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They don't always take the lead on TV, but the fans love them anyway.


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  • The 100:
    • Monty, though billed as a main character, has gotten the least amount of attention out of everyone in the main cast, and the fans love him for his Nice Guy tendencies in a Crapsack World.
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    • Miller is another one, who started off just as one of Bellamy's henchmen in the first season and slowly grew in importance. His When He Smiles moments play a role.
  • 24:
    • Chloe O'Brien. Especially interesting as she was hated by the fandom until she started becoming awesome halfway through season three.
    • Apart from Jack Bauer (who's the main character anyway), the only other character to appear in the first seven seasons of 24 is Aaron Pierce, whose actor (Glenn Morshower) was listed as a "guest star" rather than a member of the main cast in the 49 episodes he appeared in. He is also probably one of the few characters who can rival Jack in terms of badass. (It's also worth noting that despite not appearing in the final season, he was not killed off.)
    • Tony Almeida, who was pretty much Jack's antagonist in season one. Then he is the one to receive information that Jack's wife Teri is suffering from amnesia and is in trouble, and they milk the situation making the audience worry that Tony is the infiltrator at CTU and will let Teri die. He then shows up at the Bauer residence and shoots a man about to kill Teri, earning both the audience's love and Jack's trust. Since then Tony has been one of the most beloved characters on the show.
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    • Renee Walker has become one. Originally introduced in season seven as a foil and Morality Pet for Jack, she's gone on to become a bona fide badass Knight in Sour Armor, and one of the few people on the show capable of out Jack Bauering Jack Bauer. It's little wonder her nickname in fan circles is "Jill Bauer".
    • Curtis, aka "Black Bauer." So naturally, he died a rather sudden and pointless death, which caused a lot of bitterness towards the writers.
    • Mandy, who only appeared in 7 episodes in the series (split between Seasons 1, 2, and 4), yet made an indelible impression as a Dark Action Girl who always knew how to get away scot-free.
    • Good old Bill Buchanan. A Reasonable Authority Figure who trusted Jack's judgment (even if he disagreed with his methods) and had the clout to help Jack out when the situation called for it. Easily the most competent CTU Director the show ever had.
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    • Belcheck from Day 9 appeared in most of the season but didn't have a lot of screentime. What little he did though showed that he was as much of a badass as Jack was, and the fact that he's one of the rare characters late in the series to show 100% loyalty to Jack quickly earned him a lot of popularity.
  • 30 Rock:
    • Kenneth, who becomes more and more prominent in each season.
    • Jack Donaghy as he was originally supposed to be a minor character, but is one of the leads along with Tina Fey.
  • In Alphas Gary Bell, the high-functioning autistic member of the group, is by far the most popular character in the series. Amongst the many reasons he's so beloved is his cool power, his snarky attitude, and the fact that he almost always has the best and funniest lines on just about every episode.
  • Andromeda: Gaheris Rhade was killed off in the first episode. Then, he appeared in a few flashbacks... In the end, his Identical Grandson joined the crew, and it was revealed that Sufficiently Advanced Aliens had intended him to be the main character at first.
  • Angel:
    • Skip, the affable demon guard of a prison dimension, was supposed to be just a one shot character; he was later brought back for a few episodes with a key role in Cordelia's arc.
    • Doyle was also only in nine episodes before his heroic death and yet is one of the series's more beloved characters.
    • Lorne had a habit of stealing scenes before finally becoming a main cast member midway through Season 4.
  • Arrested Development:
    • GOB is clearly meant to be the least likable of the Bluth siblings and receives the least individual focus for the first three seasons, but his status as The Un-Favourite snagged him a lot of fan sympathy early on - something that the creators seem a little more aware of, as of Season 4. (Being played by Will Arnett probably helps, too.) GOB's puppet Franklin also counts, possibly because he so unapologetically Crosses the Line Twice every time he appears, and the writers can't seem to resist bringing him back.
    • Tobias was originally meant to be a supporting character, but the hilarious performance by David Cross got him a Promotion to Opening Titles before the show even started. He's still absent for a few episodes early on in Season 1, but becomes a full-fledged lead very quickly and is probably one of the most, if not the most, memorable character on the show.
  • As the World Turns: Doctor Reid Oliver as played by Eric Sheffer Stevens. A Straight Gay Dr. Jerk who had a strong Slap-Slap-Kiss relationship with Luke before they officially became a couple. His Genre Savvy nature and tendency to hang lampshades makes him an Only Sane Man. The fact he does actually care deeply for the welfare of his patients, pets the dog whenever Katie's involved, and has a relatively functional, caring relationship with Luke puts him in Jerk with a Heart of Gold territory.
  • Battle Star Galactica 1978:
    • While Apollo was obviously intended to be the leading man, Starbuck won audiences over very quickly with his roguish charm and sharp wit (in a style not too different from that of Han Solo).
    • Baltar's Cylon henchman Lucifer quickly grew a large fan following with the expert use of his ascorbic tongue.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003):
    • Ron Moore and crew famously intended to leave Helo stranded on post-nuked Caprica after the miniseries, but were besieged by viewers wanting to know how he was going to survive: ironically, his rescue has led to several major plot points. The show also features a strong and relatively unchanging core cast, many minor members of which have become popular in fandom.
    • Cally. An extra in the loading bay, she got picked for a violent death after several scenes in the background. She was supposed to be raped then killed. Instead she bit off the attacker's ear and got promoted in status. Eventually she marries a main character.
    • Anders grew from a romantic foil for the Lee/Kara ship to a main character. He gets to be part of Galactica's final send-off and even appears on the Season 4.5 DVD boxset.
    • There's Racetrack, who was meant to be a one-episode bit part replacement for Boomer's co-pilot Crashdown who was kept on as a recurring character simply because the producers liked the actor who played her.
    • Seelix, who's something of a "Manufactured Darkhorse" by none other than Aaron Douglas, aka Chief Tyrol. Her character was literally credited as "Technician #2" in her debut episode, but Douglas began calling her Seelix during takes, which she was eventually credited as. As the show went on, she got a first name, and became a Viper pilot—all because Aaron Douglas is a badass actor.
  • Bionic Woman: Katee Sackoff's character Sarah Corvus, the main character Jamie's predecessor in getting bionic implants, ran so many rings around the supposed lead that many people watched the show for her alone.
  • Blake's 7: Avon, the snarktastic, outwardly amoral, leather-wearing computer geek, becomes the lead in series 3 and 4. Also, Vila; probably intended to be the most minor of the original Seven, he became the only character to be in every single episode.
  • Boardwalk Empire:
    • Richard Harrow sports the killer trope combo of Iron Woobie and Handicapped Badass, causing him to instantly become one of its most popular characters after his relatively late entrance into season one. As of season two, he got a Promotion to Opening Titles.
    • Chalky White, played by the same actor as Omar Little on The Wire. Michael K. Williams has such a small, but memorable part in the pilot that fans latched onto him. He's back as a regular for season two, as well as getting a few episodes in the spotlight. By season 4 he's practically the show's second lead.
  • Boohbah (of all shows): Jumbah, the blue Boohbah, is easily the most popular out of all the Boohbahs, likely due to him having the most personality out of them all.
  • Boy Meets World:
    • Eric Matthews started off as a stereotypical older brother but received large character development became a Cloudcuckoolander Book Dumb Wiseman by the midseason on forth and is the most popular of the series.
  • Breaking Bad:
    • Tuco, for being so terrifyingly insane and hammy it loops back around to entertainingly awesome. His return in Better Call Saul was met with open arms.
    • The Cousins, both for their intimidating presence, professionalism, and stone-cold badassery in most, if not all of their scenes.
    • Badger and Skinny Pete, no doubt due to their comical nature. Their scenes in El Camino have only increased their popularity.
    • Huell, Saul's ineffectual, pointy-headed bodyguard, especially when he's paired with Kuby.
    • Gomez, for his unwavering loyalty to Hank as well as their Vitriolic Best Buds partnership.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Jonathan began as a Spear Carrier in season 2, became a Monster of the Week ("Superstar") in season 4 and then a Big Bad in season 6, and had a tragic and pivotal death in season 7.
    • Wesley Wyndam-Pryce first appeared as Faith's Watcher and was intended to be killed off shortly after. In the words of actor Alexis Denisof, Wesley was supposed to "come in, irritate Giles and Buffy for a couple shows, and then be gloriously terminated". However, the writers grew fond of him and kept him around. When Joss Whedon added Wesley to the main cast of Angel, he quickly became a fan favorite.
