They designed the architecture of heaven and raised hell, prosecuted the Trial of the Century and put an innocent man in prison, ran Harlem's underworld and created Westworld – they are TV's class of 2016. When we think back to the sitcoms, sadcoms, streaming-service gamechangers, cable dramas, British imports and homegrown network shows that kept us binging all weekend long and/or tuning in week after week, these are the folks that had us chattering on Twitter and turned good shows into great showcases. It didn't matter if they were stoner philosophers or supervillains, neurotic comedians or The Walking Dead's bat-man Negan. These were the characters that helped make our last 12 months of bleary-eyed TV viewing a year to remember.

A quick note: We kept our picks confined to characters that were either introduced in the 2016 seasons of returning shows or in series that premiered in 2016. That's why, say, GoT's Ramsay Bolton and TWD's Glenn Rhee are AWOL; ditto MVP actors like Rhea Seehorn (Better Call Saul) and Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish).