The rankings have begun!
Just about a week left! To continue this year's TV rankings, I decided to rank my favorite characters of 2022. As I said in my best episodes of 2022, this year has been a fantastic year for TV, so this was a tough ranking. There were a bunch of great, complex characters that I fell in love with. But there are fifteen that stuck out more than others, so here are my top fifteen favorite TV characters of 2022.
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR
House of the Dragon
The Sandman Peacemaker
Steve Harrington (Stranger Things)
Obi-Wan Kenobi (Obi-Wan Kenobi)
White Dragon (Peacemaker)
Enid Sinclair (Wednesday)
Aemond Targaryen (House of the Dragon)
15. Chozen Toguchi (Cobra Kai)
At the end of season four, we were promised that Chozen would return to help Daniel fight Terry Silver and take down Cobra Kai. And he does not disappoint. He’s such a funny character while also having the great, Miyagi spirit that Cobra Kai hasn’t really had. He will do ridiculous things, but he also stays loyal to Daniel and has a set of morals and beliefs that he abides by. He’s also a very skilled fighter, so he gets some awesome moments of action throughout. I loved his usage in this season, and I hope we get more of him in the future.
14. Seth Milchick (Severance)
Harmony Cobel, the main villain of Severance, wasn’t great. She’s made up for by Seth Milchick, our secondary antagonist, who is fantastic. Tramell Tillman gives one of the best performances of the year as this ultra-smiley, super nice assistant who will turn into a terrifying sociopath in an instant. He is clearly a product of Lumen and can be very creepy at times with how quickly he switches from smiley to evil. He added to the tension of this show because every action he made was so unpredictable. I absolutely loved him and cannot wait to see what they do with him in the second season.
13. Mark Scout (Severance)
Severance was a very cool show that benefitted from a very cool concept. Mark Scout, our main protagonist, is essentially two different characters. We see his work self, who is optimistic and loyal to Lumen Industries, but still has a ping of sadness and depression that his regular self is dealing with. This tension is played with all throughout the show, and it finally pays off in the finale when Mark’s work self experiences the life of his outside self. He’s a very cool character and a great hero for Severance.
12. Tory Nichols (Cobra Kai)
Tory started off in seasons two and three as a weaker character. Season four gave us a better perspective with making her sympathetic. Season five expands that lens and shows us her inner struggle with the teachings of Cobra Kai and with Terry Silver’s antics. She gets a great redemptive story where she finally turns on Silver and teams up with Sam and Robby and the rest of Miyagi-Do. This doesn’t make her a hero, though, because her true loyalty still lies with John Kreese. That makes for a very interesting character that could go to some awesome places in the future.
11. Moon Knight (Moon Knight)
Marc Spector (or Steven Grant) was one of the best new additions to the MCU in 2022. He starts off as this mysterious symbol of vigilante justice with a split personality. We understand both Marc and Steven’s perspectives on the superhero life. It makes for a fun character backed by a great performance from Oscar Isaac. What solidifies him as one of the best characters of the year is his devastating, dark backstory. Marc’s brother dies and his mother blames him for it, so she becomes abusive. This trauma causes Marc to create Steven. It’s incredibly sad, but also incredibly compelling. I cannot wait to see more of Moon Knight in the future.
10. Eddie Munson (Stranger Things)
The newest character in Stranger Things, Eddie was a fantastic addition to season four. Joseph Quinn plays an incredibly fun, sarcastic, likable character that gets wrapped up in the mess of the Upside Down. They did a great job of introducing him as an outsider and showing his personality, so it’s understandable when the town blames him for all the death that Vecna is causing. Throughout the show, he’s running away from everything: the town, his uncle, the Upside Down, his friends. All of this leads to his final sacrifice where he stops running to save a town that hates him and doesn’t believe in him. It’s topped off by Dustin giving Eddie’s uncle clarity and telling him that Eddie was a hero. He’s a tragic character, and absolutely one of the best things about Stranger Things 4.
9. The Corinthian (The Sandman)
I didn’t love The Sandman, but the Corinthian was an awesome villain. Boyd Holbrook is pure nightmare fuel as Neil Gaiman’s horrifying creation. He’s charming and fun until he takes off his sunglasses to reveal teeth intead of eye sockets and gouges your eyes out. The concept of that character is scary as hell on paper and even more terrifying in execution. There were times where the show got a bit cheesy, but the Corinthian never stop being terrifying.
