In a year of stellar TV series and compelling stories, these characters stood out from the crowd. And despite their good, bad, or somewhat questionable intentions, I found myself soundly in their corners. *Warning: Spoilers for "Mr. Robot," "Vikings," "Alias Grace," "Doctor Who," and "Teen Wolf."
Lagertha is every much the warrior and tactician as the kings and jarls around her, with ambitions that pushed her away from her husband's side to find glory of her own. As both a jarl and a queen, she has been constantly challenged by those who assume that her position of power as a woman is tenuous. But those who have challenged her so far have ended up with a one-way ticket to Valhalla.
In a world where most of the inhabitants are born with, receive, or eventually develop supernatural powers, Stiles Stilinksi stands out for being uniquely mortal. What he lacks in heightened abilities, he makes up for with his intellect, humor, loyalty, bravery, sarcasm, and his ability to connect the dots to solve the supernatural mysteries that plague the town of Beacon Hills.
Bill Potts!! The down-to-earth, funny, and charming companion navigates through the deadly challenges in her journeys through space armed with her knowledge of sci-fi tropes. She treats the Doctor like an uncool dad, a dear friend, and also the master of time and space that he is, and keeps him as grounded as one who has lived for millennia could be. Bill Potts, who flirts with the cute girls at her school cafeteria, stands up for those who needed help even in times when it's culturally acceptable not to, who isn't afraid to put herself in danger for the greater good. Bill Potts, who will soon be on her last adventure with the Twelfth Doctor, you will be missed.
Leon has been a low-key standout since he showed up as Elliot’s '90s sitcom-obsessed dinnermate, musing about the deeper meanings in "Seinfeld" and the "artistic triumph" that is "Mad About You." His laid-back and oddly endearing persona never seems to shift no matter the circumstance, whether he’s chatting with Elliot over dinner, taking out four men with a knife, or watching his car being stolen (which could perhaps make him a sociopath). How he ended up allied to Whiterose is a question that may never be answered. But the fact that he's in the orbit of possibly the most powerful woman on the planet just makes him more of an enigma.
Grace Marks is sympathetic and unnerving and ultimately inscrutable. And when she stares at the camera from her darkened jail cell, you'll look away first. With no clear picture of who she really is and what her truth is, she becomes unique to everyone who watches. This slow-burn tale of how Grace Marks became celebrated murderess still keeps me guessing.
What’s not to love about Steve Harrington? With the emotional maturity not to begrudge his girlfriend who wants to be with someone else, the compassion to befriend a young misfit and pass on advice and a hair-care regimen, and the all-around awesomeness to team up with a pack of middle-school kids to save the town from a supernatural invasion, Steve Harrington transformed from a two-dimensional cool-jock cliché to the MVP of the series.
What we really know about Whiterose is minimal, but her impact on the world of "Mr. Robot" is profound. She is powerful enough to have propelled Trump into office and taken out the financial infrastructure of the world as we know it. And although I’m not sure if the show is going to go metaphysical, I think her pet project might be to alter time and/or reality itself. If so, I kind of want to see her do it.