TV characters are funny things. When we devote so much of our attention and time to television programmes, it’s hard not to develop attachments and care towards the characters that carry the story.
Roger Wolfson, TV script writer and coloumnist for The Washington Post, understands the importance of character. Regardless of their virtues, can they build bridges to your deeper sense of self? Wolfson maintains this sentiment by asking ‘do you feel like you knew them already? Do they have a life beyond screen time?
If the answer is yes then something special in the unison between script writer, director and actor has happened. The ‘Soul Bridge’ as Wolfson describes, is where this alignment of creative visions has formed a character that has such depth and differences whilst tapping into something of a universal value that underpins a human condition, can quite literally carry the entire production, and even inspire off shoot productions.
Under this Criteria, here are 5 TV characters written to perfection.
Omar Little- The Wire
Just on paper without any of the delivery of lines or situation, the character of Omar Little is extraordinary in such devastatingly improvised circumstances. He is like a folk lore hero in a place that fantasy forgot. A gay, black stick up artist that robs gangsters and installs fear into a lawless town.
Building off an actual real life character, Larry Donnell Andrews, writer David Simon, installs dialogue of anguish, retribution, loyalty and at times comedy to fully sculpt a character that is battling so many fronts, his identity as a gay man drives a new masculine metric to the mean streets of Baltimore.
Bojack Horseman – Bojack
A complex character, Bojack Horseman is a concoction from creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg and actor Will Arnet. Suffering from early burn out with an inflated ego riding off the successes of long past glories, Bojack demonstrates what s possible with dialogue and voice whilst reducing the visual display to that of a cartoon. An entire series unravels layers of a tormented character till your exposed to the very core of someone’s experiences and their coping mechanisms. Funny wisdoms are underpinned by genuine torment and cry for help that loudens whilst decimating every faced of ego. A ground-breaking adult-toon that is much self-help treatise as it is entertainment.
Saul Goodman- Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.
Seldom has a backing character been so well received that a completely new franchise production need be made to carry on its audience engagement. Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul not only provided comedic relief and a beta male sentiment to an otherwise heroic and masculine set of characters, the wit and intelligence of the characters dialogue and action speaks more of a corrupted system at work along with the desperation of surviving through greed as the American dream is exposed as deceitful faith of self-sabotage,
Bob Oden Kirk and writer Vince Gilligan distil a character lost in his own set of virtues with instinct to demonstrate his process of intelligence surpassing that of the criminal mastermind he represents as lawyer.