10 Side Characters Who Are Ready for Their Close-up - Raindance

One of the best things about watching a show you love is seeing the nuances that side characters have that often make them more interesting than the protagonist. While watching the shows below, I found myself fascinated with these characters who, while they didn’t get much screen time, turned out to be indelible. Here’s a list of 10 side characters who deserve their own show and why.

10 Supporting Characters I Would Watch in Their Own Show

1. Brienne of Tarth Game of Thrones

Brienne of Tarth needs no introduction. The first female knight of the Seven Kingdoms and Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, Brienne is a fierce, yet kind, noble warrior. Particularly in the last season of the series, Gwendoline Christie had the chance to turn Brienne from a mere side character into one that many fans found themselves rooting for, and did so brilliantly. 

As one IGN commenter said, I wouldn’t mind seeing an HBO spin-off documenting the adventures of Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister in Westeros, as long as Brienne is the main character and Jaime her annoying, yet oddly charming, sidekick. I’m positive I would be entertained for hours watching Ser Brienne show the world what she’s made of and possibly get revenge on everyone who has ever called her Brienne the Beauty.

2. Janet The Good Place

Janet is quite possibly the oddest character in The Good Place, and that says a lot considering this is a show about people in the afterlife. Throughout the course of the show’s 3 seasons, Janet proves that although she is technically AI, she is one of the most human and oftentimes relatable characters to grace our screens.

Never mind the fact that she knows everything and has amazing one-liners, she also shows us that she is capable of feeling love and sexual desire (granted, due to a glitch). Not to mention the special treat that is Bad Janet. Fun fact: Janet is the best without being a hypersexualized female robot. I would definitely watch a show in which she just bosses people around because she knows better.

3. Gina Linetti Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Speaking of characters who have killed one-liners, Gina Linetti has mastered that art better than anyone. Now that she’s no longer a recurring character in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, I think Gina is ready for her own show. She might be incredibly cruel bordering on sadistic at times, but behind that rough, snarky, sarcastic exterior is someone who cares deeply about the people she deems worthy of her love.

She stole the show in Brooklyn Nine-Nine so many times that we might as well call it The Gina Show, but that wouldn’t be enough for Miss Linetti. Half an hour a week of her proving people wrong in style and hanging out with her friends is something I would definitely watch.

4. Steve Harrington Stranger Things

Steve Harrington’s hair is not the only thing he has going on for him, although that alone seems to have conquered the fans. Steve’s evolution in Stranger Things seasons 2 and 3 is one of the most impressive in the entire show, up to the point in which he has become one of my favourite characters.

He retains his bad boy charm, all the while proving that he is capable of genuine friendship (Steve and Dustin’s bromance is absolutely adorable), of not taking himself too seriously all the time, and of handling rejection better than anyone could have (he continues being a friend to Robin after she confesses she doesn’t want a relationship with him because she likes girls.) Just give me 45 minutes a week of Steve Harrington being a mom for everyone and I’ll be happy.

5. Lionel Higgins Dear White People

Dear White People explores gay culture in a refreshing way through the lens of its main black queer character, Lionel. Now that I’ve just finished watching season 3, I want nothing more than to dive into a spin-off starring Lionel as a “baby gay,” as his friend D’Unte calls him, who has a lot to learn about gay culture and sexuality, trying to figure out how to be an outsider on the inside.

I found Lionel’s trajectory to be one of the most engrossing and nuanced in the entire show. He goes from repressing his sexuality to coming to terms with it and starting a relationship with another man, to then, after getting dumped, realising there’s a whole world out there that he has yet to discover. He is just the right amount of awkward, funny, endearing, and daring to be interesting to watch in a variety of situations.

6. Eric Effiong Sex Education

Another black queer character who definitely needs his own show is Sex Education’s Eric Effiong. As opposed to Lionel, he is out and proud from the very beginning, and that doesn’t sit well with everyone. Eric might be Otis’s sidekick but he steals the show on more than one occasion. From his fierce outfits to his on-point commentary, bubbly personality, relatable reactions, and incredibly big heart, Eric is the friend we all wish we had.

I won’t deny I cried like a baby when he got assaulted while going to see Hedwig and the Angry Inch in drag, and during the subsequent conversation with his father when the man shared he’s just scared for his son. The current pop culture landscape needs a character like Eric front-and-center to give queer people of colour more characters they can identify with, as well as teaching people outside of the community how they can be better allies.

7. April Ludgate Parks and Recreation

On a lighter note, Parks and Recreation’s April Ludgate was definitely the star of the show in my mind. While I loved seeing April be April on the regular, deadpan humour and all, what I loved even more was seeing her evolve, all the while holding on to her essence. She evolved immensely throughout the show without sacrificing who she really is, which made her all the more fascinating to watch.

A lot of the credit goes to Aubrey Plaza, the actress who portrayed her, who is a deadpan humour goddess and an actual variation of April in real life as well. That said, I would watch anything starring April as a main character, from a show about her life following the events of the final season to a buddy cop film starring Burt Macklin and Janet Snakehole.

8. Princess Carolyn BoJack Horseman

While I love following BoJack as the main character of this Netflix show, BoJack Horseman gave me enough meaningful scenes featuring Princess Carolyn for me to irreparably fall in love with her character and want to see more of her. Remember when she gave herself that pep talk? Or when she showed us that being strong does not mean you can’t ever show weakness? These are just two instances of Princess Carolyn being one of the most relatable female characters on TV.

We could use more of her wisdom and experience on our screens, as well as her failure and regrets. A show focusing on mental illness from her perspective would be incredible to watch, since we mostly get to see BoJack’s experience with it. As opposed to his, her mental struggles are more difficult to spot but equally important, and it is precisely these types of less visible mental illnesses that need more representation on television. 

9. Winston Schmidt New Girl

I know everyone wants to see a show starring Winston Bishop, but I would like to watch a New Girl spin-off following the other Winston — Winston Schmidt. From bitch slapping the guy who hurt the feelings of a girl you’ve just met to openly crying without caring who sees you, and rapping about your BFF, we could all learn a thing or two from Schmidt.

He had some of the most amazing lines and provided a large chunk of the comedy that made New Girl popular, and I think he could easily star in his own show. What would the show be about? Well, a neurotic, overbearing, and intense Jewish man who cares way too much (to the point where he can become weird), but without whom your life would lack flavour.

10. Kelly Kapoor The Office

Kelly Kapoor might not be everybody’s first choice when it comes to side characters who are ready for their own show, but I think she is highly underrated. Sure, she might have been self-absorbed, way too obsessed with Ryan, and more interested in fashion and gossip than doing her job, but she was also so much more than that.

She was actually really smart, confident, sassy, and outspoken, not to mention easy to relate to. Who here hasn’t questioned some of Glee’s plot choices or considered wearing white to a wedding? As the star of her own TV show, she would definitely make the audience laugh, cringe, and swoon, all in one short 25-minute episode.

Wrapping up

This is just a small number of side characters who deserve their own show, but they’re definitely some of the most memorable. And while the chances of them actually getting to star in their own show are slim, they are characters who viewers could learn from and identify with, and who could leave an even bigger mark than they’ve already did on the current television landscape if they were to be main characters.



Andreea Voicu is the Lead Editor of GeekForTheWin, an up-and-coming website dedicated to pop culture, comics, superheroes, fantasy, and everything geeky. She has an MA in American cultural studies, and her interests include studying representations of mental illness in popular culture, writing about fandoms in TV and movies, and spending time with her two cats.