The Best TV Characters of 2011

When Showtime’s celebrated Homeland wrapped up its first season earlier this week, many critics were upset with its final twists. But AV Club’s TV editor, Todd VanDerWerff, wasn’t one of them. He took to Twitter to stick up for the show, noting that its detractors were largely upset about the plot while its defenders lauded its character development and concluding, “If you’re watching long-form TV for plot, it will disappoint you.” In fact, it’s always fascinating and multi-faceted characters, and the way they grow over time, that hooks us on a show for the long haul. So, with an eye to how vitally important they are to the overall success of a series, we’ve rounded up the year’s best TV characters. Since we can’t watch everything, you’ll want to add anyone we missed in the comments.

George Christopher, Bored to Death

RIP Bored to Death. As much as we like the Jonathan Ames character and love Zach Galifianakis, it is Ted Danson’s aging (former) magazine editor, George Christopher, who we’re most upset to never see again. Both a father figure to Jonathan and Galifianakis’ Ray and a big, spoiled kid himself, George was a bundle of contradictions, a helpless womanizer, a stylish clotheshorse, a generous friend, a hilarious stoner, and a guy whose heart was genuinely in the right place. We think this charismatic character would make an excellent late-night host, and we’ll totally forgive HBO for canceling Bored to Death if they’ll simply give him his own daily show.