17 Supporting Characters Who Outshone The Leads Of The Series And Became Fan Favorites

It’s clear that we currently live in a golden age of television. For the last few decades, we’ve been attracted by countless binge-worthy television shows on our small screens. Television has maintained a high level of quality for some time, and audiences have had loads of great shows in various genres such as comedy, drama, sci-fi, fantasy, and crime...
Many of these programs have given us memorable protagonists to root for and follow, but sometimes it's the supporting players who end up having the biggest influence and stealing the show. Although their story isn’t the main focus, and they might not get as much screen time, they’re the characters we tend to remember and talk about the most.
From indie films to the most popular TV shows, we've looked through everything to find the 17 best-supporting characters in popular TV shows that overshadowed the leads and stayed in our minds. Scroll down to see!

#1 Santana Lopez — Glee

Supporting Characters Source: © Glee / 20th Century Fox and co-producers

In the first season, Santana hardly said any words and mostly appeared in musical sequences. But in the second season, Naya Rivera's role saw more action and progressively rose to the position of a major character. And in the final season, she practically equaled Rachel Berry, who had been positioned as the main character, in importance. Despite Santana's sharp tongue and volatile temper, the audience was appreciative of the show's makers for portraying an LGBTQ+ character that had to cope with issues that many people in real life face.

#2 Grogu/Baby Yoda — The Mandalorian

Supporting Characters Source: © The Mandalorian / Lucasfilm and co-producers

Grogu gained a lot of attention when it first appeared in the first episode of Season One and became a cultural icon, the subject of several memes, and the face of marketing campaigns. This silent character shines even brighter than the main hero. And the series is named "The Mandalorian", but we bet many of you would like to call it "Baby Yoda" instead.

#3 Erica Sinclair — Stranger Things

Supporting Characters Source: © Stranger Things / Netflix and co-producers

Without Priah Ferguson (played Erica) being so well-liked by the public that the series creators opted to expand her character, Lucas' little sister would have had much less screen time. “That is the fun thing about the show — you discover stuff as you’re filming. We were able to integrate more of her in, but not as much as you want because the story was already going. ’We got to use more Erica’ — that was one of the first things we said in the writers’ room,” the Duffer Brothers said.

#4 Sheldon Cooper — The Big Bang Theory

Supporting Characters Source: © The Big Bang Theory / Warner Bros. Television and co-producers

By the time Johnny Galecki started filming "The Big Bang Theory" as Leonard, he had already had an extensive acting career: he had appeared to play in multiple TV shows in the 1990s as well as a few Hollywood movies. But in "The Big Bang Theory", Johnny Galecki isn't as popular as Jim Parsons, whose filmography included only a couple of prominent roles. Parsons' performance as the character Sheldon Cooper was so charismatic that he even eclipsed Leonard and got his own spin-off prequel, "Young Sheldon".

#5 Olenna Tyrell — Game of Thrones

Supporting Characters Source: © Game of Thrones / Home Box Office (HBO) and co-producers

In "Game of Thrones", there are many characters in this series who got more screen time than Olenna, but none of them was as striking as her. Thanks to her wit, cunning, and capacity to intimidate anyone with her words alone, Diana Rigg’s character became one of the most memorable of the show.

#6 Black Noir — The Boys

Supporting Characters Source: © The Boys / Sony Pictures Television and co-producers

This silent Batman parody still hasn't had enough screen time to compete with the main characters. However, he has undoubtedly been one of the show's funniest characters, and audiences love his story.

#7 Steve Harrington — Stranger Things

Supporting Characters Source: © Stranger Things / Netflix and co-producers

In "Stranger Things", the audience could see Steve's development from a handsome bully to one of the series' main characters. This was made possible by the character's logical growth, who afterwards underwent an emotional story arc of redemption.

#8 Negan — The Walking Dead

Supporting Characters Source: © The Walking Dead / American Movie Classics (AMC) and co-producers

It was predictable that audiences would fall in love with the charisma of Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who played Negan in "The Walking Dead". Since his first appearance, Negan struck a chord with viewers. Over time, he became a cultural phenomenon and fan-favorite villain whose adventures on screen raised no less interest than those of the protagonists.

#9 The Janitor — Scrubs

Supporting Characters Source: © Scrubs / Towers Productions and co-producers

Neil Flynn (who played the Janitor) often improvised his lines which made his comments even more unpredictable and funny. This was definitely one of the factors that led to the Janitor's popularity and eventually became the mascot of the series.

#10 Castiel — Supernatural

Supporting Characters Source: © Supernatural / Warner Bros. Television and co-producers

Misha Collins' character Castiel was originally scheduled to appear in only six episodes and passed away in the fourth season episode "Heaven and Hell". However, Castiel was so loved by the audience that he was promoted to the main cast in seasons 5 and 6..

#11 Adam Sackler — Girls

Supporting Characters Source: © Girls / Apatow Productions and co-producers

"Girls" is not only a great series but also helped Adam Driver reveal his talent to the world. He has now received two Oscar nominations. His character's prominence and screen time grew throughout the previous seasons. He was humorous, vivacious, and occasionally clumsy, and perhaps these characteristics helped him capture the audience's hearts.

#12 Saul Goodman — Breaking Bad

Supporting Characters Source: © Better Call Saul / Sony Pictures Television and co-producers

The criminal lawyer, who was loved by the audience, appeared in the second season of the show to assist the main characters in covering up their crimes. Later, he would keep making occasional appearances in the series and eventually develop into one of the most significant characters.

#13 Denise — Master Of None

Supporting Characters Source: © Master of None / Universal Television and co-producers

Aziz Ansari originally intended "Master Of None" to be a story about Dev, the character he played. But after two seasons, he decided to step down from the lead role and hand it to Denise, Dev's best friend. The plan went smoothly because the audience loved this supporting character, helping her establish herself as a new star of the series.

#14 Frank Castle — Daredevil

Supporting Characters Source: © The Punisher / Walt Disney Television and co-producers

Originally, Frank Castle was intended to only be a supporting character. But eventually, the showrunners concluded that he needed his own plot, which resulted in the development of the television series "The Punisher". And the series received positive reviews from audiences.

#15 Poussey Washington — Orange Is The New Black

Supporting Characters Source: © Orange Is The New Black / Lionsgate Television and co-producers

Piper was established as the main character of "Orange Is The New Black" in the first season. But over time, this character was overshadowed by other characters. Poussey Washington was among them. Poussey rapidly won over the fans' favor. And while her death angered a lot of fans, it also highlights some of the key themes and issues the series is dealing with when it comes to portraying life in prison.

#16 Stiles Stilinski — Teen Wolf

Source: © Teen Wolf / MGM Television and co-producers

Stiles was originally introduced in the first season as the comical companion of the protagonist, who brought humor to the situations but had little effect on the main storyline. However, things started to change in Season 3 as Dylan O'Brien's character's popularity grew. Stiles had his own narrative and gained greater significance to the plot. As a result, the comedian has evolved into a complex character going through his own pain. Additionally, towards the second half of Season 3, he briefly turned into an antagonist.

#17 Captain Hook — Once Upon a Time

Supporting Characters Source: © Once Upon a Time / ABC Signature and co-producers

It's difficult to imagine "Once Upon a Time" without Captain Hook. But according to Colin O’Donoghue, who played this role, he wasn’t supposed to stay in the series for long. “I came in on episode 4 of the second season and I just thought I was going to be a guest star for a couple of episodes and here I am still! It’s probably the eyeliner, to be honest. I think that’s the winning formula that’s kept me on the show,” the actor admitted.
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