    • Faith was originally supposed to be there for five episodes but managed to be such a fan favourite that she lasted right until the end. She would have even gotten her own show if Eliza Dushku hadn't declined in order to work on Tru Calling.
    • Harmony was one of Cordelia's dumb, snobby friends in the first season, was turned into a vampire for season four, and eventually became a regular on Angel.
    • Amilyn is arguably most popular character of the film, due to his death scene.
  • Burn Notice: Madeline, Michael Westen's mother, in more ways than one. She started off as a thorn in Michael's side, and an annoyance to viewers; however, only a few episodes in, she started looking tougher than most of the bad guys. Since then, she's befriended every regular on the show, done her fair share of espionage, reconciled Jesse and Michael after their falling out, and been the only one other than Fiona whose threats Michael seems to actually fear. So of course, she's earned herself a following among watchers that's roughly proportionate to the respect she's earned from the characters.
  • Castle: Lanie Parish is becoming this. She can most definitely hold her own against Castle and Beckett, and seems to get some of the best lines in an episode that aren't uttered by the two leads.
  • Casualty: A blonde nurse, only ever referred to as "Cath" or "Kath", seems to be popular with the fans, yet never really gets any storylines (not even a minor one). She's not a One-Shot Character or a Ghost Extra by any means, but she rarely speaks. But, amazingly, she is never credited on-screen. She is blonde and appears mostly in scenes where Zoe, Ruth, Jay and/or Nick Jordan are present.
  • The Genre Anthology seres Channel Zero usually has at least one truly popular character each season:
    • Candle Cove: The Tooth Child, who's practically the Mascot Villain for the entire series.
    • No-End House: Dylan. Many found him to be more interesting than Margot and nearly everyone was saddened when he was killed before he and his wife could escape the House.
    • Butcher's Block:
      • Louise, being eccentrically entertaining, proving to be quite caring to the Woods sisters, Luke, and Izzy, and badass when needed to be.
      • Edie Peach, the Token Good Teammate of the Peach family, due to being seemingly genuinely polite and entertaining (and at times creepy).
      • The Meat Servant, for his interesting design and endearing personality and mannerisms.
  • Charmed: D'Eartha (the seer) was only on for ten episodes and yet nearly everyone loved her. Mostly because she was always snarky, awesome and deliciously evil but partly because she had more chemistry with Cole AND the sisters than any of the proper pairings were supposed to have.
  • Chicago Fire: Jeff Clarke from season 2 proved to be so popular with fans that he got his episode count doubled, not to mention more character development than some of the original cast. Most of the credit for this can be given to his actor, Jeff Hephner, and Hephner's genuinely captivating performance. Quite a number of fans were extremely disappointed when the character was written out after getting his Lieutenant's badge and transferring houses, though that does leave the door open for a return every so often.
  • Chuck:
    • Kristin Kreuk (known best for her role as Lana in Smallville) makes a brief guest appearance as "Hannah" in Series 3 as a potential romantic interest for the main character, altering the dynamic of his will-they/won't-they relationship with Sarah Walker They do.. Her characterization ended up as being a much more likable, well-rounded, and interesting person than Sarah but Chuck still dumps Hannah. It wasn't that she was more well rounded than Sarah, who was a well rounded character in her own right. It's more that she was cute and funny and had some chemistry with Chuck. However seeing as the majority of the shows fans are Sarah/Chuck fans, and the series up until that point had built up the relationship between them, the switch would not have gone down well.
    • Those two creepy guys Jeff and Lester and their "band", JEFFSTER!
    • Ellie's boyfriend Devon was originally going to be a spy, but his character was too popular so they kept him as the lovable Captain Awesome. Though they kind of got to have their cake and eat it too, as he's still the first major civilian character to learn about Chuck being a spy, and gets to help him quite a few times.
  • Community:
    • Several side characters are extremely popular among fans, most notably Magnitude ("POP POP!"), Star-Burns (his name is Alex), and Garrett, The Comically Serious Large Ham ("CRISIS ALERT!").
    • Drama Professor Sean Garrity, due to Kevin Corrigan's incredibly over-the-top portrayal.
    • Rachel, the coat check girl played by Brie Larson, from "Herstory of Dance" is widely considered one of the best parts of Season 4, by Dan Harmon himself and much of the fanbase.
    • Koogler, the Manchild Frat Bro played by Mitch Hurwitz in "App Development and Condiments".
    • Custodian Lapari, largely in part due to him being played by the hilarious Kumail Nanjiani and being a surprising invocation of Evil Is Cool in "Modern Espionage".
  • Criminal Minds:
    • Ask around a fan community who its frequenters' favorite UnSubs are and Tobias Hankel's name is bound to come up quite a bit. It doesn't hurt that he's sympathetic and from a Reid-centric episode.
    • Austin from 52 Pickup is liked by those who wish she'd been a recurring love interest for Reid. As well as the fact that she saved a potential victim from the UnSub based on the profile Reid gave her and her own observational skills (albeit at the cost of becoming his new one).
  • CSI: NY: Adam Ross became an Ensemble Darkhorse and he got elevated to series regular in this spinoff.
  • Dark Angel: Alec was very popular with fans, particularly female ones, who often watched more for Alec character development than for the Familiars vs. Transgenics storyline. Alec's appearance on the show was determined by the popularity of his genetic twin, Ben. Despite being mentally unstable and homicidal, he gained a lot of popularity in the one episode he appeared in. Since he is killed at the end of said episode, the writers decided to bring the actor back as Ben's (equally charming, slightly less unstable) twin, Alec.
  • Designated Survivor:
    • Aaron Shore gets a bit of this, for being The Cynic and Only Sane Man.
    • Kimble Hookstraten for being a level headed Republican Speaker, when she could have easily been a Jerkass like many in the House, the Senate, and state-level leadership. It's a shame that she didn't come back for the second season.
    • Abe Leonard, while sleazy, is fairly popular for being a more three-dimensional Intrepid Reporter than any of the media personalities before him.
  • Desperate Housewives: Has Karen McCluskey (a recurring character) and Orson Hodge (who was supposed to be only a special guest star in season 2). The audience's appreciation was so great that both received a Promotion to Opening Titles (until Orson left Bree in the season 6 finale). Karen's Darkhorse status was acknowledged by the writers on the finale when, dying of cancer, she took the heat for the murder thus saving the four main characters, then died shortly after. Made all the more badass by knowing that the actress playing her was actually dying of cancer at the time.
  • Dollhouse: Bennett, even though she only appeared for three episodes. Well, she is played by Summer Glau, duh!
  • Elementary:
    • Alfredo Llamosa and Clyde the tortoise enjoy a great deal of popularity relative to screen time.
    • Despite only appearing in a few episodes in the early seasons, Ms Hudson is extremely popular among fans due to being a very positive and respectful portrayal of a transgender character in a mainstream show and one who is played by a transgender actress as well.
  • Frasier: Kenny Daly. After an endless series of managers who are introduced with an episode devoted to how the station (and Frasier in particular) deals with this new personality running things, show up in a few episodes more, and then leave...Kenny shows up—and charmed viewers enough so that he stayed for the rest of the show.
  • Friends:
    • Both Phoebe's love interests, Mike and David, are well liked, especially Mike.
    • Jack Geller is popular too. His wife not so much...
    • Janice is this. Although, being hilarious and annoying at the same time, she's also a Base-Breaking Character.
    • Richard, for being one of the most decent and likable love interests. Like Janice though, he can fall into the Base-Breaking Character territory, since some people see him as The Scrappy.
    • Kathy was this, at least until the writers broke her and Chandler up. The cast actually liked Paget Brewster enough that they wanted her to stay.
  • Glee really seems to have more of a Darkhorse Ensemble than an Ensemble Dark Horse.
    • Artie gets a lot of fan love relative to his screentime.
    • Mike Chang, who's only had a handful of lines, but is probably one of the best dancers on the show along with Brittany, and thus has a very large fanbase.
    • Sandy, the Camp Gay ex-glee coach.
    • Kurt's dad Burt.
    • Blaine. His first musical number sold more copies on iTunes than any other song ever performed on Glee, and to this point he's had more solos than many of the main characters due to his popularity. He's played by Darren Criss, who had his own large fandom before he even joined Glee.
