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September 1, 2015

TV Squad Ten: New supporting characters who helped make their series better

by Isabelle Carreau, posted Apr 1st 2009 2:03PM
Grey's Anatomy
Lead characters are extremely important for TV series, as they are the basis of the shows' storylines. However, to make said lead characters shine and make the storylines interesting, supporting characters must be introduced. Sometimes, those characters have a major impact on a series and even end up becoming leads. Just see how Ben Linus on Lost was set to appear in a few episodes, but ended up being so helpful to the storyline and loved (or hated) by the fans that he became an integral part of the series and is now a major player on the show.

That compelled me to make a list of new supporting characters who helped make their series better this season. Since my list only has 10 items and because I don't watch all current TV series, I will have missed tons of supporting characters, so feel free to add to the list by commenting below. However, note that I restricted my list to supporting characters that were introduced THIS season. So the Ben Linuses of the TV world are not on the list.

TV Squad: New Supporting Characters

    10. Nina (Jenny Wade), 'Reaper'

    Even if Nina was added to the Reaper cast only a few episodes ago, she already made her mark on the show. Her demonic presence is offering us a few new tidbits about how the demon world works out and if demons and humans can date. Nina also brings a tad of mystery to the show, as it is still unclear if she is dating Ben out of love or in order to get close to Sam and kill him.

    Related Links

    Jack Rowand, The CW

    9. Eli James (Jamie Kennedy), 'Ghost Whisperer'

    Eli's addition to the show brought loads of mixed feelings in the show's fandom, especially in the light of the departure of fan favorite Jay Mohr and the fact that Jaime Kennedy's acting wasn't very good in early episodes. Like him or not, Eli is a character who helps make the series better in the sense that he can hear the dead; thus being the only show's lead who can really help Melinda and allowing us to learn more about how these "ghost whisperer" gifts work.

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    Monty Brinton, CBS

    8. Dr. Neven Bell (Hector Elizondo), 'Monk'

    Elizondo had big shoes to fill as the replacement of Dr. Kroger (played by Stanley Kamel who passed away last year). The change in therapist offered us a new take on Monk and his various problems. Dr. Bell especially shined in the submarine episode during which Monk is underwater trapped in an enclosed space. To cope with the freakiness of the situation, Monk created an imaginary Dr. Bell to counsel him through the entire mission; thus showing us that Monk had fully transferred his trust and belief from Kroger to Bell. Elizondo's relaxed and almost zen-like attitude is a perfect balance to Monk's manic antics.

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    USA Network

    7. Castiel (Misha Collins), 'Supernatural'

    Castiel is a badass and mysterious character who added a new level to the show thanks to not only pulling Dean out of Hell but also not fitting the archetype of a sweet cuddly angel. Misha Collins' performance as this fire and brimstone angel just rocks, and fans can't wait to know everything there is to know about the character.

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    Sergei Bachlakov, The CW

    6. Janis Gold (Janeane Garofalo), '24'

    Janis is pure gold to the show. She may not be the best new character on 24 this season, but you have to admit that the weird aura that surrounds her always makes you suspicious that she may be working for the bad guys. I must say that I thought she was the mole for a while due to her antics and weird deportment. 24 fans love Chloe O'Brien, so bringing in a new techie that would be on Chloe's footsteps and tracks was a good way to create drama, play with our emotions, and add mystery.

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    5. Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd), 'Grey's Anatomy'

    When Journeyman was canceled, I prayed that the TV Gods would find a role for talented actor Kevin McKidd. Luckily, the Gods -- aka Shonda Rhimes, in this case -- answered my prayers and hired McKidd to play recurring character Owen Hunt. Not only did Hunt's addition to the show provide new conflict amongst the hospital staff, but it gave Cristina a new man and added eye candy for the fans. Hunt was so well-received by the fans and his troubled character fit so well on the show that he has since been made a regular cast member to our viewing pleasure.

