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

Sarah, 'Horace and Pete'
20
5/20

Sarah, 'Horace and Pete'

For our money, the nine-minute unbroken closeup on the face of barkeep Horace Wittel's ex-wife as she told the story of her shocking affair with her new husband's elderly father was 2016's true TV tour-de-force. Played by veteran actor Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne), the character's outlandish plight became the beating-heart centerpiece of Louis C.K.'s self-released show – a combination of 20th century theater, old-school live television dramas and indie-film digressions – and its most eloquent example of a life of quiet desperation. Sarah was the year's most gut-wrenching portrait of empathy, desire, and sadness, one stammered sentence and furtive glance at a time. STC

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