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.
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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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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What is Leslie Knope without Ben Wyatt? Parks & Recreation had a shaky start and a lot of early characters (like Paul Schneider's Mark Brendanawicz) didn't make it out alive. But the show found its footing when Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) and Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe) came to Pawnee late in Season 2 in "The Master Plan." The relationship that followed between Leslie and Ben truly gave Parks & Rec the heart that balanced out the comedy which made the show so special.
Series: Parks and Recreation
Actor: Adam Scott
Episode: Season 2, Episode 23 "The Master Plan"
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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"
Also Rankedsee more on Woody Boyd