    • Dave Karofsky, along with the actor who plays him, Max Adler, is incredibly popular particularly among gay male fans. There is a fan campaign going around that wants Karofsky to sing on the show, as well.
    • Coach Shannon Bieste, the only character on the show whom the vast majority of the fanbase unabashedly loves. Even those who hate literally everything else about it love Shannon.
  • The Good Place: Trevor had only appeared in a couple episodes on the show's first season but rapidly became one of the series' most popular characters due to his actor fully embracing the character's Card-Carrying Villain nature and delivering a gloriously obnoxious performance.
  • The Good Wife: There were a few one-shot characters who proved popular enough to keep bringing back again and again - Elsbeth Tascioni most of all.
  • The Great British Bake Off: Liam from Season 8. He was a happy-go-lucky guy who, at 19, was the youngest baker of the season. His charming personality, overwhelming kindness, and noted ability to making great flavor combinations, made everyone fall in love with him. Everyone was happy we he got "Star Baker", but also a massive wave of sadness hit the fanbase when he was eliminated.
  • Grey's Anatomy: Bokhee, a scrub nurse, is oddly popular with fans for a background character with almost zero lines. It helps that she has the eight-highest episode count of the entire cast and is played by an IRL nurse Sandra Oh (Cristina Yang) outright called "my second mom"
  • Grimm:
    • Bud, the Adorkable Wesen repairman.
    • Sebastien, Renard's confidant. He's even got his own fan club - Team Silly Squirrel! (And they've nicknamed him Chirpy - it was originally "Renard's Canary", but "devolved".) They even pulled a "If Sebastien dies, we riot!" movement on Twitter and Tumblr. Sadly, Sebastien died anyways.
    • Meisner, owing to the fact that Damien Puckler is dead sexy and a total badass. One (female) reviewer has taken to calling him "Tall, Dark and Dreamy".
  • Heroes:
    • Ando, Hiro's best friend, is well-liked for his blase personality that balances out Hiro's excited one.
    • D.L., a badass whose main concerns are his son and wife. He makes it very clear that he doesn't wish to abandon Niki, but acknowledges that she's dangerous for their son.
    • The Bennet family's son Lyle (who doesn't do much, but shows proper concern for his sister's wellbeing) and adorable dog Mr. Muggles also qualify, and the latter became an in-fandom Memetic Mutation.
    • For that matter, what about Hiro himself? He was added as an afterthought when the creator's wife pointed out that no character created so far actually liked having powers, besides possibly Peter and D.L., and it's partly this very love of being superpowered that has made him easily one of the most (if not the most) popular characters.
    • Claude Rains, Peter's grouchy invisible mentor. Being played by Christopher Eccleston helps.
    • Of the Season 4 additions, Emma is considered the most liked by the fans, given her storyline of coming to terms with her ability and chemistry with Peter.
    • Sparrow Redhouse. Before she became a major part of the Graphic Novels Rebel story arc she'd only had one brief appearance yet she was still a character fans wanted to see more of.
      • From the graphic novels, there's Brain Uploading Badass Israeli Hana Gitelman and mismatched mother-daughter Company partners Connie and Penny Logan (a appearance-shifting Narcissist whose powers only work on other people and a Badass Normal with a chip on her shoulder).
  • Highlander: Methos. He was originally supposed to die at the end of the third season, but he stayed alive for the whole series and the two movies that came afterwards because he was a terribly popular character. So popular, in fact, that some fans regularly remind others that Duncan McLeod is supposed to be the hero of the series (people tend to forget that).
  • Holby City: This Spin-Off of Casualty has an Ascended Extra who is occasionally used in storylines and is more than a Living Prop or Ghost Extra. The show has a ginger-haired nurse called Marie-Claire, who speaks with an Irish accent, making an appearance. Her accent is genuine Northern Irish, and no Oireland stereotypes are used here.
  • Horatio Hornblower adaptations: There are several fan favorite minor characters, and some fans prefer them even over the main man Horatio.
    • His Lordship Major Edrington appeared only in one of eight installments but became very memorable and fans' particular favorite. His cool is beyond awesome and his Gentleman Snarker character shines very brightly, even though the series is the World of Snark. He's very popular in fan fics.
    • The Duchess from "The Duchess and the Devil". She's an older lady, but vivacious, spirited, cheeky, clever, charming and immensely hot, capable of taking care of herself and able to fool the Spanish by hiding Horatio's super important dispatches. It doesn't happen a lot that a hero of Wooden Ships and Iron Men adventure gets paired with such an interesting and well-developed woman counterpart. Most fans absolutely adore her, though she has also been called "annoying cargo".
  • House of Anubis:
    • Jason Winkler, by a lot. Despite being a teacher and one of the antagonists, when he didn't come back after Season 1, many fans were begging and waiting for his return, probably making him one of the most loved characters in the show. This might have something to do with his implied Teacher/Student Romance with Patricia, and his sympathetic motivation for evil (needing immortality due to a degenerative illness).
    • Fans are fond of Jerome's little sister Poppy, and Patricia's twin, Piper, despite Poppy not appearing at all in Season 3 and Piper only getting a cameo.
    • While the rest of the new characters in The Movie are The Scrappy, Dexter was well liked by fans for being sympathetic, funny, and seemingly a mix of all the boys in personality traits.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Nora for being the most decent girl Barney has met, seeing through his tricks, and being British.
    • Brad is unsurprising in hindsight, considering how Joe Manganiello's career subsequently took off.
    • Although Quinn is disliked by Barney/Robin and Barney/Nora shippers, she does have her own fans who like her for her feistiness and the fact that she can match Barney when it comes to being cunning and manipulative.
    • Stan from "The Three Days Rule" is also somewhat popular, probably due to his sexy voice, recitation of Pablo Neruda, and being played by a pretty popular voice actor. One wonders how his date with Robin went...
    • Daphne, the Sassy Black Woman Marshall ends up hitching a ride with to get to the wedding in the ninth season.
    • Linus, the bartender giving Lily the Kennedy Package who has his own meme.
    • Despite the finale having mixed reactions, most people liked the old lady Ted sat next to at the train station who got excited about Ted meeting The Mother.
  • iCarly:
    • Wendy was a mostly semi-recurring Mr. Exposition character, who gained enough popularity to start being shipped with the main characters. Wendy was a victim of Chuck Cunningham Syndrome at the end of Season 2, roughly the same time Gibby started to be used more frequently.
    • In-Universe, Freddie is one. When they interact with their fans at Webicon, he is mobbed by girls. Carly and Sam don't get anywhere like that level of attention, and most of their attention is based around which of them should be dating Freddie.
  • Justified: Boyd Crowder. He was originally going to be a one off villain. Raylan shooting him was supposed to kill him. However, the showrunners fell in love with Boyd and the fatal shot was changed to "Near fatal" and Boyd is a show mainstay now.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider BLACK and Kamen Rider BLACK RX: Kotaro Minami, the main character for both series, is incredibly popular for the entire franchise. Somewhat justified, as he has the most appearances of any Rider in history by episode count alone.
    • Kamen Rider Ryuki: Takeshi Asakura/Kamen Rider Ouja remains a popular villain in the Rider franchise. Up until Kitaoka's return in Chou Super Hero Taisen, he's the only Ryuki Rider to reappear in future installments with the original actor reprising his role, whether it's voice only (Decade) or in person (Ex-Aid).
    • Kamen Rider Den-O: The DenLiner Imagin - Momotaros, Urataros, Kintaros, and Ryutaros - and Deneb were just the Non Human Sidekicks to the show's main heroes, but by the end of the year, their popularity had overtaken the show itself. Mostly the Taros'. This prompted several musical releases, a spinoff anime starring them, and three additional movies for the series (one of which is part of a larger series).
    • Kamen Rider Gaim: Kaito and Zack, the main members of team Baron: The former due to him being The Rival as well as his complex character, the latter due to being an overall Nice Guy on a team of a jerks. This lead to Kaito getting an extra form he wasn't supposed to get (Lemon Energy Arms), Zack getting his own Rider form at all (Kurumi Arms), and both getting their own special stories dedicated to them even after the series has ended.
    • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Kuroto Dan. The hammiest, funniest bastard in Ex-Aid with Heads I Win, Tails You Lose as M.O on the top. Also he is the Mad Scientist in franchise than basically runs on them. His expressions are Fountain of Memes and his god rants are legendary.
