One of the most tried and true methods that showrunners use to stabilize a shaky first season is introducing new characters. A new character can energize a lagging plot line, or even lead to a new plot line entirely, taking the show in directions that may not have been originally intended.
Not all new characters work. Many are summarily dismissed. But some of these new characters feel so enmeshed in the fabric of the show, it's hard to believe that there was a time when they weren't a part of it at all.
This is a list of the greatest television characters who weren't in the first season. Vote up the series regulars who became most integral to their series. And if you don't like the order this list is in, feel free to rerank it. In fact, it's highly encouraged. Make your voice heard for the best TV characters who weren't in Season 1.
Aw, Butters. Sweet, happy, wholesome Butters Stotch had been a friend of Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Cartman on South Park for years, but he was never actually introduced (or allowed to speak) until midway through Season 3 in an episode called "Two Guys Naked in a Hot Tub." Even when he's (poorly) planning destruction as his alter ego "Professor Chaos," you just can't help but root for the lovable little guy.
Series: South Park
Actor: Matt Stone
Episode: Season 3, Episode 8 "Two Guys Naked in a Hot Tub"
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Has there ever been a more loyal and fully realized female character than Brienne of Tarth? Gwendolyn Christie brings a touching humanity and a sly sense of humor to this powerful warrior, though we don't get to meet her until the third episode of Season 2, "What Is Dead May Never Die." Game of Thrones is not short on powerful women, to be sure. But Brienne has a true heart (and a great sword) that elevates her above all around her.
Series: Game of Thrones
Actor: Gwendoline Christie
Episode: Season 2, Episode 3 "What is Dead May Never Die"
#34 on Game of Thrones Death Poolsee more on Brienne of Tarth
Wait, you mean Frank Reynolds wasn't always there? It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia existed without him?
It's true. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia had a seven-episode first season where there was no Danny DeVito to be found. He joined the gang at the start of Season 2 in "Charlie Gets Crippled" and has been deplorable and hilarious ever since.
Series: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Actor: Danny DeVito
Episode: Season 2, Episode 1 "Charlie Gets Crippled"
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Saul Goodman puts the "criminal" in "criminal lawyer." Bob Odenkirk's pitch-perfect portrayal of the sleazy attorney didn't actually appear in Season 1 of Breaking Bad. He swooped in halfway through Season 2 in the episode "Better Call Saul" to help get one of Jesse's buddies out of a tight spot and remained a fixture from that point on.
Series: Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul!
Actor: Bob Odenkirk
Episode: Season 2, Episode 8 "Better Call Saul"
Also Rankedsee more on Saul Goodman
It's hard to imagine the post-apocalyptic world of The Walking Dead without Maggie Greene. But long-time fans will remember we didn't get to meet her until early the second episode of Season 2, "Bloodletting," when the survivors end up on Herschel's farm. Lauren Cohan's Maggie and her relationship with Glen provide a glimpse of a promising future in an otherwise desolate world.
Series: The Walking Dead
Actor: Lauren Cohan
Episode: Season 2, Episode 2 "Bloodletting"
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The ultimate arch-nemesis to Jerry on Seinfeld, Newman (never a first name, by the way, just Newman) was expertly brought to life by Wayne Knight. Although it may seem like Newman was always hanging around Jerry's apartment, he wasn't mentioned until halfway through Season 2 in the episode "The Revenge." Even then, we only heard Newman's voice. The character didn't appear onscreen until the Season 3 episode "The Suicide."
Actor: Wayne Knight
Episode: Season 2, Episode 7 "The Revenge"
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Cheers had a good thing going with Nicholas Colasanto as "Coach" Ernie Pantusso, the sweet old bartender of the Boston bar. But in 1984, Colasanto left the show. Cheers needed to find someone equally lovable and dim-witted to fill Coach's shoes. Luckily, they found Woody Harrelson. Relatively unknown at the time, Harrelson played Woody Boyd as a naive hayseed from Indiana and instantly fit in with the cast from his first appearance in the Season 4 opener, "Birth, Death, Love, and Rice."
Actor: Woody Harrelson
Episode: Season 4, Episode 1 "Birth, Death, Love and Rice"
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Just like Saul Goodman, Mike Ehrmantraut is an indispensable Breaking Bad character who did not appear in season one. Mike first appears as a "fixer" in the Season 2 finale, "ABQ."
Series: Breaking Bad
Actor: Jonathan Banks
Episode: Season 2, Episode 13 "ABQ"
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