2022’s Best New Characters

Television

Characters on our favorite shows are everything.

It’s the stories each character brings to the table which can be the difference between a show’s success or its failure.

We believe that the best new characters of 2022, found below, have kicked the entertainment quotient of their respective shows up a notch.

Do you agree?

Let’s get this party started!

Dwight Manfredi – Tulsa King (Paramount+)

Of course, Sylvester Stallone would rock his first regular TV series role, and of course, it would come courtesy of Taylor Sheridan.

Dwight Manfredi is a made man on the mend, released from prison after 25 years — years he refused to snitch even if it meant his release.

Dwight lost everything, but he spent his time in prison gaining wisdom and intelligence, which helped him start fresh, building a new criminal underworld in dusty Tulsa, Oklahoma.

His charm wins unexpected friends and influences people from guys on the street to troubled ATF agents, and his humor and compassion (it’s true) keep them around, viewers included.

Claudia – Interview with the Vampire (AMC)

Claudia doesn’t show up until midway through the stunning vampire series’ first season, but she makes her presence known immediately.

Bailey Bass is a revelation as the teenage vampire who must quickly learn to adapt to her new reality under the tutelage of two vampires who can never see eye-to-eye.

Claudia becomes a vital piece of this first season as she grows and accumulates knowledge with each passing year. And it’s knowledge she uses to upend the wayward power dynamics of her household.

Louis and Lestat are never the same after Claudia’s arrival, and the series is all the better for having her.

Bertha Russell – The Gilded Age (HBO)

We’ve never met anyone quite like Mrs. Russell! Bertha is a new kind of heroine, a nouveau-riche lady-about-town, ruthless in her ambition to be adored and accepted by New York society.

Mrs. Russell is always put together in gowns and outfits as bold and gorgeous as she is. Carrie Coon gets her showiest role to date and attacks it with pomp, elegance, and just the right mix of confidence and vulnerability.

She’s a mother and wife who wants the world for her family — and she won’t let anyone stand in her way.

Meldof – The Witcher: Blood Origin (Netflix)

It would be easy for a lone dwarf to get lost in a fellowship of outcast elves, all with an ax to grind with the powers that be, but Meldof does anything but blend in.

She proudly wields her beautiful axe, Gwen, named for the partner murdered by elven soldiers and avenged by the namesake. Having fulfilled that mission, she holds no grudge against the rest of elvenkind despite the baseline animosity that exists between the people.

She is brave and bright, and hospitable to a high standard. She stands with her chosen company and finishes the job with finesse. Her love for Gwen steers her true as she listens to the voice she imbued in her hammer in the forging. Their conversations are both endearing and insightful.

Meldof is a scene-stealer and would be a wonderful addition to the core Witcher series; however that might happen. She and Jaskier would be amazing together.

Bob’s Mom, Lily – Bob’s Burgers (FOX)

While the show often brings in Linda’s parents, Bob’s mom passed away before the series started, so we only get to see his dad. They never even provided much of a backstory into Bob’s mom.

While not a new character in the traditional sense, Bob’s Burgers managed to make Lily Belcher important with beautiful storylines that brought the whole family closer to their ancestors. 

Starting in The Bob’s Burgers Movie earlier this year, we learn that Lily Belcher’s legacy and influence have been with us from the start: Louise’s ears are similar to a hat Lily would wear. 

Add that to the beautiful, heartbreaking episode where Bob and the family try to find Lily’s grave at the cemetery, we get some powerful scenes that show off the show’s true emotional depth.

Barbara – Welcome to Flatch (Fox)

Whether hated or loved by her fellow citizens, Barb certainly shakes things up when she moves back to town.

The bright-eyed realtor returns back from Florida with dreams of rebuilding her life and transforming the town. She quickly revives her rivalry with Mandy, infringes on Cheryl’s personal space, and sends Shrub’s life through whirlwinds of passion and chaos.

Over the course of one season, she evicts Shrub, takes him on as a lover, transforms his personal style, evicts him again, and ultimately gives him housing as part of a political deal. Midseason additions should enter with a bang, and Barb certainly qualifies.