      • Taiga Hanaya and Kiriya Kujo. The first one for his Evil Is Cool attitude and backstory of Fallen Hero. The second one for being the Consummate Liar, having cool henshin pose, and woobish backstory.
  • Kindred: The Embraced: Mark Frankel's Julian Luna became this, after poor writing and acting resulted in lead character Frank Kohanek (C. Thomas Howell) becoming The Scrappy. Season 2 was going to make Julian Luna the lead and write out Kohanek; but Frankel's death in a motorcycle accident resulted in the show being cancelled after the first season, as no other characters were strong or popular enough to carry the show.
  • Kings:
    • Crown Prince Jack Benjamin. When your daddy's played by Ian McShane, and you're still stealing scenes, it's safe to say the fans are going to adore you. It helps that Sebastian Stan is fairly well known for his role on Gossip Girl and is really rather attractive.
    • In fandom, not only is Jack one of the most popular, but his stalker / secret boyfriend Joseph (who appeared in only two episodes) gets more attention than some of the main cast.
  • The Late Late Show: An almost literal example with Secretariat with Craig Ferguson. Initially just stock footage of some goofballs gadding about in a horse suit, the pantomime horse soon began to show up in the studio as a running gag and proved extremely popular with audiences, to the point where they've even had "Team Secretariat" T-shirts made and a whole sketch ("Secretariat in New York") was created around the character.
  • The League of Gentlemen: Papa Lazarou only appears four times over the entirety of the show's run (including The Movie), and yet he's probably the show's most discussed, quoted, and beloved character.
  • Leverage:
    • The show has Massachusetts State Police detective Patrick Bonanno. He made a few appearances in season 2, most importantly serving as the impetus for the events of the season 2 finale. The writers were really surprised at how happy viewers were to see him appear in "The Jailhouse Job," the season 3 premiere.
    • It could also be argued that Hardison's rival hacker "Chaos" is an ensemble darkhorse; he is the only one to re-appear from "The Two Live Crew Job" (as of s3), and the fans were glad to see him again. This is particularly ironic when considering that he is played by Wil Wheaton.
  • Lois & Clark: Back in the 90s, this show had a problem. Like many Superman shows, the hero suffered from a lack of competent foes. His biggest enemy, Lex Luthor, was written out of the show after actor John Shea opted not to return for the second season. What to do? Along came Tempus, time-traveling bad guy and one-shot villain. Played by obscure soap actor Lane Davies, Tempus' endlessly-quotable jibes and penchant for Leaning on the Fourth Wall proved so popular that he ended up returning each subsequent year.
  • Lost:
    • Rose and Bernard. They began as rather minor characters, with Rose being a blatant Magical Negro in season 1, but their popularity allowed them to have A Day in the Limelight, and Bernard is the only surviving member of the Tailies (Besides Cindy, who became a recurring minor Other).
    • Despite his placement on the far end of the Sliding Scale of Antagonist Vileness, Martin Keamy enjoyed a substantial following for his short guest appearance due to both Kevin Durand's fabulous performance and for being one of the few Lost villains to be out and out evil.
  • Daniel Faraday developed a huge following, despite limited screen-time.
  • Frank Lapidus started to become a fan favorite when he was reintroduced in season 5, and was cemented as an Ensemble Dark Horse in season 6.
  • One of the extras, Sexy Blue Striped Shirt Girl. Popular enough to warrant an interview with her actress.
  • Libby. And then she got shot by Michael without ever getting an episode focused on her.
  • Mad Men:
    • Miss Blankenship dies a few episodes after she is introduced but seems to have won a lot of fans for being a queen of one-liners Roger says that's not all that she was queen of. The cantankerous old woman can even put Bert Cooper in his place and totally get away with it.
    • Sally Draper has received much more screen time and character development then her brother Bobby.
    • Rachel Menken appeared for only the first season, but was a very effective and memorable foil for Don.
    • Sal was the most liked junior executive early on and a sympathetic portrayal of a gay man discovering his sexuality, and many discussions see fans wanting him back.
    • Faye Miller gets a lot of love from the fan base, with many being upset that Don chose Megan over her, even if they understand why he did.
    • Dawn and Shirley are this for a lot of fans. Being they're two best friends that serve as the Daria and Jane of the agency and are the only African-American staffers on the show. Dawn's Plucky Girl storylines and Shirley's sass and short skirts don't hurt either.
    • Trudy Campbell has always been popular with the fanbase, but her Moment of Awesome when she kicks Pete Campbell out with a rousing "The Reason You Suck" Speech pushed her into a bit of a twitter sensation.
    • Some have found Meredith (epitome of Dumb Blonde in this show) to become this following her assignment as Don's Secretary in Season 7. Her innocent naiveté complements Don's weariness quite well.
  • M*A*S*H: The is probably the original ensemble show, so it's unsurprising that this trope pops up there.
    • The cross-dressing Corporal Max Klinger was meant to be a one-time joke, but eventually became a regular. He was one of the only four characters to stay through the show's eleven seasons. The other three are Hawkeye, Maj. Houlihan, and Father Mulcahy, who were main characters from the scratch.
    • Sidney Freedman was almost meant for a one-shot appearance, but was brought back on several occasions.
    • Colonel Flagg was a very popular and memorable character despite appearing in only 7 episodes.
  • Merlin:
    • Sir Leon. Despite having only actually turned up to basically provide filler dialogue in 7 episodes over the course of season two and being universally feared to have been killed by dragon flames in the season 2 finale, he returned for season 3 due to the huge fan outrage at his death (screw continuity). After all, when you've married a troll and you need someone to be diplomatically silent about it, who do you call? Sir Leon!
    • Both Lancelot and Gwaine showed up in an episode, dominated all of their scenes and won the hearts of fangirls everywhere, and caused much rejoicing on their return.
  • Miami Vice: Castillo got a shocking amount of fanfic and fan attention back when the series was airing. Being played by Edward James Olmos certainly helped. Henry Jenkins, in the book Textual Poachers writes extensively at how strange it was that the frumpy-by-comparison Castillo captivated the fanbase.
  • The Mighty Boosh:
    • Old Gregg is one of their best known characters, and one of the most often imitated. He only has probably about a page's worth of dialogue, but more than a few fans of the show could recite the entirety of it.
    • The Hitcher, despite the fact he's a psychopath who would rape Howard behind the counter if he were female.
  • Mork & Mindy: Exidor. He started out as the leader of the cult "Friends Of Venus" (the other members of which were figments of his imagination) in the episode "Mork Runs Away". By the end of that episode it was clear the audience loved him almost as much as they loved Mork. He returned in the episode "Mork The Gullible" to rapturous applause, and after that he became a recurring character who was greeted by the audience with cheers throughout all four seasons. Interesting side note: His first two appearances concluded with him being disappointed with Mork for his lack of belief in Exidor's "religions". They eventually ended up as close friends (sometimes they seemed very close).
  • The Mole: The Dutch version has Ellie Lust from Season 16. She was a fan favourite because of her no-nonsense attitude and memorable one-liners which were referenced by everyone (even contestants and the host) in later seasons. She returned for an all-stars season and once again became a fan favourite.
  • Mr. Robot:
    • Leon, Elliot's laid-back friend from prison who likes to go on long, surprisingly insightful tangents about various 90's sitcoms and just so happens to be a skilled hitman and the right hand of the most powerful crime lord in the world. Surprisingly, his popularity continued even after he helped kill fan favorites Mobley and Trenton.
    • Irving, also a Dark Army fixer, for being such a big psychopath in his final scene of Season 3 that the scene nearly becomes hilarious rather than horrifying.
    • Gideon and Shayla also receive a lot of love from the fandom for being the one of only kind characters of the show and caring about Elliot's well being. People were heartbroken when they died.
  • The Muppet Show:
    • For a Muppet that only appears once in a blue moon, Crazy Harry is real popular with the fans.
    • Uncle Deadly. He didn't appear much (only in a few episodes, musical numbers and the "Muppet Melodrama" sketches), but he became somewhat popular, especially after his major role in the 2011 movie.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000:
    • From the worst movie came its most enduring guest character — Torgo, the stammering, swollen-kneed, scruffy-bearded, ratty-clothed, thoroughly creepy yet ineffectual henchman to The Master. Not only does he make numerous appearances and cameos in the host segments over the next couple seasons, he's even given an epic fate as he becomes Torgo the White.
