Skip To Content
  • Black Lives Matter badge

35 Black Characters From Popular TV Shows Who Were Wrongly Sidelined

Susie Carmichael from Rugrats deserved her own spin-off.

We asked the BuzzFeed Community to share which Black characters they thought were sidelined on TV shows. Here are some who deserved so much better:


1. Tara Thornton from True Blood


"Her entire character arc was being the sad and angry Black girl from a broken home, and then she was turned into a vampire. Just when things were getting good for her, she died!"


2. Toni Topaz from Riverdale

The CW

"She started out with a nice storyline on the show, but then her sole purpose was being Cheryl's girlfriend. Unfortunately, the only thing she's been involved with is the whole tickling porn plot, which only lasted an episode or two."


3. Stanley Hudson from The Office


"Stanley was amazing and had me rolling around in tears half the time, but he wasn't given enough attention. I know The Office is supposed to be satire, but there were too many race-centered jokes. In nearly every interaction Michael had with Stanley, he would always bring up his race, and I just got tired of it. I know we're meant to laugh AT Michael's character, but Stanley shouldn't have been done dirty because of it."


4. Mickey Smith from Doctor Who


"While his character did have a pretty good transformation arc throughout his time on the show, I can never forgive how in the first couple of seasons, his character was just written off time and time again. He was supposed to be Rose’s boyfriend and best friend, but she completely dropped him for the Doctor. And anytime he went on trips with Rose and the Doctor, Mickey was always just kinda pushed to the side or forgotten about. He was one of the first companions to realize the Doctor wasn’t this God, but just a person with feelings, and for those reasons his character had somewhat negative feelings toward the Doctor. Mickey was one of the strongest characters, but he was mostly used as a comedic role."


5. Mercedes Jones from Glee


"I could go on a whole rant about how much Mercedes deserved! She let Quinn move in with her after Quinn was kicked out of her house, she stood her ground and realized her worth in Season 3 when Mr. Schue was rude to her, and when she was robbed of the role of Maria, she started The Troubletones. She gave great advice, was a great friend all the time, and was talented as f*ck. No one could sing like her — not even Rachel."


6. Lisa Turtle from Saved by the Bell


"Lisa Turtle was never given a serious love interest, and her whole running gag with Screech didn't make up for it. She had a one-time thing with Zack, but they never did anything with it and it still makes me mad."


7. Liberty Van Zandt from Degrassi: The Next Generation


"Liberty from Degrassi deserved better. She was a smart, driven, kind, and caring human being, yet she was treated like a freak and a nuisance. I stan her."


8. Winston Bishop from New Girl


"It took New Girl a VERY long time to figure out who Winston was as a character. Lamorne Morris is hilarious and always found ways to get the laugh, but all the way through the show, I could feel the showrunners saying to themselves, 'What do we DO with this character?'"


9. Darryl Philbin from The Office


"Darryl 100% deserved better — he was the smartest character on the show, and they should have made him manager of Dunder Mifflin."


10. Maggie Pierce from Grey's Anatomy


"I was excited because I thought the whole idea would be Maggie Pierce was just like an Ellis, with cutthroat ambition like Meredith. Then I got to her season, and she was just this little side story — she should’ve been a main character ready to take on the show! It was disappointing how they sidelined her and made her so boring."


11. Angela Moore from Boy Meets World


"Not only was Angela written off the show one episode before the finale (making her the only main cast member not in it), but she was brought back for only one episode in Girl Meets World. They said she broke up with Shawn and their relationship wasn't authentic, which was false. They got through his dad's death, her abandonment issues, and their romantic problems to become a stronger couple. Angela's character deserved so much better."


12. Susie Carmichael from Rugrats


"Growing up, I remember Susie being the first Black character I'd seen as a child. It felt like she was just there for the sake of having a Black character. Hell, Rugrats would even go multiple episodes without her being mentioned. Sometimes I forgot she even existed!"


13. Andre Harris from Victorious


"Andre was Tori’s first friend and best friend at Hollywood Arts, but as the series progressed, he got pushed to the side. He was the most musically talented person on the show (besides Ariana Grande), and his character was used mostly as a backup singer or just to play instruments. He deserved more lead vocal opportunities on the show."


14. Kendra Young from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

The WB

"I love this show so much, but after rewatching it, there's a shocking lack of diversity — even with minor characters. They could've changed this by making Kendra a larger returning character, showing a strong, beautiful Black slayer. But in true disappointing Hollywood style, they killed her off and replaced the new slayer with a white girl who became a series regular until the end. Even in the final episodes where there was a multitude of potential slayers, only the white characters were truly focused on and given story arcs."


15. Smash Williams from Friday Night Lights


"Smash had his whole future in front of him, with many scholarship offers to play college football, and it was all taken away from him because he defended his little sister and girlfriend from a white student who was tormenting them at the movie theater. Smash also had the most supportive mom on the show, who just wanted to see her son live out his dreams."


16. Wells Jaha from The 100

The CW

"He was killed off in Episode 4 I think, despite being a main character in the book series and an all-around great character. He provided a contrast to Clarke and Bellamy, the other leads, and we were robbed of seeing them develop together as a trio of leaders."


17. Donna Meagle from Parks and Recreation


"Donna barely had any lines in the first few seasons of Parks & Rec, and then in the later seasons, she was always paired with Tom and rarely had her own storylines like the rest of them. She was already a great character, but could've easily been one of the best if she actually had screen time."


