From the passing of beloved celebrities like Prince, David Bowie, George Michael and most recently Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds to the surreal and possibly rigged election of the Evil Cheeto, 2016 has been one of the most trying and tragic years in recent memory. They say truth is stranger than fiction, so it's fitting that this hurricane of crap has descended upon our favorite fictional characters, too.
Whether, a particularly harrowing plot, bad writing or just plain old character neglect, here are 7 characters from Grey's Anatomy, This Is Us, Supernatural and more who deserve better in 2017...
Alex Karev, Grey's Anatomy
The first half of this season of Grey's Anatomy found the rough-but-sweet Alex Karev not only facing assault charges for assaulting a DeLuca, who he thought was assaulting his terrible fiancee Jo, but also completely single, and fighting to keep his job at Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital. The winter finale found Meredith frantically trying to prevent Alex from taking a plea deal and going to prison. It's a bitter pill for Dr. Karev (Justin Chambers), who's Meredith's official person and a pitbullish protector for everyone he loves or tolerates.
Hopefully, Karev will find some much-deserved good fortune in 2017 by maintaining his freedom, returning to his difficult job of saving tiny humans, and dating a non-secretive woman who's worthy of his gruffly unconditional love. Knowing creator Shonda Rhimes, that we'll probably get one out of three...and then he'll get cancer.
Find out when ABC's Grey's Anatomy returns on January 19.
Kate Pearson, This Is Us
It’s not her fault that Kate’s brothers are devastatingly handsome overachievers in their own rights. It’s also not her fault that every storyline in the freshman season of NBC’s breakout hit, This Is Us, revolves around her struggle to lose weight. The rookie show is still finding its true identity, and in telling the stories of how these triplets' history effects their present, it’s neglected herstory. Chrissy Metz portrays Kate’s weight loss journey with a fearless honesty that earned a Golden Globe nomination, however, the writing hasn’t done her talent justice by ignoring virtually every other aspect of her life. Does she want kids? Has she continued to pursue her singing career? How has she coped after her twin’s abrupt move to across the county? How does she get along with Randall? Has she been making strides at her new job?
If they want to humanize a character that up until now has just been a trending topic with a great singing voice, 2017’s new episodes will start to answer these questions while posing more. This Is Us will continue to torture your tear ducts on January 10.
Sam Winchester, Supernatural
If anyone needs the TLC we're all hoping is awaiting us in 2017, it's Supernatural's Sam Winchester. While the first half of season 12 has been jam-packed with action and angst, including the resurrection of the mother he's never truly met, the capture of Sam's biggest foe, Lucifer, and the introduction of the any-means-necessary British Men of Letters, it's been damn stingy with the Sam stories.
Despite being admirably more vocal, Sammy has sadly been hotly floating on the edge of the crazy all season. He was tortured and sloppily rescued (you may remember I had some feelings about that) and has come to terms with troubled past, but hasn't had any a real storylines. How does he feel about his mother's leaving a few days after meeting her? How did he recover from being tortured by Lady Toni? How did he cope with chasing down the devil, who tortured him for centuries? No one knows because the writers never bothered to give us insight into a Sam's emotional mindset just as they never bothered with giving him an arc independent from Dean.
Here's wishing that Supernatural's writers FINALLY remember what a dynamic, intelligent, brave, and beloved hero they've created and flesh him out the way he's deserved for far too long. The 1,000th time's a charm, right? Supernatural scares up new episodes on January 26.
Adam Ruzek, Chicago P.D.
Chicago P.D. is definitely one of my guilty pleasure shows, and while I find its representation of people of color and police sometimes problematic (just don't do "Black Lives Matter" episodes, okay?), I stick around for two big reasons. The first being Sophia Bush. The second is the woefully underrated Patrick Flueger's Adam Ruzek. Despite the occasional injury for laughs, a doomed engagement with Kim Burgess, and an undercover case gone wrong, Chicago P.D. is guilty of criminally neglecting Flueger's incredible talent. Flueger popped up on my "Damn Good Actor" radar 13 years ago in USA's sci-fi drama The 4400 in which he played a young healer with immense power. He's also proven his comedic chops in ABC's short-lived comedy, Scoundrels.
To be fair, the Intelligence crew nabbed Ruzek straight out of the academy, so it makes sense that he would be relegated to gruntwork so he could gain experience. Four years in and manya shark jumped, it's time that Ruzek shed the training wheels and get his hands bloody. Hopefully, the new year will bring all of the drama and intrigue for this character, and a chance for this great actor to show his chops! Chicago P.D. returns on January 3.
Ginny Baker and Mike Lawson, Pitch
I have to keep reminding myself that Pitch—one the best shows this season and probably the last—is NOT coming back in February or March, and that the episode that aired on December 10 was a season finale, not winter. And that it has yet to be renewed. *screams into a pillow*
“Don’t Say It” found Ginny Baker suffering a career-ending injury after pitching in what could’ve been a no-hitter. Ginny, a bright-eyed badass who crushes stereotypes and problematic tropes along with the souls of batters, and Mike Lawson, the sweet and curmudgeonly catcher, need resume to their “will-they-won’t-they” fliration as soon as possible! For the sake of my feels and because Kylie Bunbury and Mark-Paul Gosselaar are sublime bright spots in a show full of them.
I’m praying to the baseball gods, Morgan Freeman and Octavia Spencer that this dynamic duo will be back in the fall or sooner when Fox finally regains its sanity and decides to #RenewPitch.
Nothing comes easily or glamorously for the Lyon family or its employees on Fox's Empire. Sadly, 2016 has been especially difficult for the underappreciated Becky. Gabourey Sidibe's doppleganger has been through the wringer in her battle to become secure a flashy A&R position at Empire Records. She's lost out to Xavier, the thug-life lovin' white boy who snaked the position she feels she earned (she has).
Empire's rapidly-paced winter finale didn't come to any resolution to the Becky drama, so change gon' come in 2017. And it has to, because Becky has been ride or die for Empire since the pilot, and it's time she gets everything she deserves while giving Xavier a nasty dose of karma, too.
John Diggle, Arrow
What happens when you create a character who’s badass, level-headed, brave and has bigger guns than the hood-wearing, quiver-toting superhero? If you’re The CW's Arrow, whose quality has faltered in the last few seasons, you sideline him with ridiculous and limiting storylines, which is exactly what they've done to John Diggle. Arrow, you have failed this character!
Season 5 of Arrow has found John Diggle framed for military crimes only to be “saved” by Oliver who breaks him out of prison so he can stay in hiding by day and fight crime in that needlessly whack helmet by night. It conveniently sidelines him to make room for a gaggle of new characters and a forced romance between Felicity and a forgettable SCPD detective that's only there so Oliver can—SPOILER ALERT!—be manipulated into killing! So much manpain!
The always competent David Ramsey will make the best of whatever watered-down, half-baked arc he’s given, so why not give him a truly meaty one? Here’s hoping 2017 frees Diggle from his fugitive status and pushes him towards a journey worthy of Ramsey’s talents and Diggle's all around awesomeness. See if Arrow hits the target when it returns on January 25.
Photo Credits: wetpaint.com; heavy.com; comicbook.com; nbc.com; screenertv.com; greenarrowwiki.com
Small Screen Girl
I am an unabashed pop culture and TV-aholic with no plans to ever seek treatment. Explore this blog and see just how deep my obsession goes.