For me to get hooked on a TV series, it’s important that I care about at least one of the characters of the show. This does not at all mean I have to agree with the character, or even like the character too much… I just have to… undestand. One way or another, I have to understand the choices the character makes. A perfect example of this is the character of Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman in the ‘Breaking Bad’ spin-off show ‘Better Call Saul’. The sleazy lawyer from the original series surprised me, and although I didn’t necessarily agree with all his choices, I could understand them.
If this doesn’t happen, chances are I might find the character unbearable, unsympathetic and/or downright annoying. Here are some of them: (mind you, I don’t mind the actors/actresses, this is based on characters only)
January Jones as Betty Draper in ‘Mad Men’
Oh, I’m well aware, Don Draper is by no means the perfect guy either, but Betty Draper really made me appreciate my mother. Betty Draper’s mood swings were not to be taken lightly, and it was most often her kids, especially Sally, who got to feel her wrath. Having a go at Don Draper, no problem, he’s an adult, but her terrible behaviour towards her children was at times very hard to take…
John Doman as Bruce Butler in ‘The Affair’
A fine actor, who’s been in just about 19374230 movies and TV series… or something like that. In ‘The Affair’ he plays the main character Noah Solloway’s father-in-law, a published writer who couldn’t be more obnoxious had he tried it. He loves talking down on his daughter’s wife, and isn’t afraid to do so in front of his grandkids and daughter either. A character that’s just asking to get punched, repeatedly, in the kisser.
Robin Wright as Claire Underwood in ‘House of Cards’
As Claire Underwood, the wife of Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright really manages to squeeze every ounce of unlikability out of the character. I’ve gotta hand it to her, it’s very rare that I hate a character as much as I hate Claire Underwood of ‘House of Cards’. It really is… One might as well add her husband here as well, you know… through good times and bad times, sickness and wealth.. health!
Forest Whitaker as Lieutentant Jon Kavanaugh in The Shield
Forest Whitaker was brilliant in ‘The Shield’, and although he was fighting dirty cops, he still managed to come off as an unsympathetic prick, which, I guess, is a feat in itself. In what spanned a little over a season, Lieutenant Kavanaugh’s guest appearance in ‘The Shield’ will either way go down in TV history as a very important part of what is, ultimately, one of the greatest TV series ever. I’ve mentioned his performance previously, as one of the finest season guest appearances in a TV show. Read about it here.
Which characters would make your list?