21 Characters Who Carried the Show on Their Backs

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The main character isn't always the best character.

Sometimes the lead or the main cast can't carry their fair share of weight, and the responsibility of keeping the audience entertained falls on one characterer in particular. 

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We created a slideshow below of 21 characters who carried the show on their backs! 

1. Eretria - The Shannara Chronicles

Eretria was always the best part of The Shannara Chronicles. Her growth and her personal arc carried the story and made each episode more interesting than the last.

2. Fonzie - Happy Days

Fonzie may have started off the show as a secondary character, but he moved up in the ranks. In time, he became the lead of the show, and the network even considered renaming Happy Days after him.

3. Ava Jalali - The Perfectionists

The Perfectionists is nowhere near as good as Pretty Little Liars. But the whole spinoff feels worth it just for Ava Jalali. It's all too easy to feel a connection to her character, and her storyline is the most exciting aspect of the show.

4. J.R. Ewing - Dallas

Dallas wasn't originally supposed to focus on J.R. He became such an integral and beloved character that his storyline quickly moved front and center on the show.

5. Blair Waldorf - Gossip Girl

Serena was the "It Girl" on the series, but her best friend Blair was by far the most interesting. Her quirky attitude and her determination to succeed are what made Gossip Girl so successful.

6. Castiel - Supernatural

Castiel AND the Winchesters carry the show on their backs. We would have no show without Sam and Dean. But the show significantly improved when Castiel got introduced, and he has become just as crucial as the Winchesters themselves.

7. Maya Hart - Girl Meets World

Did anyone else start to believe that Maya was actually the girl on "Girl Meets World?" Her story was better articulated than Riley's, and no matter how much you love Riley's character, it's impossible to argue that Maya's comedic personality mixed with her emotional journey was what made the show such a success.

8. Sawyer Ford - Lost

Sawyer was FAR more engaging than Jack Shephard, the show's protagonist. But to be fair, everything was more entertaining than Jack.

9. Joey Potter - Dawson's Creek

Can we start a petition to take Dawson's name out of the title? He was altogether the worst, and while viewers were supposed to be focusing on who Dawson would end up with, we only cared about Joey and her romantic life.

10. Shoshanna Shapiro - Girls

Hanna's friend Shoshanna had an exciting story that should have been highlighted more on Girls. The whole series would have improved by letting her step into the spotlight.

11. Cheryl Blossom - Riverdale

The characters on Riverdale can be both bland and unlikeable at times, but Cheryl Blossom is a light in the dark. Her personality is incredibly unique, and her relationship with Toni lifts the show to new levels and makes it worth the watch.

12. Stewie Griffin - Family Guy

The best episodes of Family Guy are always the ones that revolve around Stewie. The characters can be downright bland, but the uniqueness of Stewie's character is what makes the show funny in the first place.

13. Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead

Most fans can collectively agree that Daryl Dixon is the best character on The Walking Dead. His character development is one of the highlights of the series, and we can't imagine the show without him.

14. Stiles Stilinski - Teen Wolf

We love Scott McCall and would never want another lead, but Stiles was singlehandedly what made the show worth watching. His relationship with Scott and his romance with Lydia were the highlight of the series, and fans can agree that the season Dylan O'Brien left the show was ultimately the worst.

15. Klaus Hargreeves - The Umbrella Academy

Klaus takes The Umbrella Academy from good to great. While everyone in the Hargreeves family brings something special to the table, it's Klaus' personality that puts the show over the top.

16. Seth Cohan - The OC

Seth's personality and his relationship with Summer are the sole reason to watch The OC. The show may have supposedly been about Ryan, but it was Seth who carried the show on his back.

17. Jesse Pinkman - Breaking Bad

Walter White was a compelling protagonist for sure, but Jesse was the breakout star. The character brought something unique to the series and ended up playing a much more significant role than initially intended.

18. Ron Swanson - Parks and Recreation

We love all the characters on Parks and Rec, and Leslie Knope is a fantastic protagonist. But no one expected Ron Swanson to become so beloved, and it was his personality that made the show so distinguishable from other sitcoms that were on at the time.

19. Penelope Garcia - Criminal Minds

Penelope was initially supposed to play a minor part on Criminal Minds. But she became so beloved by both the writers and fans that she earned a spot that provided a crucial role on the series.

20. Barney Stinson - How I Met Your Mother

Barney was the worst, no doubt about it. But most fans believe that Ted was a bland protagonist, and it was Barney's personality that saved the show.

21. Poussey Washington - Orange is the New Black

To this day, Poussey is still the best character on Orange is the New Black. The show feels a lot more hollow without her presence, and she deserves better than what she got.

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The Walking Dead, Girls, Girl Meets World, Teen Wolf, Riverdale, The Shannara Chronicles, PLL: The Perfectionists, Dallas, Gossip Girl, Lost, Dawson's Creek, Orange is the New Black, How I Met Your Mother, Supernatural, Criminal Minds, Breaking Bad, Parks and Recreation, Family Guy
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