[Top Ten Tuesday] – #27 – Top Ten Character Arcs in Recent Television

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. I thought this would be a fun way to share a condensed version of potential rambles and thoughts that I have.

This Week’s Theme:
Top Ten Character Arcs
in Recent Television

Initial Thoughts:

The original prompt for this week involved other types of stories; primarily those found in movies or television. With choices of listing either forms of entertainment, I have decided that while the concept and backdrops are important, the de facto winner is in the characters themselves in driving each own story. This generated list is specific to the relevant shows airing during the 2013-14 scheduling of primetime television. I also kind of watch mostly everything so it’s quite the mishmash of shows. No judgment. 

I’ll try my best to limit the potential spoilers if you haven’t seen any of these shows yet. and I was also too lazy to finish compiling gifs for each and every show. I also hope this isn’t GIF heavy.

The Mindy Project – Mindy Lahiri

mindy gifSure it’s not amongst the top-tier comedy sitcoms on television today, but there’s something quite resilient about Mindy Kaling’s comedic approach that really works for me and I think it returns full circle to the self-awareness of the writing. While Mindy is unquestionably flawed, it’s the pretense of coming across as an unreliable narrator to her own life that’s where the heart of this show is found. As onlookers, the uncertainty in her only human actions is where the comedic message comes across best.

Game of Thrones – Tyrion Lannister and Arya Stark

arya and gendryI don’t think I’d give the read a chance (because I’m obviously lazy) but something has to be said about how quickly this show has risen in ranks as a fairly entertaining watch. Between all the characters we follow throughout the show, so far, the winning storylines for me are between Tyrion (and Jamie to a lesser extent–bromance, yo) and Arya Stark (and Gendry…because Gendrya is forever). For starters, Tyrion’s plot needs no explaining; it’s just that good. But between the valar morghulis and the not today’s, Arya remains the unknown variable of hope and resolve amongst all that has gone to shit in GoT. So as viewers we continue to watch; skeptically, but still watching.

House of Cards – The Washington Herald/Slugline Trio

You don’t have to enjoy the myriad of characteristics (i.e. cut-throat, power, authority, accountability, etc.) often associated with politics to enjoy this show. While Kevin Spacey plays his role of Francis Underwood exceptionally well with the support of his wife Claire, a large part of my initial interests was actually in the trio news reporter/editors of The Washington Herald. Existing viewers will obviously know the eventual fates of these characters but their involvement was not only well-paced and engaging but chillingly atmospheric for the amount of political mumbo jumbo used in the show.

Orphan Black – Helena

helena gif2First off, Tatiana Maslany is a god at what she does (Orphan Black was also robbed of Emmy’s, like…seriously, what gives?). Second, while each character has layers and depth that viewers can tangibly acknowledge and appreciate the variety in hitting niche components of individuality per all the clones, it’s ultimately Helena that has the most to say with arguably the fewest lines. I’ll be honest to say that while Alison’s perspective was amongst my favourite and humorous throughout Season 1, it was Helena’s arc that certainly grows on you as the plot progresses. Or just give me an hour of Helena eating food and I’d be en equally happy camper. Either or, really.

The Vampire Diaries – Caroline Forbes

Aside from everyone dying and being resurrected again and dying and being resurrected again and then dying and being resurrected again and—what a broken record—the character that has won developmental accolades is Caroline Forbes. caroline gif1Am I torn between Klaroline and Enzoline? Maybe. But with the most recent revelation of a certain character who chose not to return (thank you, writers… you did something right) Caroline has definitely stepped up in the friendship-meter to many characters while retaining the essence of her character; a grounded presence of indomitable friendship.

