Upfronts begin soon, which means it’s time to bid farewell to the 2013-2014 TV season. It was nice knowing you, Enlisted, Surviving Jack, and Trophy Wife, probably. Smell ya later, Dads. Looking forward to more of you, Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Before we’re overwhelmed with press releases about the exciting new superhero-werewolf-pirate series NBC will spend an ungodly sum of money on, let’s take a look back at the season that was, and pay tribute to its greatest characters. A couple of notes: to be included, a show had to premiere between September 2013 and May 2014 (with one exception); only one character to a show; and I only included shows on the Big Four networks (ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS) and FX and Comedy Central. That means no HBO or Showtime.
You’ll get yours someday, everyone on Gigolos. (“Yours” meaning STDs.)
Honorable mentions: Phillip from The Americans; Boyd from Justified; Charlie from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia; Nelson Van Alden from Boardwalk Empire; and Peggy from Mad Men.
15. Forrest MacNeil (Review)
Forrest MacNeil is an insane person who does fantastic amounts of harm to himself and those around him, all for the sake of a show-within-the-show that is apparently so unwatched that no one on the street recognizes him from television, and all with a sense of child-like wonder about the whole thing. He’d be a terrible person to know. But he’s a blast to watch. — Danger Guerrero
14. Alicia Florrick (The Good Wife)
Few television characters have endured as much upheaval as Alicia Florrick this season, who transformed from a great, though often vulnerable attorney on The Good Wife to a competitive, bloodthirsty, take-no-prisoners lawyer after she poached many of her clients from Lockhart Gardner and started her own firm with Cary Agos. But after her arch-enemy/love of her life Will Gardner was shot and killed, Florrick had to bite down on her grief, kick her sneering husband to the curb, and continue to run her fledgling new firm even as the vultures circles. Florrick has always had a bitchy streak, but this season, when it’s been needed the most, she has owned it. — Dustin Rowles
13. Ilana Wexler (Broad City)
Broad City was a well-established web series before Amy Poehler and Comedy Central got involved, but it was still a surprise to see just how confident (and fantastic) the TV adaptation was after, what, the first episode? MAYBE the second? It started hot and never slowed down, because that’s not how Ilana functions. She’s a do first, think second personality, a stoner who refreshingly isn’t defined by her relationship to weed, or to her boyfriend, as played by Hannibal Buress (who could also be on this list). It’s about time Comedy Central had a female character who isn’t The Wife or The Mother.
12. Steve Smith (American Dad!)
I’m just going to leave this here:
11. Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Hannibal)
Hannibal is Lucifer in human form, an insidious presence that insinuates itself into your life and slowly corrupts you until you become just like him. Yet Mads Mikkelsen never goes over the top or even makes it sound like Hannibal has much of an ego. Instead, Mikkelsen has created this beautiful, textured portrayal of a psychopath so practiced, so decisive, that you almost find yourself agreeing with him. And, of course, he’s a man of wealth and taste; the guy’s walls are lined with classic Japanese and erotic art, he plays the harpsichord, he’s a skilled chef, and he might be the only human being on the planet who can pull off those suits. Over two seasons, Hannibal has become a mesmerizing trap of a human being: You know he’s dangerous. You know he’s evil. And yet…the feast he’s laid out just looks so delicious. — Dan Seitz