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    4. Emile Danko aka The Hunter (Zeljko Ivanek), 'Heroes'

    Many of us didn't like the first half of the Heroes season, but the addition of Ivanek as the mission-driven Danko was a welcome change. Even if we've seen Ivanek guest star in many series lately -- he shined as Damages' Ray Fiske -- his acting skills are so good that we totally buy him as the Hunter, the man employed to catch all heroes and make sure they stay captive. The character's motives are still a bit of a mystery which adds depth to the character. Danko's presence on the show gave us a new badass character to hate, as many of us have embraced Sylar even if he still is a bad guy.

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    3. Emmett Milbarge (Tony Hale), 'Chuck'

    What's not to love where Milbarge is concerned? Even if the Buy More staff is already a bit wacko, Milbarge adds a new level to this craziness. Tony Hale is clearly channeling his inner Buster Bluth when playing Emmett, because the two characters are as crazy, as freaky and as scared. However, Emmett can do one thing Buster couldn't: be in control. When Emmett is in charge, things always turn out funny to our enjoyment. If NBC renews the series, Emmett must become a permanent fixture.

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    Adam Taylor, NBC

    2. Tess Mercer (Cassidy Freeman), 'Smallville'

    Cassidy Freeman had big and pricy shoes to fill when she took over the Luthor estate at the beginning of the current season. Thanks to solid acting and powerful scenes, she has become one of the best Smallville characters. Tess is as mission-driven as Lex was, and even if she recently had her eyes opened as to whom Lex really is/was, she follows in his footsteps as one of Clark's frenemies.

    Related Links

    Michael Courtney, The CW

    1. Dave Williams/David Dash (Neal McDonough), 'Desperate Housewives'

    DH's creator Marc Cherry and his writing team weren't always successful when introducing new characters, especially those who would be instrumental in the year-long mystery such as the Applewhites. But with Dave Williams, skillfully played by McDonnough, they hit the mark. Dave was key in bringing Edie back to Wisteria Lane for one more season. He also helped find a way to house Mike on the block -- meaning more James Denton eye candy for us -- he tricked and made people what he wanted to do thanks to his power of persuasion, and he created loads and loads of drama for all Wisteria Lane residents. His storyline was not only mysterious, but entertaining. Neal McDonnough deserves an award for his great acting in the role of a psycho motivational speaker.

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Why the hell is Smallville mentioned? They don't have LEX anymore! It was supposed to be CLARK and LEX.

Man, that show jumped the shark... nay, FLEW OVER the shark long ago. Let it end.

April 13 2009 at 1:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well, I can only speak for myself here - I'm running Firefox with NoScript, so I get some sort of freakish hybrid. I don't get the popup itself, but I get the text information that's in it, sans pictures and with the character/actor info in a huge overlapping font.

Why can't it be done like it is on Slashfood and WoW Insider? The information's given in plain text, with a link to an attached slideshow or gallery for those who want to see the pictures. Those sites are also under the AOL umbrella, so I'm uncertain as to why this one is held to a different standard when it comes to post formatting.

April 02 2009 at 6:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


First, for some reason there's no reply link in any comments within the conversation I already commented in, other than my own. So I apologize for replying out of thread. Only way it will let me reply.

Second, it is not what you said, but how you said it. It makes it appear that our opinions do not matter at all.

Third, I realize arrogance and condescension were probably not your intent. I'm only saying that it's coming across that way, not that it's your intention.

Finally, a couple of solutions have been presented. Any thought on them? (The ideas are: place the list under the slide show, even if you get more content by clicking through. Or, at the very least, make the slide show appear in the current window instead of using a pop-up.)

April 02 2009 at 1:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I understand what you mean, Ryan, but perhaps if the decision is not Joel's to make, perhaps speaking as if it were isn't a wise decision, either. It really does make him look arrogant about the decision, regardless of his intent.

Fact of the matter is that if it's purely business, if the number of complaints outweighs the number of views, then it will no longer make business sense. So I encourage everyone to stop clicking on the slide shows if you dislike them and start complaining instead. Apathy counts as endorsement when it comes to views.