Arrow/The Flash – Barry Allen

Okay so there’s Oliver and Felicity; my one true pairing, obviously. But then there’s Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen. oliverallenfelicity gif1And man, he pulls off the quirk with ease and would make an excellent companion to Felicity Smoak. So this might be a pre-emptive comment but if you’ve watched the leaked pilot episode of The Flash, then you’ll know what I mean. I’m not one to enjoy crossovers that much…but if Olicity doesn’t work out in Arrow, then I’d be more than happy to see Felicity canoodling with Barry (sorrynotsorry Iris West) even though I know if they stay true to the original content… I’ll be a sad viewer. But besides Allen, I really appreciate the dynamics in Team Arrow (is that the name?) and the almost rag-tag feel of those involved. Whether or not CW continues to have impromptu crossovers between the two series is certainly up for debate…but a potential that I’d really enjoy seeing.

The Blacklist – Raymond Reddington

If Kevin Spacey is a winner in the political realm of House of Cards; then, James Spader is the equivalent in the crime-thriller genre. The audacity in writing to mitigate tense commentary with humor is what works for this show. So through all of the domestic issues with Keen’s “family” and her relationships between all parties involved in the Blacklist, it’s Spaders’ Raymond Reddington that steals the scenes.

Suits – Harvey Specter, Donna Paulsen

While I’m not sure about the angle this current season is going to delve into, what has remain unchanged is the dynamics between Harvey and Donna. harveydonna gif3Whenever I see Donna on the screen, I just know her words of realness is about to make a mark; whether it’s taking a comedic approach to a factual truth or just simply blatantly laying it out there, Donna is quite the scene stealer. While I wouldn’t mind a spin-off of simply Donna, the truth is that she’s simply one half of the can opener (re: Harvey) duo. The quirkiness in their relationship really elevates the unequivocal truth behind the on-paper mundane in-office relationships and politics, and it’s what keeps me watching.

Marvel’s Agents of Shield – Leopold Fitz, Jemma Simmons

fitzsimmons gif1If you can meander through the first 16 episodes (or skip it, whatever), there’s a cinematic feel in the remainder of the season that feels as though it’s an extended movie (similar to that of The Avengers). Of course, I guess you’d require pertinent information from the previous episodes…but I’m sure you can still understand most of it if you just started at episode 17. While this show is fairly ensemble driven, Fitz and Simmons are magic—not purely because I ship them (although that’s a definite plus)—but because of the genuine progression and development as characters throughout the season. They’re basically cut from the same stone but are seemingly unique in their own nerdy way. Plus, I literally died in the last episode. Like whaaaaat that scene.

Honourable mentions:

I couldn’t decide on a 10th due to the options available, so here are those that could have made the cut.

Reign – Where do I begin with Queen Catherine? She can be a total bitch but through it all viewers are expected (I guess) to feel empathy for her actions are in line with the love she has for her children. That’s a fair reason. I guess.

The 100 – Although the season was short, Bellamy was one character whom I thought in this YA futuristic spin-off of Lord of the Flies experienced the most growth. While one can argue it was mostly Clarke’s doing (and I guess since they are my ship, I’d have to agree with this comment), it’s the vulnerability of his character despite putting forth a hardened facade that becomes a trade-off between his big brother protective antics and the required rational thinking necessary for survival.

Fargo – Sure it’s no Coen Brothers but with strong performances from all parties, this version of the classic can definitely hold its own. Except for the fact that I couldn’t un-see Bilbo Baggins for the first few episodes…

Criminal Minds – While this is largely ensemble driven, I was excited when Emily Prentiss returned for the brief time that she did and while I do wish that she returned as part of the main cast (and not replaced by Jeanne Tripplehorn or Jennifer Love Hewitt), I pretty much love anything that Reid and Garcia are in. Actually, they’re all pretty awesome in their own right.

The Strain – This show just aired, but it seems like a mish-mash of a Syfy’s Helix with a spec-fic approach on vampires. The lead, Ephraim Goodweather, is a character played by Corey Stoll who I thought at least had a decent showing on House of Cards. Either way, the premise is rad and I’m interested in how it develops.


