20 Best TV Characters of 2016

From bat-wielding bad guys to hipster-stoner sidekicks, these were the small-screen heroes and villains that made our year

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Fleabag, 'Fleabag'
20
Amazon Studios13/20

Fleabag, 'Fleabag'

Spiraling depression never felt so magnetic as it does on the title character in Phoebe Waller-Bridge's black comedy. As she careens through her life in London, from disastrous sexual encounters to familial tension to petty theft, Fleabag gives us the play-by-play, breaking the fourth wall to address the audience. It's a narrative tactic that makes us complicit in the more despicable things she does, like Richard III calmly informing us he's going to start murdering the royal family. She is by turns wryly funny, cruel and utterly heartbreaking, originally conceived by Waller-Bridge for a one-woman play – which might be why she feels more personal and fleshed-out than virtually any other character this TV season. JS

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