was always there for those who needed her. Honestly, Peyton didn't deserve her as a BFF.

    15. Steve from Stranger Things

    Netflix

    OK, IMO, Steve was always great. But he definitely came into his own as Dad™️ of the gang at the end of Season 1, and it only progressed from there. Protective, silly, and understanding, Steve became the dad friend we all need.

    16. Lydia Martin from Teen Wolf

    Lydia telling Aiden she doesn't want to be with the bad guys, since he helped kill Boyd
    MTV

    She started off as a prissy, powerless, selfish teenager who hid her intelligence and dated the bad boys. By the end of the series, she was a powerful banshee with a self-professed IQ above 170 who only wanted to help save her friends. We love to see it!!

    17. Nathan Scott from One Tree Hill

    Haley says she doesn't want Nathan to lose his dream, but he says his dream is her
    The CW

    Nathan was straight-up THE WORST in the beginning. He was mean, petty, and cared only about basketball. But loving Haley turned Nathan into a strong, sensitive man who wanted to change. Losing her caused him to spiral downward again — but he picked himself up and learned to stand on his own two feet before they got back together. In the end, he cared about his family and friends above all else, even sacrificing basketball. Am I still in love with Nathan, you ask??? Absolutely.

    18. Caroline Forbes from The Vampire Diaries

    The CW

    I mean, even from Season 1 to 2, she had amazing development. She went from being an insecure, catty fake friend to being the best friend in the series. She showed so much kindness and love to everyone, but she wasn't afraid to call people out when they were doing things wrong. She never gave up on her friends, and she became an amazing mother of two children who weren't even hers. She always kept life fun and positive. We all need a Caroline Forbes in our lives.

    19. Emma Swan from Once Upon a Time

    ABC

    Emma went from not believing in fairy tales and wanting to run away from Henry and Regina to fully embracing her role as savior and fighting for her son. She went from not even being able to give herself hope to giving everyone hope. Honestly, I need a little bit of an Emma Swan arc in my life right now.

    20. Eleanor Shellstrop from The Good Place

    Eleanor tells Michael "I’m not meant for this! I’m not the freaking savior of the universe. I’m just a girl from Arizona. That’s it. I’m just a normal girl from Arizona"
    NBC

    So Eleanor was a pretty trash person at the start. In her own words, she "sometimes left H&M wearing more underwear than she was wearing when she came in." But during the series, she fought again and again to find the truth — and when she passed the test to get into the Good Place, she decided to stay with her friends rather than go. In the last season, we've seen her become a stronger leader fighting to save humanity, even though she doesn't feel prepared for the role.

    21. And finally, Chidi from The Good Place

    NBC

    Chidi was always a good person. But his indecisiveness brought pain to those around him and, most of all, to himself. By the end of the show, not only was he sure that he wanted to be with Eleanor, but he was also able to work under a super-tight deadline to come up with a new afterlife while, you know, THE FATE OF THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE WAS ON THE LINE. His decision to leave the Good Place was the ultimate moment that proved he'd truly found peace and overcome his own indecisiveness.

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