Top Drama Characters

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Jack Brickman

Hall-of-Famer
Joined
Aug 12, 2012
Messages
31,171
Reaction score
38,982
Points
148
Piggybacking off of the post @FiveThous created, I thought it might be smart to create this thread since there were people listing characters like Tyrion Lannister and Al Swearengen. And while both of those characters are great and also pretty funny when called upon to provide some much-needed humor on shows that tended to be pretty grim, they obviously don't belong on any listing of best sitcom characters because, duh, they weren't on sitcoms.

So here's your chance to list some of your favorite characters from dramas.

For my list, I'm going to stick with shows that have concluded and that I have seen from start to finish. If you guys don't want to abide by those rules, feel free to break them. I'm not your mom.

I would ask that you put any major plot details from shows in spoilers in this thread, because unlike the sitcom thread, dramas often have major twists and big reveals and it would be a shame for someone to have a show spoiled by clicking this topic. I know someone here is watching The Shield for the first time, for example, and I am definitely going to cover a character from that show below.

---

1. Boyd Crowder, Justified - Boyd Crowder is, to me, the greatest television character of all time. He's the absolutely perfect blend of perfect casting, an incredible performance that is typical of Walton Goggins (who also crushes it on The Shield, his first big role), and some of the sharpest writing of any show in television history. Justified is a show with a lot of great characters, but Boyd Crowder stands above them all.

It's crazy to think that he wasn't supposed to survive the first episode, because he's such an important part of Justified and I honestly don't think the show would have been as incredible as it was without his constant presence. Crowder seamlessly shifts between villain and anti-hero throughout the show's run. The entire series finale hinges on one of the best, most memorable lines in TV history. "We dug coal together."


---

2. Jimmy McNulty, The Wire - The Wire was another show filled with fantastic characters, at least one of whom will also make this list. But the one constant is Jimmy McNulty, a self-destructive drunk whose main problem is that, as his detective partner Bunk Moreland would say, he gives a fuck when it ain't his turn to give a fuck.

McNulty's character has some truly inspired moments, such as when he spends hours researching water flow patterns to prove that a woman was killed in Baltimore PD jurisdiction, in the process forcing a dozen unsolved murders on his former detective comrades as revenge for his banishment to a shitty boat patrol position following the events in the first season.

But this will always be my favorite McNulty moment:


---

3. Walter White, Breaking Bad - No list of the best televised drama characters would be complete without including Walter White, the role that catapulted Bryan Cranston from the dad from Malcolm in the Middle to one of the biggest celebrities in Hollywood. Cranston crushes the role from the start as a down on his luck teacher living out a meaningless lower middle class existence that has harbored nothing but resentment within him. I imagine most people have seen this show by now and you know where it goes. White begins using his knowledge of chemistry to produce high quality meth with the assistance of a former student and things begin to spiral out of control from there.

White's ego and the aforementioned resentment slowly transform him from a high school teacher with an emasculating mustache into the one who knocks, and over time the anti-hero becomes the villain. It's a truly great character arc and I'm not sure anyone could have nailed that role like Cranston did. The show also benefits from some of the best direction and cinematography on television, along with fantastic villains like the twins and Gustavo Fring, the nemesis that only exists in the first place because of Walt's paranoia and arrogance. In the end, there's no greater monster on Breaking Bad than Walt himself.


---

4. Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones - While saying Game of Thrones didn't exactly stick the landing would quality for the understatement of the century, I think it's impossible to not include at least one character from a show so rich with quality performances. And ironically it's the smallest man on the show who casts the biggest shadow, as Varys might say. Once again we get the union of absolutely masterful casting, George RR Martin's phenomenal writing, and one of TV's best performances. Peter Dinklage was born to play this part, and even Martin admits as much despite the fact that Dinklage looks almost nothing like his book counterpart. Aside from also being a little person, that is. And while Tyrion devolves into little more than a parody of himself by the end, tossing lame dick jokes at Varys and given little to do, we'll always remember those early seasons where he crushed every scene he was in.

I probably don't need to convince anyone here of how great Tyrion Lannister is as a character, so I'll let this clip do the talking:


---

5. Omar Little, The Wire - Perhaps no character on The Wire is as beloved as Omar Little, a sort of gay Robin Hood who steals money and dope from drug dealers to get by. He's a constant thorn in the side of the many great criminal characters in the series, clashing first with Avon Barksdale and Stringer Bell and later with the much more terrifying Marlo Stanfield. He's a fascinating character who exists as something of a middle ground between the show's cops and criminals, occasionally working with one side or the other when it benefits him but rarely straying from his principles. At his core, he's not a bad person, and that's a big part of what makes him so intriguing.

His death will always be debated, shot in the back of the head by a kid while buying a pack of smokes at a convenience store. What's even worse is a scene shortly after where the local newspaper debates whether to run the story or not and ultimately decides it's not important. Here's a character who was so critical to us the viewers, but at the end of the day he's just another dead black man in the ghetto and no one cares.