18. Missandei from Game of Thrones


"Missandei was so smart and kind, but she was killed off for the sole purpose of Dany’s villain arc. She deserved to live a long and happy life in Naath with Grey Worm."


19. Bonnie Bennett from The Vampire Diaries

The CW

"I love The Vampire Diaries, but I will never get over how dirty Bonnie’s character was treated every season. She lost the most in terms of people close to her, and was never given a minute to fully grieve and process everything before the other characters guilted her into sacrificing herself yet again for them. It makes me sick how Bonnie always got the short end of the stick but was still expected to be everyone’s hero."


20. Skills Taylor from One Tree Hill

The CW

"Skills Taylor was the background best friend who had little story arcs but always delivered the best comedic lines. He was a great friend to Lucas, and an even better friend to Nathan and Haley’s son, Jamie, as Uncle Skills. His character definitely deserved better, being so likable throughout the entire series."


21. James Doakes from Dexter


"He was never given a great arc, his ending sucked, and he was a good cop who realized who Dexter was before anyone else. They could've kept him on as the one person who didn't buy into Dexter's persona, instead of just killing him off."


22. Poussey Washington from Orange Is the New Black


"It was four years ago, and I'm still devastated by her death. For one, she was one of the few Black lesbian characters on the show, and this was amid the discussion of LGBTQ characters always being killed. The writers clearly intended for it to be a commentary on the Black Lives Matter movement, but made the white guard who killed her sympathetic and portrayed him as having done it by accident. It was awful."


23. T-Dog from The Walking Dead


"He hardly got any screen time, and he was such an awesome character! All he did was help people — Glenn even said T-Dog used a van from his church to help evacuate elderly residents to refugee centers. They killed T-Dog off in such a forgettable manner, and it was barely even talked about!"


24. Wes Gibbins from How to Get Away with Murder


"I feel like there was so much more we could've learned about his character. Wes didn't deserve to die — he should have made it to the series finale."


25. Jackie Cook from Veronica Mars

The CW

"She was a compelling character, but the fandom absolutely hated how much of a b*tch she was, even though she was exactly as b*tchy as a majority of the cast. If the show was made 10 years later, this probably wouldn’t have been as big of a problem, but she was scrapped at the end of Season 2."


26. Cassie from Supernatural

The CW

"She was portrayed as Dean’s one true love, but when Dean thought he was going to hell, he decided the person he wanted to see before he died was Lisa. We never saw Cassie again after that one episode, and I think it’s really strange that the woman he was supposed to be in love with wasn't someone he'd want to see one last time. Cassie deserved better."


27. Charles Gunn from Angel

The WB

"He wasn't my favorite character on Angel, but Season 5 was a pretty crappy season for him — on all counts. I felt like he should've gotten another potential love interest, especially because of the way his story was played out in the comics. That was pretty awful."


28. Martha Jones from Doctor Who


"She got saddled with an unrequited love story that defined her time on the show. Some episodes she got to show off her medical skills, but she didn't get the opportunities Rose and Donna got to explore herself as a person. Martha walked the earth for a year when it was under the Master’s rule, a period which had to be covered in a tie-in novel."


29. Clayton Reeves from NCIS


"NCIS brought in Clayton as a replacement for Anthony DiNozzo, and then in the next season, two new characters were added to the show. Because of these additional characters, Clayton was pushed into the background and would only pop up in an episode or two. They tried keeping his character in the show, but there were too many storylines going on, and eventually he was killed off. Not written off to possibly come back later or be a recurring character, but completely killed him off to give Abby Sciuto a better send-off."


30. Principal Green from Dawson's Creek

The WB

"He was a smart, empathetic, and passionate educator, which was sincerely lacking at Capeside High School. His dismissal was just a vehicle for Joey to look all heroic."


31. Princess Allura from Voltron: Legendary Defender


"Her planet, her family, and her culture were completely eradicated by the Galra Empire. Every season, she gave more and more of herself until the final episode, when she gave up her life to save all realities. It was heartbreaking because we finally saw a Black princess who was a love interest and a badass, all in one character. The creators of the show kept taking everything away from her until there was nothing left to take, except her life."


32. Every character Garrett Morris played on Saturday Night Live


"Garret Morris is so incredibly talented as a comedian and singer. He had to take the brunt of all of the racist jokes and comments from his fellow cast members and hosts throughout the five seasons he was on SNL. He deserves more recognition for the amazing roles he played on that show."


33. Mrs. Freeman from Will & Grace


"Jo Marie Payton was in several episodes of Will & Grace, playing Mrs. Freeman — the secretary to Gregory Hines. She was reduced to a stereotypical “sassy Black woman” role, saying things like 'Mmhmm' and rolling her eyes with attitude. It was so upsetting to see my smart and confident Harriet Winslow from Family Matters reduced to such a demeaning stereotype."


34. Captain Victoria Gates from Castle


"Captain Gates became an amazing leader who stood by her team and was a great addition to the show. She should have been given some kind of storyline, but instead she was written off."


35. And Charlie Wheeler from Friends


"She was portrayed to be this kind of careless character who was so unlikable. Plus she was smart as hell, but that was always painted as a negative. We had a smart, successful Black woman in a white show, yet they still made her a horrible character who was written off quickly."


Note: submissions have been edited for length and clarity.

Which Black character from a TV show do you think deserved better? Share with us in the comments below.