- This year saw an amazing number of interesting new female characters on TV.
- We listed the 13 best new TV characters of 2017.
Women dominated television in 2017.
From “The Handmaid’s Tale” to “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” female-driven shows delivered some of the best new characters and television performances of the year – and they have the Golden Globe nominations to prove it.
This year also saw some stellar new male characters as well, like Reggie Green (Marque Richardson) on “Dear White People,” and Courtney Rose (Brandon Micheal Hall) on “The Mayor.”
But the richly developed female characters seen on television this year, like Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie) on “Glow,” and Offred (Elisabeth Moss) on “The Handmaid’s Tale,” have shown that this year’s best new characters on television were predominantly women.
Here are the 13 best new TV characters of the year, ranked:
13. Josh Futturman, “Future Man”
Janitor Josh Futturman (Josh Hutcherson) finds little solace in life other than his favorite video game, “Biotic Wars.”
When Josh beats the game – known for being unbeatable – two rebel soldiers (Wolf and Tiger) from the future try to recruit him as a soldier to help them fight in the actual Biotic Wars.
Josh is an unlikely hero, who consistently fumbles and messes up the missions he sets out on with Wolf and Tiger. Despite his ineptitude as a soldier in the Biotic Wars, Josh remains the heart of the show, and one of the biggest reasons why this amusing new Hulu series is worth watching.
12. Pete, “Crashing”
In comedian Pete Holmes’ new HBO series, “Crashing,” he plays a thinly veiled version of himself (also named Pete), trying to make his way as a fledgling comic.
After his marriage ruptures due to his fascination with comedy, Pete ends up couch surfing, and crashing with different comics, as he tries to gain some traction in the comedy world.
Holmes is as endearingly sweet, goofy, and earnest in his series as he is in his stand-up sets, and his portrayal of, well … himself, provides interesting insights into comedy, heartache, and ambition.
11. Courtney Rose, “The Mayor”
When Courtney Rose (Brandon Micheal Hall) runs for mayor of his hometown of Fort Grey, California as a publicity stunt to boost his hip-hop career, he accidentally ends up getting himself elected.
Though Courtney only hoped to draw attention to his musical endeavors, he decides to follow through with his original (albeit phony) mayoral promises and tries to reform Fort Grey in this light-hearted series.
10. Bridget Bird, “SMILF”
On her own, juggling her toddler, work, and ambitions to become an actress, Bridget Bird (Frankie Shaw) is constantly coming up against obstacles.
The Bostonian struggles with being a single mother who gets relatively little help from her son’s father, and is constantly faced with criticism from her harsh mother (played by Rosie O’Donnell).
“SMILF’s” depiction of Bridget’s life is candid, humorous, and relatable even if you’ve never been a single mother – and Shaw’s portrayal of Bridget earned her a Golden Globe nomination.
New episodes of “SMILF” air every Sunday at 10 p.m. on Showtime.
9. Colandrea “Coco” Conners, “Dear White People”
While she is initially made out to be a villain on “Dear White People,” as the series progresses it becomes clear that Colandrea “Coco” Conners (Antoinette Robertson) is not as she appears.
From the Southside of Chicago, Coco has witnessed extreme violence and poverty. In an attempt to separate herself from her past she reinvents herself.
Coco seems overly absorbed in her looks and image, but it is through Coco’s cultivation of her personal image at Winchester University that the audience is able to learn more about her fascinating story.
8. Ofglen, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
- The Handmaid’s Tale
Ofglen (Alexis Bledel) is one of the supporting characters on “The Handmaid’s Tale,” but that doesn’t mean her presence on the show is insignificant by any means.
Quiet and reserved, Ofglen is able to convey a magnitude of emotions without saying much.
In one of the most intense episodes of the series, Ofglen is taken handcuffed and gagged to court for having an affair with a woman – something strictly forbidden in Gilead.
Even though the Ofglen is unable to speak, her sorrow, fear, and sense of hopelessness is conveyed to the audience through an artful performance by Bledel, who breathes life into Ofglen.
7. Miriam “Midge” Maisel, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
- Amazon Studios
After her husband of five years leaves her and her children for his secretary, Miriam “Midge” Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) turns to comedy for solace – a passion that once belonged to her husband.
Miriam is foul-mouthed, quick-witted, smart, and has an effervescent personality that is impossible not to love.
Brosnahan’s performance as the amusing a resilient Miriam has earned her a Golden Globe nomination.
6. Reggie Green, “Dear White People”
At Winchester University, a prestigious and predominately white college, Reggie Green (Marque Richardson) is one of the fierce leaders of the Black Student Union.
In one episode of “Dear White People” the campus police point a gun in Reggie’s face after they show up to a college party where a white fraternity brother is fighting with Reggie. Though he ends up untouched by the police, Reggie is significantly altered by the experience.
Through his suffering and trauma viewers are able to see a nuanced portrayal of how police discrimination, and the threat of gun violence, emotionally impacts African-American men.
5. Ruth Wilder, “Glow”
- Erica Parise/Netflix
Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie), like many actresses, is struggling.
But when she finds herself signed onto a “professional” female wrestling league as villain “Zoya the Destroya,” she has a new zest for life.
Brie’s portrayal of Ruth on Netflix’s “Glow” is honest, hilarious, and heartbreaking – and it earned her a Golden Globe nomination.
2. Celeste Wright, 3. Madeline Martha Mackenzie, 4. Jane Chapman, “Big Little Lies”
The friendships and journeys of Jane Chapman (Shailene Woodley), Madeline Martha Mackenzie (Reese Witherspoon), and Celeste Wright (Nicole Kidman), that are closely followed on “Big Little Lies,” are spectacular.
All three actresses received Golden Globe nominations for their work on the series, and it’s no surprise.
Jane deals with single motherhood in wealthy Monterey, California. Madeline tries to balance home and work life, while simultaneously trying to put a past affair behind her. Celeste combats the frequent physical abuse that she faces from her husband (played by Alexander Skarsgård).
All stories are told truthfully, and reveal the hardships that women often deal with no matter what their status in life is.
1. Offred, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Offred (Elisabeth Moss) serves Commander Fred (Joseph Fiennes) and his wife Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) as a handmaid in Gilead.
As a handmaid, Offred is expected to be their reproductive surrogate, or suffer grave consequences.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” follows Offred’s life before the US became Gilead, revealing how she became a handmaid, and how her life is now controlled against her will by religious extremists.
Elisabeth Moss delivers one of the most stunning performances of the year as Offred in “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Moss has already won an Emmy for her role, and is currently nominated for a Golden Globe for her work on the series.