    • Dablone, the only enjoyable character on MST3K subject Escape 2000.
    • The Aztec sidekick from Puma Man.
    • Professor Lembach, the granter of grants in The Projected Man, even though he's only in about two scenes.
    • Warrior of the Lost World: MEGAWEAPON!!
    • Who dares deny the beer-swilling badassery that is Rowsdower?!
  • Night Court:
  • Nikita: Among the supporting characters, Roan is surprisingly popular, given that he's a mostly wordless sociopath. The fact that he's Made of Iron and wears a Badass Longcoat probably helps.
  • The Noddy Shop:
    • The Ruby Reds have a good number of fans despite being minor characters compared to the other puppets (they only comment on the action in episodes and sing in several songs).
    • Lichtenstein (also known as Stein) is another minor puppet character who gets a lot of attention from the fandom.
    • Another fan-favorite minor toy is Angelina from "Part of the Family", to the point where her episode is one of the first results for The Noddy Shop on Google!
  • NUMB3RS: Oswald Kittner (Jay Baruchel), a fantasy baseball player from the season three episode "Hardball", was going to be a oneshot character before fan reaction caused the creators to bring him back in the episode "Democracy".
  • The Office (US): Unless he's having A Day in the Limelight, Creed Bratton often has only one line per episode, if not less. Doesn't stop him from completely stealing the show in the eyes of the fans whenever he says something.
  • Parks and Recreation:
    • Jean-Ralphio was so memorable after his initial appearance that he became a recurring character and even had other members of his family introduced.
    • Perd Hapley is also a popular supporting character that is very popular with the fanbase in regards to supporting characters.
    • Ken Hotate, Old Gus, Greg Pikitis, Orin, Harris and Brett (the animal control guys), Mel (the red-faced guy at town hall meetings), and the woman at town hall meetings (who made sun tea out of sprinkler water) are all also quite popular.
  • Peep Show:
    • Super Hans, Jeremy's techno nutter mate. He's a self centered fantasist but his often hilarious drug addiction and plain coolness have endeared him to many fans (He has a snake, for crying out loud).
    • Alan Johnson is another candidate. Originally a one-episode character, he became Mark's boss at JLB in the second series, and is one of the more widely-loved characters.
  • Popular: April Tuna. The sexually aggressive nerd was the weirdest and often best part of the show.
  • Power Rangers usually has one stand-out ranger per season, but there are some figures that stand out amongst the entire franchise.
    • Tommy Oliver from the original season is probably the most notable example. Starting as a character introduced halfway through the first season and using limited stock footage, Tommy's gone on to be the face of the series. Seasons will bend over backwards to include him if given the opportunity.
    • In terms of villains, the Psycho Rangers from In Space were popular enough to have a trope named after them. Out of them, Psycho Pink is actually fairly popular in her own right as she was the least fleshed-out in In Space but received an episode of her own in Lost Galaxy. Not to mention she's a Power Rangers villain that's actually killed a Ranger in battle.
    • Power Rangers Time Force is probably a standout season, and Jen Scotts is often brought up in the same breath as classic rangers for beloved characters. Usually she trumps even the original Kimberly when it comes to people's favourite Pinks.
    • Power Rangers Operation Overdrive is not one of the most fondly remembered seasons, though even haters really like the Hartford family's butler, Spencer. He serves as not only the Red Ranger's butler, a snarky one at that, but also gives the rangers some words of wisdom that help them whenever they feel down.
    • Power Rangers Samurai is held in even worse regard, but everyone appreciates the inclusion of Lauren Shiba. She's the first female Red Ranger who stays good through her run, and normally serves as the series' representative in franchise-wide events.
  • Project Runway: Tim Gunn. Many fans maintain that he is 80% of the reason for watching the show.
  • Psych: Jimmi Simpson became a fan favorite during his brief appearances as Inspector Mary Lightly.
  • Red Dwarf:
    • "Mr. Flibble" went from a character's insane delusion in one episode to interviewer on the official site.
    • Ace Rimmer. The ultimate Ace who crosses dimensions and saves universes. Seriously, what a guy!
    • Duane Dibly, Cat's dorky alter ego. His actor attributed his popularity to the lack of black nerd characters.
    • Talky Toaster. His constant asking if people want toast is practically memetic. On the official website, it's him who does the interviews with characters.
  • Remember WENN: CJ was originally just the guy in the booth. By Season 3 he got an least one line per episode and was shown to harbor an unrequited crush on Betty.
  • Revenge: Emily's ally Nolan pretty much has this in the bag.
  • Revolution:
    • Lets face it, Miles is the real protagonist.
    • For a villain, Neville is quite likeable. However, given how the character has devolved in a Smug Snake who Took a Level in Jerkass and gets humiliated a lot, "likeable" is a relative term.
  • Rhoda: Carlton the Doorman was considered such a miniscule off-screen character that an executive producer provided his voice. The character's popularity propelled that producer — Lorenzo Music — into a new career of numerous voice acing roles, including one particular fat cat.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch:
    • Sabrina has a rotating circle of best friend characters across the whole series. The favourite of the lot seems to be Valerie - from Seasons 2 and 3. Her entertaining neurosis provided a great contrast to Sabrina's more outgoing personality, and it helps that her debut marked the show's Growing the Beard.
    • Aunt Vesta, who only appeared in one episode. Played by Raquel Welch and being a Cool Aunt (as well as a Ms. Fanservice) - she featured a lot more in the novelizations due to her popularity.
    • Likewise is Aunt Irma from Seasons 6 and 7, also played by an icon of the Fantastic Comedy - Barbara Eden. Her Evil Matriarch status is Played for Laughs and she's given enough Pet the Dog moments to be likable. Had the show been renewed for an eighth season, she would have become a regular.
    • Tara Strong appeared in the two spin-off films Sabrina Goes to Rome and Sabrina Down Under as an Inept Mage called Gwen. Utterly Adorkable, many fans wished she could have been incorporated in the main series.
  • Schitt's Creek:
    • Jocelyn Schitt was written as the Straight Man and Foil character for Roland Schitt played by Chris Elliott and for Moira played by Catherine O'Hara. However, Jennifer Robertson's ability to hold her own in scenes with comic legends like Elliott, O'Hara and series co-creator Eugene Levy has led to the character getting more and more to do. In Season 4, she was given an unexpected late-in-life pregnancy storyline that was a part of multiple episodes, including one where Jocelyn bullies David into throwing her a baby shower and the season finale that has her giving birth.
    • Twyla Sands initially started out as one of the many quirky townspeople and something of a stock character, but she has gradually become a fan favorite because of Sarah Levy's spot-on delivery and chemistry with Annie Murphy who plays Alexis. Since she is a Real-Life Relative of the co-creators and stars (the sister of Daniel Levy and daughter of Eugene), she has a natural chemistry with the characters of David and Johnny as well.
    • Ronnie Lee, played by Karen Robinson, started out as a town councilor whose main job was to call out the Roses on their BS. She was always popular, but Robinson pulled off a minor miracle by making her character more popular after she becomes the Sitcom Arch-Nemesis of beloved and incredibly likable Patrick. The chemistry between Robinson and Noah Reid, who always made Patrick so befuddled by her dislike, made both characters more lovable.
    • Bob Currie, a minor character played by Eugene Levy's SCTV castmate John Hemphill, has become known for his often short but bonkers interactions with the main cast and his highly specific shuffle.
  • Scrubs:
    • Hooch is the most popular side-character. At first, he was just a background surgeon used to punctuate a joke about J.D. assuming "Hooch" was the name of a black guy in "Turner & Hooch" (for the record, it's the name of the dog in the Tom Hanks movie Turner & Hooch). Towards the end of that episode, as he got more annoyed at people calling him "Hooch", he started displaying a charmingly Ax-Crazy personality as he yelled at them to stop, prompting characters to say the sort-of Catchphrase "Hooch is crazy!" Thanks to this, he became loved by many fans, especially for his many quotables, despite being in only four episodes in the fourth season. Because of this positive response, creator Bill Lawrence made sure to fit him into the season seven premiere. Unlike other shows, Scrubs is pretty good at making sure they don't overuse an Ensemble Darkhorse.