A poll on the main site (which is realize won't ever happen) would take apathy out of it. If people like the slide shows, they'd click their approval. If not, they'd click their disapproval. Those who could care less either way wouldn't even bother. Like I said before, while not exactly scientific, it would at least give a better feel for the way we feel.

April 02 2009 at 12:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The slideshows are awful, but not intolerable. I'll read them if it's all there is, but I'd strongly prefer to just go back to a list on a page.

Is it possible to do some sort of compromise? Put just the raw list itself in plain text on the page, and people who are interested can open the slideshow to read the blurbs about each one?

April 02 2009 at 10:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Since Joel has only seen a handful of complaints, I think it's important that everyone who has an opinion weigh in on it, so that he can get a better feel for who we, well, feel. Put me in the "hate" category. And Joel's attitude towards those who have been vocal with their complaints thus far is particularly disturbing. Those are your readers. You really should take their opinion into consideration instead of taking the firm stance that these aren't going anywhere. Why? If the majority of readers hate them and won't read an article with them, then why wouldn't you even consider removing them? The statement "They're not going anywhere" gives your comment a "I'm right, so shut up and deal with it" feel to it, which I'm sure you don't intend. It does, however, come across that way to some of us.

Back to the point, using the number of readers of the article versus complaints is not a valid gauge of how people feel. Many people, myself included, will continue reading without comment (until prompted Joel's apparent condescending attitude towards readers, which, again, I'm sure wasn't intentional) even though we hate the format. Why not put a poll up on TV squad? While not scientifically valid, it would be more accurate than doing a quick "viewers vs. complaints" comparison.

And since Joel wants solutions and not just complaints, making the side arrows work without popping up a new window, as suggested by Denny above, would be a huge improvement. People really do hate pop-ups, even when they're not ads.

Sorry, Isabelle, for hijacking your post for my rant. I would not have commented at all if not for Joel. But this brings me to my final suggestion to "fix" the problem. Do you, as a TV Squad writer, have the option of which format to post your lists in? If so, I'd suggest that every TV Squad writer opt to use the old format for their lists. It's YOUR readers you're alienating (even if it's not many), not Joel's (unless it's his post, obviously).

April 02 2009 at 10:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Wintermute's comment

When Joel says it's not going to change, period, I get the feeling that it's not his decision to make, but that it comes from higher up at AOL. If that's true, then he probably can't talk about it, but he can ask for supplementary suggestions.

We know that it's a financial decision, and reader opinion seems to range from indifference to loathing (i.e., no one likes it), so I don't think it's arrogance so much as purely business. Personally I'm also on an iPod Touch, so it just means less click-thrus from this consumer.

April 02 2009 at 11:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joel Keller

Without going into it, Ryan's on the right track. Though I might add that changes to the site like this are ultimately my decision, so I don't want to pass the buck onto anyone.

Anyway, not sure why Wintermule thinks I'm being arrogant or condescending (which he says in both his comments above and below). If I'm coming off that way, I apologize. That wasn't my intention. I'm sincere in my desire to make the viewing experience good for everyone who comes here, which is why I asked for suggestions. If that's not a 2-way relationship, I don't know what is.

April 02 2009 at 12:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I want to add my two cents...the slideshows don't bother me! What is the big deal? You click a button and it pops up...so what?

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you...for including Kevin McKidd! I LOVE him on Grey's. Collins on Supernatural is pretty cool too.

April 02 2009 at 7:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If it was just this screen, where you click the arrows and i can view them all then i'd be okay with it. But an extra large popup i won't view, it's time consuming and really not worth it.
The lists that people did before (without the slideshow and pics) were much better and easier to read.

April 02 2009 at 2:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Id replace Janis with Agent Walker on 24. Then I'd replace Tess Mercer with Davis Bloome on Smallville. Then the list is good.

April 01 2009 at 8:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yeah, I agree. These pop-ups are annoying and I'm not going to click on them anymore. They are just not interesting enough to be worth so many clicks.

April 01 2009 at 8:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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