Here’s the thing: I love television. I get grumpy if I get off work after 7 p.m. because I know I’ll have to watch the second airing of many of my favorite shows, or I’ll have missed several innings of baseball. The struggle is real, folks.
Because I love television so much, I decided to set out to make a listicle (sellout) of the best characters on the best television shows on the airwaves right now.
Five shows that made the list come from the FX family of networks, which goes to show FX has the movies AND the shows.
As with every ranking/list that appears on Mostly Sheep, this list is indisputable and final. The statements made here have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, nor do they have the coveted Film Actor’s Guild seal of approval. They do, however, represent the official views of Mostly Sheep, and as an avid televisioneer I implore you to watch these characters on these programs if you haven’t done so already.
Without much further ado about nothing, here are (in no particular order), my favorite characters on the boob tube:
Molly (Allison Tolman) – Fargo
Billy Bob Thornton is great as the lead antagonist/drifter Lorne Malvo, but Molly bears the greatest resemblance to Marge Gunderson from the movie which this series derives. Molly is a no-nonsense police woman that isn’t afraid to ask the tough questions while also dealing with the loss of a good friend in the line of duty. Her naive boss and new captain (played by the always great Bob Odenkirk) insists she stop pestering “the victim”, but Molly has a hunch. Her job is all she’s got, she lives with her parents, how can you not root for her?? Yah, this is a good twist on the cult classic about tha Northerners, don’t cha know. Now my fingers are crossed for the Coens to help produce a TV show about The Dude. Fargo is on now on FX.
Hank Moody (David Duchovney) – Californication
Hank Moody. I am going to genuinely miss this character and show after the final season wraps up (airing now on Shotime). Hank’s entire seven-season journey has been all about winning, losing, re-winning, and re-losing the heart of soulmate Karen (Natascha McElhone). It’s mostly his own fault, as a philandering, often egotistical writer who really only cares about Karen, his daughter Becca (Madeleine Martin), and big bald bubblehead agent Charlie Runkle (Evan Handler) aka Uncle Runkle. But, Hank still struggles with normal problems: self-loathing, loneliness, alcoholism, parenting, and trouble finding a job (because he always gets fired for lack of caring). It’s one of my favorite shows of all time, it’s gonna be a drag when it’s gone. Also, Hank said “Mothafuckaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa” before the dude in “The Hangover”. And it’s hilarious.
Louie (Louis CK) – Louie
Louie might be the best show of all, created by and starring possibly the best comedian out there today. Louie struggles with a lot of the same things that Hank does to varying degrees — the struggles of a single parent trying to survive in the entertainment industry, while looking for someone to share life’s woes with. Louie is socially awkward, which makes for painful but hilarious situations, that are sometimes relatable and sometimes mind-boggling. Louis CK says he takes a lot of his episode ideas from things that have happened to him in real life, which makes watching that much more cringeworthy, but amazing. Louie is finally back May 5 on FX.
Jordan Peele – Key and Peele
Jordan is the Batman of the Key and Peele duo on Comedy Central — he’s more versatile and dynamic, with hilarious voice abilities. That’s not to take away from Keegan Michael Key and what he brings to the best sketch show on TV, but Peele just makes me laugh harder every damn time. It’s difficult to put into words why Jordan Peele is so funny, it’s better just to watch: Continental Breakfast
Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) – Game of Thrones (HBO)
Khaleesi. Mother of Dragons. Daenerys Stormborn. The ruler of the unsullied. Tywin Lannister said in a recent GOT episode that Daenerys will eventually turn her attention toward Westeros with her three dragons, and I can’t freakin wait. With damn near all of the other likable characters killed off at this point, Khaleesi is like the Obi Wan of the realm — she’s our only hope.
Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) – Game of Thrones
It’s hard to like any of the Lannisters, but the Imp makes it a lot easier. He dabbled as a philanderer himself early on, indulging in the fine wines and womens throughout King’s Landing. His humor goes unmatched, as does his integrity despite being one of the “bad guys”. Also, he has slapped Joffrey more times than anyone and that is glorious:
Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) – Archer (FX)
H. Jon Benjamin could have been on this list multiple times, but I opted to put him on here only for his role as Archer. Archer is the best cartoon comedy there is, for its smart adult humor that is unmatched. It may very well be one of the best sitcoms, in fact, regardless of being a cartoon. Archer is the world’s greatest spy and a philanderer in his own right, and he also very well may have invented the turtleneck as a tactical outfit (the tactleneck). The show delivers punchline after punchline and mixes the best one-liners with some very obscure references. The fifth season, “Archer:Vice” just wrapped up and had many twists and turns that took the cast out of the ISIS environment, but the climax was still very satisfying (phrasing).
Linda Belcher (John Roberts) – Bob’s Burgers
Linda is the quirky wife and mother in Fox’s best “Animation Domination” offering. She frequently bursts into song and weird noises despite having an awful voice (she’s surprisingly voiced by a dude), and brings a unique and eccentric approach to every Belcher situation. Linda is the best. All riiiiiiiiiiight.
Roger Sterling (John Slatterly) – Mad Men
Roger Sterling is the grey-haired renegade of the Sterling Cooper Draper Price Cutler Gleason Crosby Stills Nash Simon and Garfunkel firm on AMC’s Mad Men, now sadly in its final season. Roger is now in a psychedelic drug phase, because it’s the late 60’s and hell yeah of course he is, and he also seems to be in some sort of swingers phase. He’s never been the sort of guy you root for, but his nonchalant business demeanor and hilarious digs at his partners and associates make him one of the more solid and compelling fellows on Madison Ave.
Adam “The Laugh Giver” Demamp (Adam Devine) – Workaholics
No one gives more laughs than this guy. Season four just wrapped up on Comedy Central, and it was as strong as ever. Adam is the guy that we all know — or a combination of guys we all know — the guy that thinks he’s an attractive meathead, the office clown that only rarely gets laughs from his own friends, the guy that tries so desperately hard to fit in and be cool. But he is cool, and he is hilarious. Never change, Adam “The Laugh Giver” Demamp. Never change.
Kumail Nanjiani – Portlandia, Silicon Valley
Kumail plays great characters in damn near everything, which is why I couldn’t pick just one. He’s in the great new show Silicon Valley on HBO (Richard Hendriks is the main character in that show, who is a very good character in his own right), and has several recurring roles on IFC’s Portlandia as a cool demeanored, frustrating, monotone salesman and waiter among other things. Like Jordan Peele, It’s hard to really put into words what Kumail can do, it’s much better just to watch him in action: Birthday Loan Salesman
Charlie (Charlie Day), Mac (Rob McElhenney) – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Everyone on Always Sunny could easily be included in this list, but Charlie and Mac are just the best. Charlie is dim-witted and destined to do Charlie Work forever, and Mac is also dim-witted but a man of religion. Mac getting fat, or “gaining mass”, and Charlie’s musical “The Nightman Cometh” are some of the funniest moments I’ve ever experienced in my life.
Dr. Steve Brule (John C. Reilly) – Check it Out with Dr. Steve Brule
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah. John C. Reilly’s trademark Adult Swim character is a satirical take on public access television. It’s just the absolute best. Check out grambling (gambling), you dingus: Casino Hunks
Yasiel Puig, Mike Trout, Carlos Gomez – Major League Baseball
So, these guys are actual Major League Baseball players and not necessarily on a TV show, though they are on TV and two of them (Trout and Gomez) play in LA, so close enough. Puig, though his fatal flaw is that he plays for the Dodgers, is ridiculously good at baseball and went through a hell of a lot just to get to this country. Mike Trout is the 22-year-old superstar that is the best player in baseball. Gomez pimps homeruns and hits and gets into fights because he likes to admire his work and have fun. All of these guys are a blast to watch. Sports: It’s television, too.
Parks and Recreation (particularly Ron Swanson, April Ludgate and Andy Dwyer) starring Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza and Chris Pratt
Legit (FXX) starring DJ Qualls and Jim Jeffries
Broad CIty (Comedy Central) starring Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer and Hannibal Burress