Clara – Yellowstone (Paramount Network)

Across the Taylor Sheridan Universe, even the most supporting of cast members are written with care and perfectly cast.

When John Dutton became Governor of Montana, he inherited a bunch of useless bureaucrats, but he also inherited Clara, his new assistant and right-hand woman.

She knows the ins and outs of the capital and is a business whiz and a calendar-maintaining wonder, but she’s also a helluva horsewoman with a sharp tongue, all of which makes Clara an absolute delight and a welcome addition to Yellowstone Season 5.

Eddie – Stranger Things (Netflix)

Not a single fan of Stranger Things thought that Eddie would last. He was too good to be true. He was the cool guy with a heart of gold, hoping to prove to the world he was as good as we knew he would be.

Like all the best people in our lives, Eddie got along with everyone, or at least he was capable of it. But it was his love for the underdogs that really grabbed our hearts, and it was his heroic last act that brought tears to our eyes and had us shaking our fists at the sky.

Why, Stranger Things, why???

Jinx – Titans (HBO Max)

Lisa Amblavanar delivered a complete 180 from the Teen Titans iteration of Jinx, and it was a breath of fresh air.

Armed with a quick wit and a natural gravitation towards magic, Jinx helped the team in many respects.

Hopefully, she cheats death and returns for the back half of Titans Season 4.

Aunt Abby, Central Park – (Apple+)

It was heartbreaking to see Kristen Bell leave the talented voice cast of Central Park after the first season. The show wisely added her back for Season 3 as Paige’s sister.

Abby is an aspiring actor, and nearly everything about her circumstances is laced with hilarity and truth.

Her apartment situation is particularly worthy of many a visual gag: She shares a room with an old Jewish couple and a hipster DJ that’s no bigger than a food cart.

Her narrative as a plucky out-of-towner determined to make it in the big city recalls many a screen ingenue, from Ruby Keillor to Natalie Wood to Barbra Streisand, which lends a great counterbalance to the more settled Tillerman family. 

Valentina – White Lotus (HBO)

Valentina’s unique brand of snappiness towards any of her employees that’s on the wrong side of the mood was one of the most memorable things about the show’s second season.

But she’s mastered the art of the reluctant smile when a guest pulls one over her. In other words, she’s a whiz at customer service even while not liking the people around her. How is that not fascinating?

Of course, Valentina has a lot of layers to her and an aura of mystery. As the second season goes on, it’s revealed that Valentine is closeted and has a crush on her employee. Her sexual awakening is a wayward ride and a very interesting one.

Dante Torres – Chicago PD (NBC)

The unit was long overdue for some fresh blood, and it and we got what we needed with signature white tee-wearing, tatted-up, silent, savvy, and badass rookie Dante Torres.

He’s an unorthodox addition to the squad while simultaneously being precisely the type of presence it desperately needed, and he’s hit the ground running, stealing scenes and bringing his own grit, flavor, and experience to the squad.

Torres is an excellent bridge between law enforcement and the disenfranchised communities they must serve and protect. His familiarity with both sides of the law has given the unit a greater edge and undoubtedly makes things more interesting.

The Interns: Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)

Many wondered how Grey’s Anatomy could revamp itself for its 19th season, especially with the news that Mer would have a diminished role.

The solution was a new batch of interns the series is actually devoting time to, recapturing some of the magic of, well, the original intern group, M.A.G.I.C. Grey’s Anatomy feels like itself again.

It’s mainly because of their bold move to focus on a new slate of lovable, diverse, and interesting characters with compelling backgrounds as a class full of misfit toys.

And they’re also bringing new friendships, new ships, and special connections, like Lucas Adams (Shepherd). In such a short period, it already feels like we’ve had them forever, and we want to keep them!

Luca – Good Trouble (Freeform)

Booboo Stewart infuses such purity and heart into the soft-spoken, gentle unhoused dancer who has found a home and family with The Coterie.

He has such a quiet but commanding presence that reels you in whenever he’s onscreen.

He’s added something unique to the series and this batch of diverse characters, and he’s been one of the highlights of the recent season.

We cannot wait to see how this character continues to thrive.

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Did we catch your favorite new character of 2022?

If not, hit the comments below and tell us what we missed.

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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