    • "Snoop Dogg intern", who started as a one-line joke, but who stayed around to become "Snoop Dogg resident" and "Snoop Dogg attending".
  • Sesame Street: For those who aren't freaked out by them, the Martians could also qualify. YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP. UH HUH. UH HUH. YIP YIP YIP.
  • Sherlock: Fans love them some Mycroft Holmes. Oh, yes, they do. (It doesn't hurt that Mycroft is played by Mark Gatiss...)
    • Molly's pretty popular, especially since she wasn't in the books and was only meant to be in one episode initially. But she's probably the chewiest Chew Toy on TV.
    • Anthea has had seven lines across the entire series. She still rocks.
    • Anderson became this upon being Rescued from the Scrappy Heap in the short "Many Given Thanks" and the Series 3 premiere "The Empty Hearse", where he's basically a stand-in for the show's fandom, having theorized various ways that Sherlock could be alive due to feeling guilt over (seemingly) driving Sherlock to suicide.
  • Smallville:
    • Oliver Queen first arrived in Season 6 and quickly became a massive fan favorite character, especially since many fans viewed him as a more proactive hero than Clark, as he actually sought out the bad guys rather than waiting for trouble to become visible. His popularity grew to such magnitudes that he was added to the regular cast in Season 8 and got shipped with Chloe after fans—who'd been writing shipper fics for them since their first meeting—demanded it.
    • When Alicia Baker made her debut in the third season, she was intended to be nothing more than the latest "Freak of the Week", just a Stalker with a Crush Yandere with the hots for Clark. But her early scenes with Clark in that episode (where they're forced to reveal their super powers to each other, then realize they can relax and be themselves in each other's company) had such a sweetness to them, that "Calicia" became a Fan-Preferred Couple. She returned in the fourth season, complete with a Heel–Face Turn, an Accidental Marriage to Clark...and a tragic death. While she only appeared in 3 episodes, Alicia looms large in Smallville's mythology for 2 reasons: 1) She's one of only 3 women in the show's entire 10 year run whom Clark explicitly stated he loved (the other 2 being Lana and Lois, making Alicia the only one who wasn't from the comics), and 2) In her final episode, she revealed Clark's secret to Chloe, forever altering the "Chlark" dynamic for the show's remaining 5 1/2 seasons.
  • Space: 1999: Alan Carter (Nick Tate). He was a prominent supporting character in the first season. However, during the creative shake-up before the second, his character was slated to be axed along with every other supporting role. Fan reaction was so strong that not only was Carter retained, he was given a promotion (from Chief of Recon to pretty much Third-in-Command) and bigger parts in later episodes. Only one other supporting character from the first season (Xenia Merton as Sandra Benes) was retained, but didn't get the expanded role Carter did.
  • Stargate SG-1: Vala Mal Doran was initially intended to be only a one-shot character for one episode in the middle of season eight, but had such a strong fan reaction that she earned a recurring role in season nine and a regular role in season ten.
    • Walter Harriman originally had the unenviable task of basically being a verbal exposition device with no name. Started showing up in more and more episodes as a kind of Shout-Out, eventually got a real name (after several years), and even appeared in some of the "Behind the Scenes" specials.
    • Similarly, Siler, the much-beleaguered gate technician, has gained quite a following from fans who like to see him get electrocuted, knocked out, and tossed back by an explosion every few episodes.
    • Radek Zelenka was only meant to appear on Stargate Atlantis for one episode, but became a recurring character due to popularity with fans. Some parts of fandom have also embraced one-shot characters Miko and Parrish, as well the recurring character of Major Lorne.
    • Doctor Carson Beckett would also fit this trope, started off as a recurring character in the first season before being promoted to regular for season two. Killed off in the third season. Only to be brought back in the fourth season after fan outrage caused a re-think.
    • Pretty much the same thing has happened to the gate technician, who acquired a fan nickname that became canon (Chuck), and has gradually gained personality from season two onwards.
      • Sorry, not true. Whilst the fans did have a name for him, the Chucknician, Chuck gained his name in canon by actor Torri Higginson accidentally referring to actor Chuck Campbell by his name during a take which the producers decided to use. At least that's what Chuck Campbell said whilst on stage at a convention.
    • Todd the Wraith is also up there in fan appreciation, probably due to being the only Wraith in the Pegasus galaxy with a sense of humor and utterly stealing any scene he's in. Originally just a random Wraith that cooperated with Sheppard to escape Genii confinement, he went on to aid Atlantis a few times against the Asurans and became a recurring character.
    • Rodney McKay was only brought in for a few episodes of Stargate SG-1 but proved popular enough to be a major character in Stargate Atlantis with whole episodes dedicated to his character.
  • Stargate Universe: Has currently Greer and The Destiny. Greer is obviously well liked, being an utterly cool pyromaniac badass and as for Destiny... just see the WMG!
  • Stranger Things:
    • Barb, who gained a huge fan following as the earnest, dorkish best friend of main character Nancy before (and partly as a result of) having a bridge dropped on her.
    • Steve basically started the show as Nancy's Jerk Jock boyfriend who mostly existed as an obstacle for Jonathan's affections towards Nancy, although by the end of season one he was shown to be not such a bad guy. His Character Development in season two and genuinely heartwarming relationship with Dustin ended up turning him into one of the show's most popular characters.
  • Super Sentai:
    • It has many popular characters, but in later years, Marika "Jasmine" Reimon from Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger is deeply loved by the fandom. One of most beautiful and snarky Sentai heroes, she's proved to be very popular.
    • Rapidly chasing the title is Gosei Knight, the Sixth Ranger from Tensou Sentai Goseiger, simply because of his seiyuu. Per that, his inclusion is sometimes noted as a time when Goseiger's quality increases.
    • Amongst the old school series, there's Gai Yuuki from Choujin Sentai Jetman. Despite being a Jerkass ranger, he's that badass and well loved that eventually he evolves into a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and eventually deemed Too Cool to Live and got killed off in the epilogue. There's a manga about him being replaced, but he still proved extremely popular and remains as one of the most favored Sentai Black Rangers EVER. So much that... he's the Jetman representative for Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, coming Back from the Dead just for that one episode before returning to the land of the dead.
    • Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger has one darkhorse, Luka Millfy, as if succeeding Jasmine in darkhorse department. She has a really antiheroic attitude for a girl, atypical of even the most snarkiest Sentai girl ever, as well as her looks and her tough girl attitude, it helps a lot. note 
    • Female blue rangers are usually really well-received. Megumi Misaki, Ako Hayasaka and Urara Ozu receive quite a lot of warm welcome from the fans. However, the one who's truly the female blue ranger Ensemble Dark Horse of epic proportions would be Nanami Nono who combines her gorgeous look, cheery personality and some Moment of Awesome that makes her near-guaranteed that she'd be one of the favorite blue rangers ever amongst fans (although sometimes there are some men that could surpass her at times). Hell, Nanami herself appeared in not just one, but TWO (or three) anniversary-dedicated episodes (Boukenger vs Super Sentai or Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger during the Hurricaneger tribute episode)
    • There were a lot of darkhorses in several other series though. Back in Dai Sentai Goggle Five, the darkhorse seems to go to either Kanpei Kuroda/Goggle Black (for having a lot of badass stunts and being played by Junichi Haruta), and Miki Momozono/Goggle Pink (probably due to her Plucky Girl-ness), and at Kagaku Sentai Dynaman, the Black-Pink combination (Ryuu Hoshikawa/Dyna Black and Rei Tachibana/Dyna Pink) become the darkhorses as well (due to, again, Hoshikawa being played by Junichi Haruta, and Rei being played by Sayoko Hagiwara, both of them still resume acting afterwards). At Choudenshi Bioman, it's not the heroes who's the darkhorse, but the villain Bio Hunter Silva who attains this status, despite his short screentime, he instilled fear to many audience with the possibility of how any of the Bioman can die by him, and his reappearance in Super Hero Taisen is received very warmly. And then, jumping on to Choushinsei Flashman, Sara/Yellow Flash also gains a lot of attention due to her borderline Ms. Fanservice outfit and having a lot of drama to go at the end of the series being revealed as Tokimura's daughter. And later on, in Ninja Sentai Kakuranger, Tsuruhime/Ninja White is the one to attain this status, guaranteeing her to appear in many 'Top heroine list', and even could be attaining top spot against modern day heroines, probably due to her being the first technical female leader of the team.
