Protagonists serve as the driving force in TV shows as they shape the stories that captivate and resonate with audiences. The impact of a unique protagonist on a show’s success cannot be emphasized enough, as these characters elevate the series’ storytelling.
Reddit users in this thread discussed the most interesting protagonists on television. Whether it’s because of the protagonist’s unique traits, personalities, or character arcs, they are standout central characters on television.
10Grace Monroe – ‘Infinity Train’ (2019 – 2021)
Voiced by Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Grace Monroe went from being an antagonistic character to a compassionate person. Her journey of self-discovery and growth was an impactful character arc for viewers.
Reddit user EngineeringOk3975 said that they loved her arc of going “from a ruthless and rebellious cult leader to a caring, compassionate caretaker”, adding that it was a “very satisfying watch and also bittersweet”. Overall, Grace’s redemption and transformation resonated deeply with audiences.
9Alan Shore – ‘Boston Legal’ (2004 – 2008)
Alan Shore (James Spader) was a character in one of the greatest TV legal dramas. Although he was complicated morally, Alan was charismatic and excellent at law. He was bold and not afraid to talk about tough questions that go against the norm.
Reddit user FoMini said that Alan Shore is a very “conflicted character” who is often “charming and deeply empathetic” and often times, “cruel, sleazy, and offensive”. They also added that Alan unpredictably jumps from being drastically serious to being “gleefully hilarious”.
8Nucky Thompson – ‘Boardwalk Empire’ (2010 – 2014)
Portrayed by Steve Buscemi, viewers watched Nucky from being a political figure to an underworld boss. Along with charismatic leadership, his personal and professional relationships led to many intriguing storylines that kept fans watching.
Reddit user Contraian_Eh named Nucky the most interesting protagonist in the TV world. After all, his evolution throughout the show drew viewers in, and his complexity as a character made him a standout of the show.
7Bojack Horseman – ‘Bojack Horseman’ (2014 – 2020)
The titular character from one of the best dark comedies on television, BoJack (Will Arnett) is a humanoid horse who is grappling with fame, addiction, and personal demons. His combination of vulnerability and self-destructive tendencies shaped the show’s storylines of mental health and societal pressures.
Reddit user harshnoisebestnoise said that BoJack went through an “absolute rollercoaster” including layers of abuse, trauma, and a trial of chaos. They even added that they loved the show and that they don’t think they’ll “ever get another show like it”.
6Will Graham – ‘Hannibal’ (2013 – 2015)
Played by Hugh Dancy, Will is a gifted criminal profiler who has the ability to empathize with killers. While this is a unique gift, it was also a curse since delving into the mind of serial killers affects his own sanity.
A Reddit user said that Will is a character that is “so well written” and the actor plays him well. After all, Will’s internal struggles were a character arc that drove the series, especially when he blurred the lines between hero and anti-hero.
5Michael Scott – ‘The Office’ (2005 – 2013)
Michael Scott (Steve Carell) was the bumbling yet endearing manager of The Office. His offbeat leadership style, hilarious humor, and occasional insensitivity also made him one of the best TV comedy characters.
Reddit user gmelson17 said that Michael Scott is filled with “intriguing contradictions” including being brilliant, idiotic, insensitive, loyal, and selfish. Despite all this, as the initial protagonist of the show, he shaped the comedic and emotional core of The Office.
4Dexter Morgan – ‘Dexter’ (2006 – 2013)
Played by Michael C. Hall, as the central character in Dexter, Dexter Morgan was a forensic expert by day and a serial killer by night, targeting other criminals. His dual identity of maintaining normalcy while giving in to his need to kill shaped the show.
Reddit user charlotie77 named Dexter as one of the most interesting protagonists on TV. Overall, his complexity as a character lies within his sociopathic tendencies and occasional empathy, as well as living in good and evil.
3Don Draper – ‘Mad Men’ (2007 – 2015)
Don Draper (Jon Hamm) is the protagonist in Mad Men, a drama that is addictive and thought-provoking. The drama lies within his mysterious past and web of lies. Although he has impeccable charm, he struggles with his identity and personal demons.
Reddit usersaid that Don is “super relatable” describing that he is flawed but a “fundamentally principled person with real aspirations, motivations, and fears”. Hence, many viewers resonated with his character because of how he showcased the realities of human nature.
2‘Breaking Bad’ (2008 – 2013)
Portrayed by Bryan Cranston, viewers watched as Walter White went through a huge transformation throughout Breaking Bad. Initially a mild-mannered chemistry teacher, he became a ruthless drug dealer. This chilling transformation became a core element in the series.
A Reddit usersaid that Walter White’s character development was “insane”. Another user agreed in the discussion and said that it was crazy that he went from being a meek chemistry teacher to a ruthless drug lord.
1Tony Soprano – ‘The Sopranos’ (1999 – 2007)
Tony (James Gandolfini) was a complex mob boss who struggled with mental health and morality issues in The Sopranos. His personal qualities had both brutality and vulnerability, and Tony found himself battling with anxiety, therapy sessions, and his violent profession in his family life.
Reddit usersdiscussed how Tony was an interesting character due to his charisma, and the evil deeds that he keeps doing. Despite all that, Reddit users say that it is fascinating to watch and that the character is very intriguing.