Movies often live and die on their leads. The supporting cast can be fantastic but if the lead of a movie is a dud than the movie is most likely a dud. With TV things are much less simple. A main character can sometimes be irrelevant if the characters and cast surrounding them are entertaining and compelling. With that in mind, we’ve ranked the eight best supporting casts on TV. Some of them have leads that are just as strong as the cast backing them up and others have leads that are remarkably less impressive. Nonetheless, here are the best supporting casts on TV.
8. The BAU on Criminal Minds
A few seasons ago the BAU of Criminal Minds would rank much higher. Nowadays, though the supporting cast is not as strong as it once was, it is still one of the best supporting casts on TV. It is still in this ranking but it is more of an echo of former glory. The reason for the dip is that Criminal Minds has seen a lot of cast shake-ups and new additions lately. Fan favorites like Reid and Penelope are still around but everything just feels a little off with new dynamics. Case in point, Prentiss is awesome but she was better as a supporting player than the new team leader.
7. Scott’s Pack on Teen Wolf
Teen Wolf falls victim to a similar problem as Criminal Minds. The characters who have been there from the beginning like Stiles and Lydia are just as lovable and compelling as lead Scott, if not more so. Unfortunately, not all of Scott’s pack measures up to the original members. Malia is fantastically funny and original but the “new generation” of supernatural creatures with Liam, Mason and Hayden leaves a lot to be desired. Still, the strength, humor and emotion that Stiles, Lydia and Malia bring to the supporting cast is enough to balance out any other weaknesses.
6. The Town on Riverdale
Riverdale would be nothing without Archie’s friends and family as Archie is a little bit of bland loser. In Riverdale‘s first season Archie began to show more and more growth but it is his friends who make the show special. Jughead, Veronica and Betty are so heavily featured that they blur the line between co-leads and supporting but it is hard to argue that Archie is the very attractive but very bland face of Riverdale. Even expanding out of the core four group, though, there is one of the best father figures on TV, Fred Andrews, the hilarious Kevin and the surprisingly deep if a little unhinged Alice Cooper. Riverdale knew what they were doing naming the series after the town and not the main character.
Pied Piper Team on Silicon Valley
When the hilarious Kumail Nanjiani is the least funny member of your cast, you’re dealing with a high caliber of comedic support. The gang on Silicon Valley who formerly worked for Pied Piper and are currently starting something new is one of the funniest casts on TV. TJ Miller does an excellent job playing the douchiest but still somehow lovable Erlich. Martin Starr relishes being the sarcastic Gilfoyle and Zach Woods has perfected the twitchy weirdo that he started playing on The Office. Almost every single cast member is funnier than the lead, Richard, played by Thomas Middleditch. The only real issue with this group is that they tend always fall into the same type of roles and jokes. It’s not broke so it doesn’t need fixing but it is not the most dynamic of interactions.
4. The Town of Storybrooke on Once Upon a Time
When you have basically the entire fairy tale cast of characters at your disposal there is no limit to what your supporting cast can do. This is the case with Once Upon a Time. While recent seasons of the show have focused mainly on the (very complicated) Charming family tree, there is a deep roster of clever, funny and interesting characters for the show to pull from and use. A large factor in why Once Upon a Time feel magical is the characters that can be called on to help in any situation. Whether it is the charming, kind and intelligent Belle or the begrudging comic relief of Grumpy, Storybrooke is a town brimming with character in the best way.
3. Team Flash on The Flash
All of The CW’s superhero shows have strong support systems around their main heroes. If just one must be picked, though, the honor goes to The Flash. Barry Allen might be the fastest man alive but he wouldn’t be half the hero he is without the STAR Labs crew backing him up. Every member of Team Flash is lovable, capable and is so interesting they could easily have their own spin-off series. They are gathered under the Team Flash banner though and few supporting casts on TV bounce off each other and work as well as this group.
2. The Gladiators on Scandal
Olivia’s coworkers have grown so impressive in Scandal‘s run that they can almost operate without Olivia. While Olivia Pope is the central figure on Scandal and will always be the center of the show, the team she has created around her is nearly as complex and powerful. It would so easy for Scandal to rest on the laurels of their incredible lead in Kerry Washington but the show never has rested. Anchored by stalwarts Huck and Quinn, The Gladiators have grown into one of the most interesting and capable supporting casts on TV.
1. The Nine-Nine on Brooklyn Nine-Nine
In Brooklyn Nine-Nine Andy Samberg has found his perfect role. While Samberg’s Jake Peralta is a joy on the show, it is the deep cast of incredibly funny and diverse characters who steal the show. Brooklyn Nine-Nine doesn’t waste a single member of its cast, often mixing and matching characters for incredible comedic effect. The pairing of deadpan Holt with hyperactive Amy is hilarious but the same can be said for Holt sharing scenes with the very likely deranged Gina. There is no limit to what Brooklyn Nine-Nine can do with its cast and no limit to the laughs they can create.
Do you agree? Which of these casts is your favorite? Who did we leave out of this ranking? Do you agree with where these casts are ranked? Which ones would you change around?
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