Ensemble Cast


(permanent link) added: 2010-10-02 13:11:26 sponsor: Excelion (last reply: 2010-10-23 13:15:24)

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In short, this is when a show doesn't have a clear-cut protagonist or "most important" viewpoint character. Rather, it shares a cast of characters with (almost) equal screentime and importance to the plot. Rotating Protagonist is a subtrope of this.

  • Pulp Fiction, considering all the protagonists follow their own plot and their ways only cross at random.
  • Inglourious Basterds. Despite the Basterds being in the title of the movie, it puts the same focus onto them, Col. Landa and Shosanna Dreyfus.
  • Baccano!, in the same way Pulp Fiction does it. There's no main character here either.
  • Durarara!!, from the same creator as Baccano, may fit as well, although most people would say Celty is the protagonist and Mikado the deuteragonist.
  • Stargate Universe doesn't really have a single main character either. Dr. Rush is usually listed first among the cast, but this may have more to do with the fact that his actor is the biggest name among the cast. You could easily claim Young or even Eli is the main character.
  • The Westing Game doesn't have a clear main character. However, the not well-known movie adaption had Turtle as the main character.
  • Modern Family really doesn't have a main character, and focuses on all three branches of the family pretty much equally.
  • Homestuck, thanks to its extremely large cast and tendency to switch between their points of view very rapidly.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has something like twenty-five viewpoint characters, and switches between them every chapter. The upcoming TV series apparently mimics this structure by switching viewpoint characters for each episode.
  • Another example is The Sound and the Fury, which has four viewpoint characters that each get equal time, and Faulkner has said that the actual "hero" of the story is Caddy, who is not given a viewpoint at all.
  • LOST is a borderline case. There is an Ensemble Cast, but Jack has a more central position than the rest (as was finally made clear in the last season). Just not enough to call him the "protagonist".
  • Friends
  • Final Fantasy VI, though some members of the ensemble do get more screen time and Character Development than others.
  • Heartbeat originally focused on village bobby Nick Rowan, but as the cast changed and expanded, the show developed an Ensemble Cast.
  • TheSubspaceEmissary. Ultimately, the "star characters" are whoever you prefer to play as.
  • Honorable Hogwarts did this to the Harry Potter universe, giving Loads And Loads Of Characters roughly equal focus and Simultaneous Arcs.
  • Stephen King has a couple of books that could arguably fit this trope, chief among them It and The Stand.
  • Lonely Werewolf Girl and Curse of the Wolfgirl, while Kalix is the titular charcter, all the rest of the cast have equally important and almost seperate storylines. Especially noticeable in Curse where Thrix, and Malveria's story arc have no contact at all with Kalix's.
  • The movie Crash focused on several characters and the racial tensions between them.
  • Justice League
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was one of these. Unlike the other Trek series where the focus was firmly on The Captain, DS 9 gave pretty much equal airtime and weight to all its characters from Rom on upwards.
  • The Animorphs series features six characters who swap first person narrations between books. While you can argue that Jake is the central most character, there really is no true main character.
  • Casualty: has a regular turnover of cast and no fixed stars so everyone gets a storyline.
  • 'Allo 'Allo!: Started with the focus on Rene, but the comedy hijinks and the sheer number of Once An Episode catchphrases necessitated the whole cast share the limelight (this is quite common with UK sitcoms, Red Dwarf, Are You Being Served, Dads Army, Mongrels et al all have an Ensemble to spread the weight and storylines.
  • The first book of the Hyperion Cantos. All the pilgrims have equal importance.
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