Television is a finicky medium. Every year, networks throw a bunch of characters against a wall and waits to see what sticks with viewers. This year, we were graced with a ton of great new female characters. From gynos to vice presidents, these ladies are holding it down on the small screen.
1. Mindy Lahiri, The Mindy Project
Mindy Lahiri, aptly named after her creator and likeness Mindy Kaling, is a fantastic addition to the 2012 line-up. She’s rocking curves, lightening fast wit and a comedic sensibility that is all her own. Not unlike other sitcom stars, Mindy is searching for love, managing her co-workers and trying her very best to have go at this crazy ride we call life. Unlike most leading ladies, she’s not Caucasian or a size zero, which is refreshing. Mindy Lahiri is sparkling and engaging and delightful and will be trotting across our television screen for a long time. So there.
2. Rayna Jaymes: Nashville
Connie Britton plays the vulnerable and talented Rayna Jaymes. Rayna is Nashville royalty, serving up Faith Hill-esque charm and likability. She juggles a strained marriage, kids and an ex, all while trying to reinvent herself as an artist. Staying relevant isn’t easy with the young, up-and-coming country star Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) nipping at her heels.
- Side note: If you’re loving the world and the writing of Nashville, it’s because Thelma & Louise writer Callie Khouri created it.
3. Hannah Horvath: Girls
Lena Dunham is Hannah Horvath. Hannah is the quintessential modern 20-something trying to make her way in the Big Apple amidst a recession. Here’s the thing about Hannah or Lena or both: there is something about her that is so disarmingly authentic, you really can’t take your eyes off her. The character of Hannah is an extension of the main character Aura, from Lena’s independent hit Tiny Furniture. For girls everywhere, I’m happy that Hannah exists. She lives fiercely, as we all should, in her own skin.
4. Theresa Caputo The Long Island Medium
Theresa Caputo may not be playing a character per se, but she is a new star lighting up the landscape of television. Theresa Caputo is a medium. She holds readings at her house and communicates with loved ones who have passed over to greener pastures. She may look like a bit of a charlatan with her high frosted blonde hair and lethally long nails, but we can blame all that on the Long Island component. Theresa is incredibly empathetic and seemingly accurate. If you’re interested in getting a real-life reading, you can hop on her three year wait-list.
5. Maddie Fox: Ben and Kate
Five-year-old Maddie Fox is played be the adorable Maggie Elizabeth Jones. Maddie and her man-child Uncle Ben (Nate Faxon) have fantastic chemistry. They connect on the exact same level, which may be slightly insulting to Maddie. Maddie’s dry humor and low key delivery steal the heck out of every scene she’s in. The writers of the show would be wise to use this little scene-thief more often.
6. Selina Meyer: Veep
Vice President Selina Meyer, played by the always razor-sharp Julia-Louis Dreyfus, could easily run the risk of being a Sarah Palin-ish caricature. Instead, Selina feels real. Real in a layered, vacuous, neurotic kinda way. When told that the commander in chief was a having heart palpitations, we saw excitement, concern and hope bubble across Selina’s face all at the same time.
7. Olivia Pope: Scandal
The character of Olivia Pope is a crisis management specialist. The character is based on real-life lawyer Judy Smith. Judy was a former deputy press secretary for President George H. W. and the go-to woman for making big scandals go away. A few of her biggies were the Bill Clinton & Monica Lewinsky scandal, the Chandra Levy Murder and the Larry Craig bathroom stall situation. Kerry Washington plays the part of Olivia Pope brilliantly.
8. Jane Van Veen: 666 Park Avenue
Jane Van Veen felt like a character out of a Hitchcock movie. She was blond and smart and innocent and steely. Jane, played by Rachel Taylor, harmlessly applied for the position of building manager at The Drake, a fancy apartment building on the upper east side. Things at The Drake got pretty weird pretty quickly, but bless her heart, Jane did not get shook. She watched a dead woman re-kill herself by jumping off a building and didn’t run down the block screaming. Unfortunately, 666 Park Avenue wasn’t renewed for a second season. But after all that, Jane Van Veen went through it only seemed fair that she make the list.
9. Catherine Chandler: Beauty and the Beast
Catherine Chandler, played by Kristin Kreuk, is a no-nonsense detective. She has a slightly easier job of falling for the Beast than Belle did. This “Beast” does have an angry growl but minus a jagged scar, he’s pretty easy on the ol’ eyeballs. And he saved her life three times in the first episode. Catherine is dramatic to the point of camp. If you’re looking for a little mindless fun, Catherine Chandler delivers.
10. Chloe: Don’t Trust The B__In Apartment 23
Chloe is the ”B” in apartment 23. She’s is bad, she is rotten and she is not to be trusted. Everyone has had a naughty roommate at some point in their life. But this “B”, played by Krysten Ritter, takes the cake with lines like, “I hooked up with your fiancé on your birthday cake. And I’m going to be late with my half of the rent.”
11. Jane Forrest: The New Normal
Not too many characters can spit slurs quite like Nana Jane, played by the one and only Ellen Barkin. Jane spreads ignorance like hot nasty butter. Some of the hate might be difficult to swallow if it wasn’t delivered so gloriously.
12. Kitty Wilde: Glee
Sometimes it takes a a kitty-cats claws to coming out to get the drama going. Becca Tobin plays cheerleader Kitty Wilde. She is mean and manipulative the way only a high school cheerleader can be. If you’re a true Gleek, you may not like Kitty’s attitude but you can’t help but love her beautiful voice.
What brand new characters did you flip over this year?