From vampire/werewolf hybrids to food-hungry travel enthusiasts, MTV News’ list of the 50 greatest television characters of the year has been an eclectic one, to say the least. And as we’re winding down toward our final set of small-screen titans, the list is only getting weirder!
Want a military sniper-turned-gangster assassin with a half-blown-off face? We’ve got you covered. How about a zombie-killing hillbilly or a sword-wielding 9-year-old? That’s taken care of too. From “The Walking Dead” to “Glee” and beyond, here’s our next set of the year’s best TV characters!
20. Walter Bishop, “Fringe”
If there’s another television show featuring a mad scientist who achieves impossible feats of fringe-science lunacy while snacking on double-dipped beer-battered onion rings from Sully’s in his Harvard laboratory (where the awesomely named Gene the cow lives), I’m not watching it. And frankly, I don’t want to. Walter Bishop is the best man of science on TV since Jack Shephard, and I’m not just saying that because he reminds me way too much of my own weird dad. (Though, seriously, the similarities are eerie and I’m beginning to wonder whether I’m from a parallel universe. That’s neither here nor there.) Walter is hilarious, heartbreaking and horrific all in one stroke, thanks to the unparalleled genius of John Noble and the “Fringe” writing staff, and the fact that Dr. Bishop isn’t an Emmy-winning character is absolutely beyond me — but hey, he’s solved weirder problems in the past. Give the man some time. -Josh Wigler
19. Wilfred, “Wilfred”
I am a dog person. That is a fact. I am such a dog lover, in fact, that I don’t speak to them in stupid dog voices, because that is disrespectful. But assuming I did speak to my dog in a stupid dog voice, would he talk back in an Australian accent? No. Would he spend hours upon hours smoking weed? No. Nor does my dog appear to me as a 6-foot-2, 35-year-old, slightly overweight guy in a gray dog suit — no, that’s all Wilfred, portrayed on the offbeat F/X series by Jason Gann. And that’s exactly why he’s on this list. -Brian Phares
18. Elliot Stabler, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”
Have you been watching “SVU” lately and felt like something was missing? Well, that’s because it is, and that something is the butt-kicking Elliot Stabler, a layered man who just wanted to serve justice and catch bad guys. When Stabler (played by Christopher Meloni) exited the “SVU” scene earlier this year, the war on sex-related crimes was really lost — for the viewers, at least. Sure, Benson has our collective backs, but it’s a two-person job, and currently we are down a man. -Jocelyn Vena
17. Richard Harrow, “Boardwalk Empire”
What could be cooler than an eye patch? How about a half face mask? Richard Harrow was made to be a fan favorite. He’s a sympathetic character (a disabled WWI vet) who has a badass ability (sweet sniper skills). That’s classic awesomeness algebra. Richard (played by Jack Huston on the HBO series) stole the show’s first season, made the jump to series regular for the second and hasn’t looked back once, if you’ll forgive the pun. -Kevin P. Sullivan
16. Jenna, “Awkward.”
Relatable teen characters are hard to come by unless you grew up on the Upper East Side or in a certain Beverly Hills zip code. So it’s always refreshing to see a high-schooler just like us — or how we once were. Jenna (Ashley Rickards) struggles with the kind of issues we’re all familiar with: identity, relationships and a newfound infamy thanks to her rumored suicide attempt. (OK, maybe not so much on that last item.) Regardless, Jenna is the sort of self-conscious everyteen we can’t help but root for. -Amy Wilkinson
15. Randy Marsh, “South Park”
Everyone’s favorite borderline-OCD, super-embarrassing, stereotypical I-will-punch-the-coach-in-the-face-if-he-doesn’t-put-my-kid-in-the-game dad had to be included on our list, because, let’s face it, every season of “South Park,” we are just praying for that one, always amazing Randy Marsh episode. Crème fraiche, anyone? Best condiment ever. -Brian Phares
14. Scott Disick, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians”
The man has cheated on his girlfriend, punched mirrors in rage, stuffed hundred-dollar bills down waiters’ throats and battled with alcoholism and a bad attitude for many seasons on “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” — yet he’s also managed to score the second hottest of the K clan (Kourtney, if you were unsure), and audiences can’t seem to get enough of Scott Disick’s shenanigans. We’re not even sure if he has a real job, but why does he need one? Piggybacking off your girlfriend and entertaining the heck out of the folks at home all the while seems a job in itself. Scott has become a welcome part of the Kardashian franchise, appearing in spin-offs like “Kourtney and Khloé Take Miami” and “Kourtney and Kim Take New York,” and, unlike Kris Humphries, we hope he sticks around for good. -Natasha Chandel
13. Daryl Dixon, “The Walking Dead”
Zombies really do deserve to die. They’re terrible. This is pretty much fact. So the world needs someone to kill them. And that someone, thankfully, is the one-and-only Daryl Dixon, played by the incredible Norman Reedus. There are few men in this world who manage to look so good while killing the living dead, and he is one of those men. He may actually be the top guy. So thank you, Daryl Dixon, for doing us all a favor and helping us live a little longer. -Jocelyn Vena
12. Arya Stark, “Game of Thrones”
My love for Arya Stark — a.k.a. Cat of the Canals, Nan and No One — knows no bounds. As a devout reader of George R.R. Martin’s brilliant books, it’s difficult to limit my explanation of Arya’s awesomeness to only the first season of HBO’s award-winning TV adaptation, but this fearless, sassy, hero-in-the-making is a scene and series stealer. And she’s only 9 years old! Arya (played by Maisie Williams) has enough charisma and sword-fighting skill to hopefully do some major damage in the future. Honorable mention: Needle — stick ‘em with the pointy end! -Kara Warner
11. Santana, “Glee”
If any story arc has kept Gleeks from changing the channel, it’s surely sassy, slam-ready Santana’s struggle to accept her sexuality while taking her deserved spot at center stage in McKinley High’s new glee club, the Trouble Tones. Once simply a vehicle for ridiculous one-liners, Santana (Naya Rivera) has grown to become a multifaceted character that’s anything but a caricature — even if her #1 Latina, Paul Abdul, is actually Arabic. -Amy Wilkinson
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