6 Criminally Underused Characters

A sprawling ensemble cast can make a show feel like a world unto itself. By not narrowing the focus down to one or two characters, a sense of expansiveness is created that can elevate mediocre concepts into great ones and great concepts into extraordinary ones. The downside of ensemble shows is that with so many characters running around someone is bound to end up on the back burner. Shows like Game of Thrones find a way to share the love by giving even the most periphery characters a chance to shine, but on some shows there always seems to be at least one character that never gets their due.

1. Astrid Farnsworth- Fringe


Despite being an agent herself, Astrid has spent much of the last four seasons tucked away in the lab working as Walter’s assistant. This season she has been allowed to do a bit of field work, but outside of her devotion to Walter, Astrid is still a mystery.

She has become a supporting character in the most literal sense; nothing is ever truly about her, if she is in a scene it’s either to provide case exposition or emotional support and advice to another character. Astrid certainly contributes to the team, but after four years of watching her play the role of dutiful assistant it would be nice to see who Astrid Farnsworth is beyond her work.

2. Matt Donovan- The Vampire Diaries

The Reckoning

For a guy who has dated two out of three of the main female characters and is the former best friend of the show’s resident hybrid, you would think Matt would have earned a slot on the A-Team by now, but alas, he’s still languishing in the background. It’s frustrating because Matt adds some much needed humanity to a show overflowing with supernatural characters and their supernatural problems.

Every time I think he is about to become a fixture in the inner circle of vampires, dopplegangers and witches, Matt fades away again, relegated to the occasional appearance at the Mystic Grill. This season more than ever, I’ve seen the potential for the character to become The Vampire Diaries‘s answer to Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s Xander. He may not be as quippy, but he has just as much heart.

3. Leena- Warehouse 13

WAREHOUSE 13 "Trials" Season 3 Episode 2 (2)

We’re going into season four and Leena still doesn’t have a last name. Do I need to say anything else? Probably not, but I will anyway. Leena is the proprietor of the bed and breakfast that serves as the Warehouse agent’s home and back in season one the show significantly hinted that there was more to her past than we knew.

Unfortunately, they have yet to feel the need to delve into her character any further. Most episodes she only appears long enough to eat breakfast with the team or provide backup for Artie and Claudia– that is if she appears at all. The hints at her past were so tantalizing, I find myself hoping that one of these days she’ll claim center stage all for herself– at least long enough to tell us what’s up between her and Mrs. Frederic.

4/5. Tim Gutterson and Rachel Brooks- Justified

Justified Rachel and Tim

These two are debatable. It’s not that we never see Rachel and Tim; it’s just that no matter how much I see of them I always want more. The same could be said for almost any character on Justified though because so much effort is put into making even the most tangential characters feel unique and fully developed.

Tim and Rachel just happen to be two of my favorites and while they do on occasion get to ride shotgun with Raylan, I would love to see these two given their own ongoing subplots. I’m not sure where the writers could possibly find the time on this already wonderfully overstuffed show, but bolstering their presence in Raylan’s life could only lead to good things.

5. T-Dog- The Walking Dead


Poor T-Dog, of all the characters on this list he’s the most underused of the bunch. While the actor does a good job with the material he is given, it’s hard for me to argue there’s any great potential in the character because T-Dog spends most of his time silently hanging out in the background.

He did briefly have a bit of meaty material in the early days of season one, but since then things have been pretty bleak in terms of screen time. His big contribution to season two so far was getting his arm cut mid-zombie attack. He needs something to do, and fast, otherwise anyone who stays quiet for this long is bound to end up as a zombie snack.


These are just a few of television’s most underused characters, tell me which ones you want to see more of in the comments or let me know if you’re happy these guys aren’t taking the spotlight away from your favorites (although, I have to wonder about anyone who doesn’t want to see more of Astrid…I mean she’s Astrid). Tell me all about it below!

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