8. Peacemaker (Peacemaker)
After The Suicide Squad, a huge question begged everyone’s mind: How the hell are you supposed to make a show about Peacemaker? He’s the worst! Well, James Gunn did it. From the first episode, you understand why he is the way that he is. His horrible, horrible father has neglected him, and he just wants his approval. The tragedy continues as you learn about his brother and the rest of his childhood. It adds so many layers and so much depth to a character that was pretty one-note in The Suicide Squad.
7. Dream (The Sandman)
Once again, I didn’t love The Sandman, but the titular character was fantastic. Tom Sturridge gives a dreamy (for lack of a better word) performance as the sandman himself. Dream isn’t in as much of the show as you might think, but his philosophies and worldview always make for interesting situations. He doesn’t necessarily have a character arc, but the different layers and nuances they present within his character make him extremely interesting and one of the best characters of the year.
6. Alicent Hightower (House of the Dragon)
House of the Dragon was an ensemble show, and one of the most impressive things was its ability to balance all of these different characters. They are all nuanced and complicated. They all have flaws. But perhaps the most complex and layered of all of these characters was Queen Alicent Hightower. She starts off as a supporting character but slowly gains traction throughout the season. She’s constantly put in these moral dilemmas where she makes extremely difficult choices. Sometimes it feels like she’s the villain. Sometimes it feels like she isn’t. I’ve never felt so conflicted about whether a character was a protagonist or an antagonist, and that was awesome.
5. Wednesday Addams (Wednesday)
Wednesday was a good show. The main reason it was a good show was because of its titular character. Not only does she manage to be the most entertaining character in the show, but Wednesday manages to have an emotionally resonant arc. They give her a clear personality that makes you understand what she will and won’t do. And they never stray from that. Every choice she makes feels reasonable within her character. But they also give her space to change and grow while still making sure she feels like Wednesday Addams. A great character becomes an amazing character with Jenna Ortega’s perfect performance. Absolutely the highlight of the show.
4. Terry Silver (Cobra Kai)
Since they announced his return in season four, I was excited to see Terry Silver in Cobra Kai. And when season four rolled along, I was not disappointed. He was one of the characters I was most excited to see continue into season five. And he is just fantastic. One of the things that makes Kreese a great villain are his limits. He’s crazy, but there’s a line that he won’t cross. That’s not the case with Silver. Silver is nuts. He’s ambitious, and when you combine that with pure insanity, that can be really, really scary. He is extremely powerful, which makes him even more intimidating. I love it when shows have incredibly menacing villains. And Terry Silver is an incredibly menacing villain.
3. Johnny Lawrence (Cobra Kai)
One of the coolest things about season five of Cobra Kai was the reversal of Daniel and Johnny’s roles. Johnny becomes a father. Robby needs his help after screwing up with Cobra Kai, and Johnny decides to be there for him. This allows him to be more of a father for Miguel as well. It puts him in this place where he’s wanted to be throughout the entire show. He has two sons. He has a girlfriend. He’s happy. And he’s ready to leave Cobra Kai behind. But when Daniel is in trouble and Silver begins to threaten the valley, Johnny helps him out, which is just such a beautiful, full circle arc for him. I don’t know where they’re taking him in further seasons, but I hope they continue to make him the best part of Cobra Kai.
2. Max Mayfield (Stranger Things)
I always enjoyed Max. I thought she was a good character. I enjoyed Sadie Sink. But she never really connected with me the way that most of the Stranger Things characters do…until this season. Season four takes a deep dive into Max and her trauma. She is taking Billy’s death hard, and it alienates her from her friends, meaning she’s vulnerable for Vecna. She has this fantastic character transformation throughout as she goes through the stages of grief and acceptance. It all culminates in a devastating finale where she is nearly killed by Vecna, and we still aren’t sure if she’s alive. Easily the most improved character of 2022. And easily one of my favorites.
1. Vecna (Stranger Things)
One of the many things Stranger Things is great at is crafting extremely interesting, complex, and cool characters, but they haven’t really done that with the villains. Yes, the Demogorgon and Mind Flayer were cool monsters, but they didn’t really feel like characters. Well, now we have a legitimate villain character, and he is amazing. Vecna is a combination of Freddy Krueger, Pinhead, and Pennywise. And he is scarier than all three of them. He kills our characters in brutal, violent fashion that is not for the faint of heart. If you dig below the surface of this character, you get multiple layers of backstory and connections to Eleven and the Upside Down that just make him all the more interesting and all the more terrifying. He is a perfect big bad for Stranger Things, and I cannot wait to see what they do with him in season five.