He's also got what I would consider the absolute best scene in the entire series:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIQbd3SF17k

---

6. Vic Mackey, The Shield - I'm sensing something of a pattern here, with Vic Mackey adding yet another anti-hero to the list. Sure, he's a cop, but I don't think anyone can watch The Shield and walk away thinking that Vic Mackey is the good guy. He often does good things, to be sure, and what makes him fascinating is that, in the end, he truly does seem to care about doing some good. But that's equally balanced by all the terrible things he does, and the first episode ends with a scene where he stages an execution of a fellow cop during a raid on a drug dealer's house. What makes The Shield work so well is how everything that follows hinges on that one moment, and in the end everyone has to pay for their sins in what I think is perhaps the most satisfying finale in television history.

While Vic might avoid prison or death at the end of the series, the show pretty masterfully manages to make it feel as if his ultimate fate is even worse than death, stripped of his family, who are now in protective custody to get themselves away from him, and locked in what might as well be a prison: a desk job that he has no choice but to report to or face actual prison time for all the horrible things he had to admit to in order to get immunity.

The Shield is a wild ride with a lot of crazy and incredible moments, but it's this scene that never fails to give me chills, as Mackey callously lays out all the evil things he's done over the course of the show as the woman he's been sleeping with looks on in absolute horror:


This scene naturally leads into one of the other best scenes in the series, as Vic's friend and partner Ronnie is ultimately the one who has to answer for everything Vic just confessed to after cutting him out of the immunity deal:


---

That's going to be it for now, because I have shit to do tonight, so I'll let some of you guys make an argument for other all-time TV greats like Tony Soprano and Al Swearengen.
 

MGMT

NBA Starter
Joined
May 30, 2012
Messages
5,559
Reaction score
4,971
Points
113
So, this is obviously a great topic and I’ll contribute more later when my kid goes to bed but I agree with McNulty being absolutely elite, it’s hard to believe that dude isn’t even American because he nails the accent so insanely well.

I think Richard Harrow is one of the more underrated characters in a drama. A castaway war veteran finds a place with a guy who doesn’t make him feel bad about himself since part of his face is missing. He exhibits loyalty, truthfulness and to an extent — empathy. He’s a pretty ruthless killer however. Some of the best scenes of boardwalk empire involved him just destroying people. He saved Tommy from living in a whore house in wildly devastating fashion which is one of my favorite sequences ever. I don’t think Buscemi’s character was all that great though, which all always leave a blemish on the show for me.

While I don’t think The Sopranos is a top-3 drama of all time, Anthony Soorano is probably one of the best characters ever; he embodies the ultimate sociopath and truly creates one of the first truly loveable monsters in TV history. Gandolfini is one of the best castings ever for that role.
 

CleveRocks

There go the Cavs!
Browns Moderator
Administrator
Joined
Apr 19, 2005
Messages
6,328
Reaction score
3,489
Points
113
Tyrion, and Tony.. would have loved to see a Dinkler character on that show..

Gonna touch the West Wing character CJ Craig..

Al Swearengen and Calamity Jane on Deadwood

Kwai Chang Cane, even though it was an incredibly corny show..

And Spock because, I am a Trekkie..
 

FiveThous

His name was Sashi Brown
Joined
Dec 21, 2008
Messages
7,090
Reaction score
4,810
Points
113
I don't want as much drama TV but here's a few performances I thought were outstanding:

Walter White and Gus Fring - Breaking Bad
Omar, McNulty, & Stringer Bell - The Wire
Rust Cohle - True Detective
Trinity Killer - Dexter
Tyrion Lannister - Game of Thrones
 

Jack Brickman

Hall-of-Famer
Joined
Aug 12, 2012
Messages
31,171
Reaction score
38,982
Points
148
I don't want as much drama TV but here's a few performances I thought were outstanding:

Walter White and Gus Fring - Breaking Bad
Omar, McNulty, & Stringer Bell - The Wire
Rust Cohle - True Detective
Trinity Killer - Dexter
Tyrion Lannister - Game of Thrones
The Trinity Killer is a good one. I didn't even think of that because I was mostly considering main characters for shows.

Imagine how much differently Dexter would be remembered if the show ended that season...
 

Tonedef75

Towel Waver
Joined
May 31, 2012
Messages
157
Reaction score
165
Points
43
Like my sitcom choices, I went with characters that were on the show from day 1 and stayed through the entirety.

Michael Knight and Mitch Buchanan - (I’m only giving the Hoff 1 slot for 2 characters because I’m not about to use cheese for 2 out of 8 spots).

MacGyver - (the original Richard Dean Anderson one. Not the lame remake character). I mean whenever anyone rigs something tofunction at home, who doesn’t say, “I MacGyver’d the F out of that.”

And now that the cheese is out of the way, onto the more dramatic characters

Tyrion Lannister - Ditto everyone from above. I would add that he may be #1 on this list. Taking away the brilliant job that Peter Dinklage did portraying him, the character had sooooo many quotable lines.

Walter White - I confess. I never got into the show. I tried. it just didn’t grab me, and I love a lot of the actors that were on it. You guys know how it is. Sometimes great shows don’t snatch your attention. With that being said, I can’t deny the popularity of the character. Most people know the name, which is one of the criteria that I base this list on.

