10 Sensational Returning TV Characters

BlogHer Original Post

This fall's TV season is just about to kick off and with returning shows will come some sensational returning characters. Now, I'm not talking about cool characters like Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) or Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), 'cause they're the stars of their shows.

I'm talking about some of the supporting players that make us laugh, make us cry and can steal a scene quicker than you can say "Sue Sylvester."

So here's my list of the ten characters I'm most looking forward to watching this fall:

Image courtesy FOX

Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) of Glee: Speaking of Sue Sylvester, she's at the top of my list. This tracksuit-wearing head coach of the Cheerios is the evil nemesis of the head of the glee club, Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison). She's tough, she's ruthless and always ready with a hysterical Schuester putdown. But what makes Sue so much more compelling than your average TV villain is when we're allowed to see the briefest glimpses of her heart. Like when she goes to visit her sister who has Down syndrome. Veteran actress Jane Lynch just took home a well deserved Emmy for the role -- and coming up, look for Carol Burnett (!), who'll play Sue's Nazi-hunting mother. Heh!

Image courtesy CBS

Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) of The Good Wife: Diane's the partner in a struggling law firm. She's also the boss of Alicia Florirck (Julianna Margulies), boss and not above twisting a few arms to get what's good for the firm. A staunch Democrat, last season she had a fun and flirty relationship with a ballistics expert whose politics were polar opposite to hers.

Image courtesy CBS

Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) of How I Met Your Mother: From Day 1, Barney was the character that made this otherwise just so-so show sing. He's a shameless womanizer, but because he's so smooth, charming, and totally outrageous, you don't care. He only wears suits, since that's the best way to pick up women, and his rallying cry, "Suit up!" is only one of his, "Wait for it!" -- favorite catch phrases. Love him to death.

Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) of The Big Bang Theory: You might say I'm cheating with this one 'cause I said I wouldn't use characters that are stars of their shows. Well, they're my rules and I can break them if I want to. Besides, Sheldon Cooper is part of an ensemble and just too memorable to pass up. A theoretical physicist -- yeah, you heard me -- Sheldon's a geek of the highest order. He's socially inept, a germophobe, and likely to sit down and defrag his computer hard drive in the middle of a cocktail party. Like Jane Lynch, Parsons was also rewarded with an Emmy this year for the role.

Image courtesy ABC

Dr. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) of Grey's Anatomy: They've stopped calling her "The Nazi" and she's mellowed a bit since having a baby and developing her surgical skills, but make no mistake: Miranda can still cut you off at the knees without even blinking. She ended the season with a new man and new outlook on life, and here's hoping there are more exciting things to come for Dr. Bailey.

Image courtesy FOX

Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble) of Fringe: Fringe is a bit of a wacky show, and though I haven't watched it on a regular basis, I do try and tune in periodically to see what's up with the wackiest of the show's characters, Dr. Walter Bishop. A former researcher of fringe science, Bishop was institutionalized for years before being sprung by his son Peter (Joshua Jackson). Problem is, pieces of his brain were removed to keep Bishop from remembering another universe, how to get there, etc. -- so though he's brilliant, he's a wackadoodle hoot.

Image courtesy Showtime

Lieutenant Maria LaGuerta (Lauren Velez) of Dexter: Head of the Miami homicide unit, Lt. LaGuerta is a woman in a man's world, making it work the best she can. Last season she began an affair with one of her own cops, and nearly got them both booted from the force. By the end of the season, the two were married and the entire department was tracking the Trinity Killer. It'll be very interesting to see how she and her team react to the shocking revelations in the season finale. LaGuerta's one downside? The fact that she hasn't figured out she's got a serial killer on her payroll. Details, details.

Karen McCluskey (Kathryn Joosten) of Desperate Housewives: Mrs. McCluskey is the neighborhood busybody and Wisteria Lane wouldn't be the same without her. She's gone toe to toe with Lynette Scavo, been best buds with the late Edie Britt (Nicollette Sheridan), and last season began a torrid affair with Roy Bender (Orson Bean), a retired steak salesman.

Miss J. Alexander of America's Next Top Model: Last year ANTM took Miss J. off the judging panel in favor of Andre Leon Talley. That meant we only got all-too-brief cameos of Tyra's "runway diva extraordinaire." Miss J. is fierce, and personally, I want her back!

Image courtesy

Cheryl Burke of Dancing with the Stars: Yeah, yeah, I know that technically, like Miss J., Cheryl's not a character, but seriously, who doesn't want to see what this two-time DWTS champ will come up with next? Not only can she rip up the dance floor, but she's a magnificent choreographer and has the unique ability to show off the best of her partners. This season, she's been hooked up with another athlete, former Laker Rick Fox. Strike up the band and bring on the sequins!

Which TV characters are you looking forward to this fall?

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Megan Smith is the BlogHer Contributing Editor covering Television/Online Video.. Her other blogs are Megan's Minute, quirky commentary around the clock and Meg's Rad Reviews.


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