Welp, it’s that time of year again. Loyal followers know I like to countdown the “worst TV characters,” “best TV characters,” “Best TV shows,” and all movies of the year. Let’s get to my favorite chance to vent at some of the TV characters that drove me up a wall.
Dishonorable Mention: “The Boys” title characters and also Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott)…”Boys” seems to fundamentally not understand what people are actually watching the series for since we kind-of want to see superheroes doing bad things, and there now appears to be 5 times as many characters stopping them from acting out. [On the supposedly infamous “Seven,” there are now more characters willing to betray Vought than there are actual villains.] It almost defies belief that Homelander hasn’t killed at least one of these people, and the series keeps losing dramatic tension when he practically bends over backwards not to end the people who seem determined to ruin his life–like his final confrontation with Queen Maeve and Butcher in the season finale. [And Queen Maeve is listed because Starlight fully occupies her role and makes her redundant.]
Runner-Up: Wyatt (Charlie Tahan) from “Ozark”…I’m astounded this character is still alive.
Almost made it: Mike (Cliff Chamberlain) from “Homeland”…His character’s entire existence in the final season is to be suspicious of Carrie and ask what she’s doing. The micro-manager from hell boss we all hate to hate.
10. James Comey (Jeff Daniels) from “Comey Rule”…Daniels is solid in the role, and if anybody could make James Comey likable, it’s him. But I still feel this miniseries let Comey off the hook way too easily. And I kept wondering if he had buyer’s remorse about being the reason Trump got elected, especially after Trump fires him. The series never really answers that question. Because the miniseries is based on Comey’s book, it feels a little too reverent and cautious in its portrayal of him personally (not unlike Comey’s book itself).
9. Jamie (Jin Ha) from “Devs”…”Devs” is one of the many series this year that suffers from having an antagonist that’s more sympathetic and even more interesting than its protagonist. Especially when Sonoya Mizuno’s Lily is paired off with her zero-chemistry ex-boyfriend, who is irritable and stiff; unfortunately, most of her scenes are with him.
8. Peter (Justin Kirk) from “Kidding”…I love Justin Kirk (who steals scenes on everything from “Perry Mason” to “Tyrant”), but I was disappointed when his character lived on season 2 after Jim Carrey’s lead ran him over with a car at the end of season 1. That should say something about how much the audience wants this character to continue.
7. Amado Carrillo Fuentes (Jose Maria Yazpik) and Benjamin Arellano Felix (Alfonso Dosal) from “Narcos: Mexico”…This was the first season of “Narcos” where I actually liked the main drug lord (Diego Luna’s stressed businessman narco) and DEA agent (Scoot McNairy’s wry narrator). So, naturally, the series is going to shift its focus to two infinitely less interesting villains next season.
6. Walker (Ryan Bingham) from “Yellowstone”…My heart sank when they brought back this character in season 3. [He left the series towards the end of season 2. Unfortunately, it didn’t take.]
5. Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji) from “Warrior”…Ah Sahm’s behavior and motives are too-often baffling on this series. The first season, he supposedly sails to America to find and rescue his sister…then he winds up trying to ruin her life in multiple ways. The second season mostly follows his vendetta against his sister, even as it becomes clear he’s on the wrong side of their Tong war (the gang he’s joined doesn’t give a crap about him), and he’s not even in the best fight of the season (a gang brawl between the police and Fung Hai featuring a showdown between Li Yong and Zing). [Truthfully, he’s one of the least interesting fighters to watch on the series.] Unlike most characters on this list, he’s the lead on “Warrior,” meaning we have a lot of exposure to him.
4. King Alfred the Great (Fredia Walsh-Peelo) from “Vikings”…When it became clear that the finale few episodes of “Vikings” (a show I wish I had stopped watching when Ragnar died) were going to involve yet another raid on England, I couldn’t have been more bummed. And when it became clear that it would feature the return and triumph of one of the series’s most annoying characters, I wish I could’ve led a one-man revolt on the writer’s room. [I also wish Marco Ilso’s Hvitserk had died since his constant side-changing and betrayal of other family members grew tiresome. His ultimate fate is infuriating.]
3. The same race love interests from “Upload”…Everyone watching “Upload” wants Nathan (Robbie Amell) and Nora (Andy Allo) to be a thing, and not take 7 seasons to get there like this is some broadcast comedy with endless episodes to fill. No one wants to see countless scenes with Nora being forced to be with a guy she doesn’t even like (Matt Ward) and especially Nathan’s annoying girlfriend Ingrid (Allegra Edwards). That Greg Daniels (of “The Office” and “Parks and Rec” fame and/or “Space Force” infamy) keeps finding ways to keep Nathan and Nora apart is the hoariest and most dated of sitcom cliches.
2. Derrick (Jordan Cox) from “P Valley”…Most viewers of this show probably have no idea who I’m even talking about since this character might as well be called “the abusive white boyfriend of a black female character cliche.” From the minute we learn that black female stripper Keyshawn (in the deeeeeep South of Northern small town Mississippi) is being abused by her “baby daddy” (which is practically all we learn about her in the first few episodes), I’m like “surely to God they won’t go the ridiculous route of having this be a–no wait, they did. The only black female dating a white guy in the entire series is also the only one being abused. Yep, cliche alert.” And then Derrick is such a bigoted, one-dimensional jerk and boo-hiss villain Katori Hall should’ve been ashamed to write a character this bad. The only reason he’s not number 1 is because he’s only in a handful of scenes in only 3 episodes.
The Worst TV Character of the Year Oraetta Mayflower (Jessie Buckley) from “Fargo”…Buckley can be a great actress (“Wild Rose”) and I applaud her for taking a risk, but her very bad nurse character doesn’t fit into the rest of this season at all. I’m not sure why Noah Hawley decided to put a fictionalized take of Charlie Cullen (some believe he’s America’s most prolific serial killer) into his most over-stuffed and ambitious season of “Fargo” yet. But in a season that already has lesbian bank robbers, a teenage narrator, a Mormon US Marshall, an OCD-afflicted dirty cop, a black-and-white gunfight during a tornado, and a gang war between Italian and black mobsters in 1950’s Kansas City–Oraetta just feels like one wacky character too many. It can make this season of “Fargo” feel a mile wide and an inch-deep since Hawley seems a little bit more interested in introducing set ups than exploring them.