Tony Soprano - I don’t think I need to elaborate

Captain James Tiberius Kirk - everyone knows who he is, even if you aren’t a Trekkie.

Dr. Who - only character that can repeatedly change the lead roll actor and continue to entertain. And I’m a nerd.

Dean Winchester - I don’t care that he isn’t a household name, but he’s going on this list because his character is awesome. He just nudged out Raylan Givens for my sentimental pick due to the longer run for Supernatural as opposed to Justified.
 

CleveRocks

There go the Cavs!
Browns Moderator
Administrator
Joined
Apr 19, 2005
Messages
6,328
Reaction score
3,489
Points
113
For some reason, when you mentioned McGyver, I thought of Mr T.. different show but I loved his character...

I met him at an airport. He had stopped on the concourse to give autographs to a couple of kids whose parents had clearly watched the show. I don't think they knew who he was.. but I waited until they left and then talked to him a bit.. super nice guy..
 

Lee

Gold Star Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2005
Messages
25,571
Reaction score
31,307
Points
148
Like my sitcom choices, I went with characters that were on the show from day 1 and stayed through the entirety.

Michael Knight and Mitch Buchanan - (I’m only giving the Hoff 1 slot for 2 characters because I’m not about to use cheese for 2 out of 8 spots).

MacGyver - (the original Richard Dean Anderson one. Not the lame remake character). I mean whenever anyone rigs something tofunction at home, who doesn’t say, “I MacGyver’d the F out of that.”

And now that the cheese is out of the way, onto the more dramatic characters

Tyrion Lannister - Ditto everyone from above. I would add that he may be #1 on this list. Taking away the brilliant job that Peter Dinklage did portraying him, the character had sooooo many quotable lines.

Walter White - I confess. I never got into the show. I tried. it just didn’t grab me, and I love a lot of the actors that were on it. You guys know how it is. Sometimes great shows don’t snatch your attention. With that being said, I can’t deny the popularity of the character. Most people know the name, which is one of the criteria that I base this list on.

Tony Soprano - I don’t think I need to elaborate

Captain James Tiberius Kirk - everyone knows who he is, even if you aren’t a Trekkie.

Dr. Who - only character that can repeatedly change the lead roll actor and continue to entertain. And I’m a nerd.

Dean Winchester - I don’t care that he isn’t a household name, but he’s going on this list because his character is awesome. He just nudged out Raylan Givens for my sentimental pick due to the longer run for Supernatural as opposed to Justified.
How isn't Captain Kirk also cheese? Not saying him and/or Spok don't belong, but you can argue Kirk is as much cheese as Knight.
 

Lee

Gold Star Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2005
Messages
25,571
Reaction score
31,307
Points
148
For some reason, when you mentioned McGyver, I thought of Mr T.. different show but I loved his character...

I met him at an airport. He had stopped on the concourse to give autographs to a couple of kids whose parents had clearly watched the show. I don't think they knew who he was.. but I waited until they left and then talked to him a bit.. super nice guy..
If you use an A Team character, you have to use Murdock.
 

Sebastian

Maréchal d'Empire (AKA King Stannis)
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
Jul 12, 2014
Messages
16,060
Reaction score
23,752
Points
135
If we're doing Star Trek then Captain Picard and Data are all-time great characters.
 

Sebastian

Maréchal d'Empire (AKA King Stannis)
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
Jul 12, 2014
Messages
16,060
Reaction score
23,752
Points
135
And speaking of Star Trek and sitcoms:

 

Tonedef75

Towel Waver
Joined
May 31, 2012
Messages
157
Reaction score
165
Points
43
How isn't Captain Kirk also cheese? Not saying him and/or Spok don't belong, but you can argue Kirk is as much cheese as Knight.
It’s close, but I felt he just fell short of cheese. But, I wouldn’t argue that he isn’t so I’m calling it a coin flip.
 

SuperSurge

Slice & Dice
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Aug 31, 2008
Messages
12,500
Reaction score
17,726
Points
123
Olivia Benson- Law and Order: SVU
Marty and Wendy Byrde- Ozark
Walter White, Jesse Pinkman, Gus Fring, Saul Goodman- Breaking Bad
Harvey Spector- Suits
 

CleveRocks

There go the Cavs!
Browns Moderator
Administrator
Joined
Apr 19, 2005
Messages
6,328
Reaction score
3,489
Points
113
It’s close, but I felt he just fell short of cheese. But, I wouldn’t argue that he isn’t so I’m calling it a coin flip.
Kirk was the original Cheese. I actually liked Denny Crane on Boston Legal. I also met William Shatner during is Priceline years on a Southwest flight out of Glendale. He boarded near last carrying his suit carrier and the plane broke into spontaneous applause. Someone moved from an aisle seat to the middle for him about mid plane (the flight was full) and he held court for the flight (to Vegas). Super friendly guy, like you might expect an complete extrovert.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lee

September Through December Server Costs

Total amount
$1,200.00
Goal
$1,200.00
Donation ends:

Advertisement

Radio

Top