There are probably like 10 other shows that I followed this season that just didn’t make the cut for this list. Alternatively, there are shows like Once Upon a Time that I simply dropped because I couldn’t handle the annoyance that is some of the main characters (like…why?!). Moreover, some shows like American Horror Story, Orange is the New Black, and The Following are contenders but I’m slowly making progress on catching up on them. I thought about also adapting this theme to also fit character arcs in movies but I guess I could save that for another day.

…and oh look, my recent posts are basically all top-tens… LOL. I’ll get to writing reviews for all the late ARCs and books I’ve slowly caught up in reading soon…maybe.

And also, whoever was so kind to say that you always get “guaranteed comments on my top ten tuesday post” from [me] on that milelongbookshelf questionnaire thing is way too nice. This is a shout-out to you, whoever you may be.



37 thoughts on “[Top Ten Tuesday] – #27 – Top Ten Character Arcs in Recent Television”

  1. Oh man…. Tatiana Maslany.. Seriously amazing, right? And Helena is so creepily amazing.

    I totally forgot about The Blacklist! I’ve seen all the episodes. I can’t help but love Raymond. I love how he loves Lizzie. So sweet.


    1. I’m still not buying Reddington’s story…but I think maybe it’s because I still secretly want Lizzie and Tom to work their crap out and be together hahahaha.

      But yes, in season 1 of Orphan Black, I was like “meh” at helena. but she seriously developed crazy fast in the second season.


  2. I really agree with you about TVD- Caroline has grown as a character SO MUCH from season 1 (when I couldn’t stand her) to where she is now, a grounded, essential character (also, Caroline + Klaus=win). Also, I totally understand your issue with OUAT, I love the creativity of exploring the different fairy tales but I can’t stand a majority of the character’s personalities, especially Emma.


    1. I’m hoping for Klaroline man. They’re the only one’s I care about after all my other ships have sunk. But I don’t think she’d transfer over to The Originals (not that I watch that show so I can’t really say anything about his perspective).

      I generally enjoyed OUAT during the first two seasons but their characters were just grew more annoying for me (I now basically have a dislike for the main cast haha).


    1. I do hope you enjoy it! While it certainly does feel like an episodic “monster/villain of the week” type of show, the underlying plot is definitely much more! And Spader’s dry humor is amazing to watch.


    1. Being intrigued is definitely the first step in potentially watching it! It’s only 20 episodes so it’s fairly short but things happen extremely quickly so you definitely won’t have any downtime. A recommended watch if you ever need a sci-fi thriller!


  3. Ahhh, you have pretty excellent taste. I think I’m going to start watch the Mindy Project off that gif alone. From what I can garner, she’s playing a similar character Kelly from the office.


  4. Hahahaha I’ve got to say I always love where you decide to go with these lists! No pressure or anything, but I definitely go looking for yours 🙂
    Anyway, the character list was a stroke of genius and I was glad to see Tyrion & Arya as your GoT pics. Not to mention that Caroline is FAR AND AWAY the best character on TVD (though I gave up on it a little bit this season because WHAT??? What was even going on?)
    So excellent list as always.


    1. Ha, that’s neat to hear! Glad my “beat the system” mentality in these prompts suit your amusement.

      Yeah…TVD…I know what they were doing…but I don’t know what they were doing. The only part that really worked even if the build-up was questionable at best was Katherine’s death (OH GOD I HOPE SO AT LEAST…)


  5. haha I know what you mean, I only watch Once Upon a Time for the Rumple storyline. I’ve never seen Game of Thrones, but I love the book! I know they’re a bit intimidating with some over 1000 pages, but they’re so worth it! You have good taste in tv shows. 😉


    1. Thanks! I pretty much appreciate most of the villains and have a distaste for all the main cast (emma, henry, snow, charming….yeah no, all completely annoying to me).

      I hate it when I’m talking to my friend who’s reading the books but hasn’t watched the show and I’m just having broken telephone conversation so we don’t spoil each other since the show diverges a bit and is ahead with some plots (and vice-versa). But I don’t think I’ll be reading the books anytime soon. I’d kill myself waiting for the next releases.


  6. Your taste is so good, omg. I can relate to the Helena thing. I never thought I’d go from “ugh can she die pls” to protective overbearing mamabear when it comes to her.

    I stopped watching Suits after s3, but I think I need to rewatch those first three seasons because I just love Donna so much and she gives me so much life.

    And lol, your honourable mentions. I didn’t get very far because distractions and general laziness, but negl, I started watching Reign because of Megan Follows. Queen Catherine is flawfree.


    1. If watching everything means having good taste, then yes, I have amazing taste!

      While Sarah is the main protag, I feel like (theorizing, at least) they’re elevating a certain clone more in each season than the others…maybe. So maybe Tony’s arc will come next season LOL.

      I looooove Donna. She’s definitely getting more screen time in the later seasons–which is awesome–and that’s a sales pitch if I’ve ever heard of one.


  7. Barry is great and I’m so looking forward to The Flash, but I get the feeling that Felicity’s popularity among the Arrow fans will keep her in the show, rather than constantly crossing over to the spin-off. Though I might just be protecting my ship (slightly biased again).


    1. Yeah, I don’t imagine her crossing over at all but as much as my ship is alive…my resolve is faltering, especially when he hints at his relationship with Felicity in the pilot of The Flash (if you’ve seen it).


  8. Yay for the Vampire Diaries! I’m on the seasons that Netflix has, so I haven’t seen Enzoline yet. I really want to watch Game of Thrones. Everyone has been raving about it. I wish I had started when it first came out!


    1. The latest season is definitely shoddy at best in my opinion (but still enjoyable, I guess).

      I started Game of Thrones a month ago-ish and basically binged it. And you should too. Worth every hour and every opening credit scene, ever!


    1. You should check them both out! They’re both 10 episodes a pop (Orphan Black being 20 epis for 2 seasons in total) but I’d imagine that once you start watching it…it’s easy to finish a season in a day!


  9. I’m definitely a big fan of Caroline! She’s come a long way from the first season. I’m a bit of a TVD addict. I quite like Enzoline ;).
    I also love how Team Arrow has developed and ❤ Barry.


    1. Enzoline is the unfortunate consolation prize for Caroline. I’ll take it, I guess. But I wouldn’t be surprised if writers try to force a potential Stefan/Caroline (but I don’t think it’d work if she’s the Lexi replacement).

      Have you seen the leaked pilot for The Arrow? I love how Barry throws in some subtle reminders of Felicity in the episode, and Grant Gustin is phenomenal at what he does!


  10. Oh Helena…..I think my favorite clone is Cosima, but I just LOVE Helena’s story. I just LOVE that show, period!

    No question about it….Klaroline, all the way! 😉

    I also really love the Queen from Reign, too. You just never knows where she is…or what side she is on.

    And OMG Bellamy. I just watched this show, and I have a MAD crush on Bellamy. I just LOVE him.

    And now I am just fangirling, so I will stop! 😉


    1. I think they’re going to Elevate Cosima’s story in the next season…maybe, now that she has Kira’s book from the doctor.
      (or maybe I’m only thinking this because it seemed to me like S1 was Allison, S2 was Helena, etc. but I’m fine with anyone..including Tony.)

      As much as I ship Bellamy/Clarke, the only couple I’m really rooting for is Octavia and Lincoln LOL. But I think that’s mainly cause Clarke is still a meh character to me.


        1. Hahaha, when Tony was first introduced (on camera, at least) I was like “no way Tatiana…” in total disbelief at the possibility, but it was great they took that route!

          I’m speculating where Clarke’s mom landed (and the smoke that was scene in the forest) was the tribe that Lincoln initially told them to go (by the lake). And so I feel like Octavia is going to meet the people of the arc. Just my two cents, though!


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