    • Preceding all of them would be Banba Soukichi/Big One from J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai. Originally appearing as a latecomer, he eventually usurps the leadership from the resident Red Ranger (Spade Ace). It wasn't enough to save the series from cancellation, but Big One has already left his mark there, greatly helped because he's played by Hiroshi Miyauchi. And years later... if there's anyone representing JAKQ in anniversary series, it's always Big One. He's basically the precursor of Tommy Oliver.
    • Tommy's Japanese counterpart Burai, aka Burai/Dragon Ranger qualifies too. His Your Days Are Numbered situation keeps his screentime very limited and he doesn't appear in the opening at all, yet he attains so much popularity for being a conflicted badass and having strong drama with his brother Geki/Tyranno Ranger that when he died, fans protested to bring him back and that he would have came back had it not been for Word of God stating heroes need to die and stay dead. However, he did come back... though only in the non-canonical Zyu2 footage used for Power Rangers. And even then he kicked the bucket in the episodes used for "Green No More".
    • Despite the fact that Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters didn't do well at all in Japan, Enter, Masato Jin and Beet J Stag are very popular. Jin and J are well liked for their personalities and humorous interaction, and Enter is well liked for being a genuinely threatening and smart villain who just loves doing the bad things he does.
    • In terms of season, Samurai Sentai Shinkenger is hugely popular. While some may argue it has the deck unfairly stacked in its favor (it was the replacement 18th season of Power Rangers to many fans), it attracted much love. The fans who came from Power Rangers stuck with Super Sentai because of its well told stories, hamminess, and for not being afraid to break the standard Sentai mold.
      • Other popular seasons include Choujin Sentai Jetman (mainly because of the aforementioned Gai, but also because of its compelling story and well-thought out characters like Radiguet and Grey (and how much of a S.O.B. Radiguet is)), Juken Sentai Gekiranger (because of Gou/Geki Violet, and the whole Super Sentai x Wuxia concept) and series like Gekisou Sentai Carranger (because of the sheer LULZ it generates, along with competent subtle humor to go with the parody season).
    • One season Toei and a sizable amount of fans seem to love is Choujuu Sentai Liveman. This season, by far, is one of the darkest seasons as well as the first season with two giant robots combining, gets small nods throughout the series (Go-Onger's core team had the same colors as the heroes of Liveman in the same two sets- Red, Blue, Yellow and Black, Green, and Hurricanger has been compared to Liveman often), and shows up a lot in the anniversary seasons:
    • Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger has Gai Yuki Expy Ian Yorkland (Kyoryu Black), Adorkable Sixth Ranger Utsusemimaru (Kyoryu Gold), The Mentor Torin (Kyoryu Silver), Badass Adorable female rangers Amy Yuzuki (Kyoryu Pink) and Yayoi Ulshade (Kyoryu Violet), and Cute Monster Girl Candellila.
    • While the show is still running as of this writing, Uchu Sentai Kyuranger exploded with popularity before it even premiered. While fans were concerned about the massive team size, the cool suit design, epic scope, having not one, but four non-human (rubber suit actor) rangers, and the fact that it was a long requested space themed Sentai got everyone hyped.
      • As for the Kyurangers themselves, all of them are generally well liked. While they fall into classic Sentai archetypes and some members are more annoying than others ("Yossha lucky!"), each one has a simple, yet distinct and memorable personality and backstory, relatively equal moments to shine, and enough positive traits to keep them from becoming completely unlikable (no small feat given the group's size). The most popular by far though have to be fun, flamboyant "mechanical lifeform" Balance/Tenbin Gold and his adorkable, emotionless partner Naga Rei/Hebitsukai Silver.
      • Champ/Oushi Black and Stinger/Sasori Orange receive similar praise. Champ for being a Hot-Blooded, Large Ham, wrestler persona and gruff, yet friendly personality, and Stinger for his tragic backstory, interesting character arc, and his sweet relationship with fellow Kyuranger and surrogate younger brother Kotaro. The fact that Stinger is a rare orange ranger likely helps.
  • Taxi:
    • One first-season episode had Latka marrying a call girl so he could remain in the US. The "minister" who presided over the ceremony, Reverend Jim Ignatowski, proved such a hit that he became a cast regular the following season.
    • Jeff, the guy who stood next to Louie in the "box", was originally just an extra, but over time he was given lines, some of them even significant. During the final season, he got A Day in the Limelight.
  • Teen Wolf:
    • Stiles Stilinski. While the intended hot and popular characters are the Mr. Fanservice werewolves Scott, Derek, and Jackson, it's scrawny, human, Muggle Best Friend Stiles who's gotten a lot of fans hot under the collar and begging for more of him in upcoming episodes.
    • Isaac Lahey also has had this effect for quite a few fans.
    • Danny Mahealani. He's Jackson's Straight Gay best friend, has only had about a dozen lines and has only had a real influence on the actual plot maybe twice, but you'd be hard pressed to find a fan of the show who doesn't love him.
  • That '70s Show: Sad sack Roy Keene (played by Jim Gaffigan) only appeared occasionally but ended up very popular.
  • The Thick of It: Jamie has only been in three episodes, but is one of the most popular characters.
  • The Thin Blue Line: BRIGADIER BLASTER SUMP, DAMN YOU! (It's helped by the fact he's played by Stephen Fry).
  • Top Gear: The Stig, originally a Suspiciously Similar Substitute of the first Stig and only around to drive the cars around the track, became a surprisingly popular character, to the point where he participated in some of the other stunts Top Gear did (all while wearing his trademark helmet and jumpsuit), as well as regularly cameoing in background visual gags.
  • True Blood:
    • Jessica has a very big fanbase despite not being in the books at all.
    • Despite only appearing in a handful of episodes, being alive in only a few of them, Godric is very popular among the fans. Probably because he is a total Badass.
  • The Tudors:
    • Anne Boleyn is often depicted as a villain, and in the beginning of the series, most fans thought she was quite the bitch. Though as the series progressed she became one of the most popular characters in the entire show and a lot of fans considered abandoning the show after Natalie Dormer's departure.
    • Thomas Cromwell. In nearly every single telling of what happened during the reign of Henry VIII, Cromwell is depicted as a heartless, evil villain. James Frain's Cromwell however is a well-liked character among the fans, because of the actor's ability to give him heart and soul.
    • Towards the end a lot of people were most invested in Mary, largely due to Sarah Bolger's strong performance. The fact that Mary wasn't villainized (as she often is in stories about Queen Elizabeth) also helped.
  • Twin Peaks: Audrey Horne became very popular due to her strong-willed character and, whilst still managing to be a bit of a bad girl sometimes, still not being nearly as evil nor cruel as many of the Twin Peaks residents. And for other reasons. Sherilyn Fenn was even offered to play Audrey in a spin-off. Of course, she did become less popular gradually as the show itself started to fall apart, along with most of the characters.
  • Ultra Series
    • While the Ultramen, the heroes of the franchise, are much-beloved in their own right, many fans like to say that the real stars of the shows are the countless kaiju and aliens who serve as Monsters of the Week. Many of these monsters have become as advertised and merchandised as much as the Ultras, with every series having at least one "mascot" kaiju. With the endless diversity and creativity in design, powers, and stories the producers give to their weekly villains, it would be hard to find any other work where fans find the weekly opponents to be as memorable and significant as the main heroes.
      • In fact, some of the most popular have gone from one-shot characters to recurring characters in their own right. Case in point: Gomora. As the only Monster of the Week in the original Ultraman to feature in a Multi-Part Episode, he became an instant hit with viewers in 1967 and immediately skyrocketed to one of the most famous kaiju in the Ultra Series. This got to the point where 40 years later he got his own spinoff show where he battles other kaiju and is now considered an Ultra hero in his own right, even fighting alongside Ultraman on a few occasions.
      • Coming in close at a close second would have to be Baltan, who is pretty much to the Ultra Series what the Daleks are to Doctor Who or King Ghidorah is for Godzilla. While he doesn't reappear as frequently as some other recurring kaiju, his distinctive appearance and iconic Evil Laugh make him the most recognizable character in the franchise worldwide behind Ultraman himself.
      • To list detail other recurring kaiju and seijin who could be considered an example would triple the length of this page, so here's a quick rundown of some of the big hits — Zetton, Red King, Mephilas, Eleking, Metron, King Joe, Nackle, Bemstar, Twin Tail, Vakishim, Birdon, Tyrant, Nova, Golza, and Gan Q.
      • Of course, plenty of one-off Kaiju of the Week have become popular enough with fans to create demand for them to reappear again, such as Jirass from Ultraman (even if solely due to the fact that he is literally just Godzilla with a frill).
    • While Ultraman Gaia may be the show's title hero, many fans prefer Ultraman Agul and his human host Hiroya Fujimiya, the first Anti-Hero Ultra in franchise history. In fact, the two were initially meant to be retired at the series' halfway point, but fan popularity was strong enough that Fujimiya was brought back 10 episodes later and Agul 5 episodes afterwards.
    • Ultraman Leo's brother Astra was introduced in an attempt to save the series' poor ratings, but barely had any screentime in the show. That didn't stop him from becoming popular enough to recur in later series and movies with increased roles
    • Ultraman 80 has Yullian, one of the very few female Ultras in the franchise. Introduced near the end of the series in her human identity Ryoko Hoshi, she only transformed once in the entirety of the show, and has made no other major appearances since. Many fans are dying to see her make a big return though.
    • Ultraman Justice's only appearances as of 2018 are two Ultraman Cosmos movies (the first of which he only appeared at the very end), but he is the favourite Ultra of many fans, due to his Anti-Hero attitudes contrasting with Cosmos' gentleness, his memorable character development, and fusion with Cosmos into Ultraman Legend. Many fans would love to see him return.
    • Redman. This obscure Ultraman clone achieved Memetic Mutation after Tsuburaya Productions began uploading episodes online as fans took note of his unprovoked brutality towards his monster foes, knife-wielding combat style, and the No Budget productions values of the series, creating an Alternative Character Interpretation of Redman as a Memetic Psychopath. TsuPro soon embraced this too, commissioning a Redman comic book series that follows the murderous characterization.
    • Ultra Q's money-eating monster Kanegon. Despite having only a handful of TV and film appearances (almost none of which feature him alongside an Ultraman), he's one of the most famous Ultra monsters in Japan and very frequently appears in merchandise, advertising, and other material.
      • Similarly, we have Pygmon, the friendly monster from the original Ultraman. He doesn't reappear very frequently, but is extremely popular in Japan due to his Ugly Cute appearance, gentle personality, and having many memorable moments such as his Heroic Sacrifice in his second appearance
    • Ultraman Mebius has Zamusha, a samurai-like alien whose very appearance screams of so much badass that even though he only appeared in two episodes, fans were demanding for him to have his own series. Unfortunately, he proved Too Cool to Live.
      • From the same series is Ultraman Hikari. His debut as the Anti-Hero Hunter Knight Tsurugi made him an instant hit with viewers, but even when he was restored to being just Ultraman Hikari, he remained beloved for his appealing design, interesting character and memorable story arc. He even got his own miniseries that explored and expanded upon his background and character development even further, and still makes reappearances to this day.
    • Ultraman Xenon. Despite having some of the smallest screen time of any Ultraman (he only appears to give Ultraman Max a new weapon and then in a single shot of the Max finale), he's still a topic for fans even after the show ended, and many would like to see more of him some day.
    • While The Movie Ultraman Story is generally remembered as being a Stock Footage-fest (by those who even remember it at all), its antagonists Juda and his robot Grand King rank among some of the franchise's most popular villains. The latter in particular has become a powerful recurring Monster of the Week in several series beginning with Ultraman Ginga.
      • And speaking of kaiju from movies, what about King of Mons from Ultraman Tiga, Ultraman Dyna, and Ultraman Gaia: Decisive Battle in Hyperspace? Despite that generally-seen-as-mediocre film being his only appearance, his sheer power and impressive design were so memorable that many fans rank him among their favorite Ultra kaiju.
    • Ultraman Tiga: The series' Big Bad Ghatanothoa (or in this case, Gatanozoa). Being a creation of HP Lovecraft who battles an Ultraman gets you places. Also Evil Tiga, who despite having only a single appearance, is among the most popular evil Ultras in the Ultra series.
  • Vikings:
    • Season 1 had Tostig, the grandpa who asked Ragnar to come on the raid because he wanted to die in battle and join his old friends in Valhalla. Given the character has only 6 minutes of screentime, divided over 2 episodes in a series with almost 60 aired episodes it's impressive that he became one of the most beloved character on the show.
    • Season 2 had Jarl Borg, who became another fan favorite.
  • The West Wing:
    • Ainsley Hayes, an intelligent and even-minded Republican character who was able to have a back-and-forth with Sam. Sorkin would later admit that letting Emily Procter leave the show was his biggest mistake - he had the option when her contract expired to bring her back as a full member of the cast, but decided not to as he wasn't sure he had any stories to write for the character.
    • Lionel Tribbey, a righteous White House Counsel whose existence allows John Larroquette the opportunity to bathe in a river of ham.
    • Oliver Babish, Tribbey's successor, who adheres to a strict moral code and projects a confidence that allows him to speak candidly with both the President and the First Lady over their respective obstacles during the MS scandal.
    • Bruno Gianelli, a Campaign Manager with a high success rate, who - while not deferring to a particular political party - professes himself as someone who listens intently to the wants of the American people, preferring that to telling them what they should want. As a result, he coolly and calmly probing the Bartlet staff on how to function during Seasons 3 and 4, even calling out the President for not giving him proper flexibility to do his job.
    • Joe Quincy, a male version of Ainsley Hayes that offered Matthew Perry the chance to successfully play against type.
  • The White Queen: Richard, Duke of Gloucester is a glorified extra in the first four episodes and a secondary character in Episode 5, but when he does finally come to the forefront, he's a scene-stealer. Most critics and fans have praised Aneurin Barnard's memorable performance as one of the highlights of this miniseries, including those who find the show's quality to be uneven.
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway?:
    • Jeff Davis, who was the youngest comedian on the show, proved to be very popular with fans, despite not appearing in many episodes. His popularity led to him being the first fourth-seater in the 2013 CW revival
    • Speaking of the CW revival, recurring fourth-seater Gary Anthony Williams has gained a following among fans as well.
  • Will & Grace: Snarker supreme Rosario is popular with many fans especially thanks to her funny interactions with Karen.
  • The Wire:
    • Slim Charles is very popular for a relatively minor character. Reliable, competent, honorable and loyal, he displays plenty of positive but scarce virtues.
    • Brother Mouzone, for much the same reasons as Omar. Appeared in six episodes of the whole series, but his popularity rivaled some of the regular characters. And then taken up to eleven when he first fought Omar and then teamed up with him to take revenge on Stringer.
    • During a premier party for Season 5's debut, the loudest cheer for cast/character accrediting went to Michael B. Jordan/Wallace.
    • Out of the child characters, Michael Lee is probably the only one with a significant fandom, thanks to a combination of his warm-hearted personality, tragic childhood and signs of genuine badassery. His pounding the shit out of Kenard didn't hurt, either.
    • Felicia Pearson/Snoop. The opening scene of Season 4 when she bought a nailgun probably had something to do with that.
  • The X-Files:
    • Skinner. He appeared in only one episode in season one but his role was getting substantially bigger as the show went on. For some people, him just showing up in the second movie was the best thing about it because the series finale implied he might have been offed.
    • The Lone Gunmen, a trio of dorky Conspiracy Theorists was dearly loved. They even got their own short-lived spin-off show, The Lone Gunmen.
    • Eugene Victor Tooms distinguished himself as one of the series most popular Monster of the Week, even being one of the few to appear in more than one episode.
    • Mrs Scully. Sheila Larken's performance was always a joy to watch. It was pity that Mrs Scully usually showed up only for a family crisis and thus was seen to suffer a lot.
    • That sweet Horny Scientist of The Lab Rat Agent Pendrell. Amazing that he managed to become a fans' favourite as his role was really minor and he was killed off way too soon.
  • The Young Ones: This show is one of the purest examples of an Ensemble Cast, being that no one character was ever featured over the others throughout its run and everyone got a good chance to shine. Still, ask any Brit old enough to know to quickly name one of the lads, and nine times out of ten they’ll say "Vyvyan" first. Then again, when you look at the pilot, Vyv is the last lad to be introduced and the one given the most dramatic entrance, indicating that the creators probably figured he’d attain this status anyway.

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