From black women owning entertainment to the hellscape that is American politics, 2017 has been a year of polarizing change and picking the right side or wrong side of history. Unfortunately, even fictional characters weren't spared from the dumpster fire tendencies of this year.
Whether unlucky in love, saddled with a shark-jumping plot or unspeakable tragedy, here are are 8 characters that deserve better in 2018.
Barry Allen and Iris West-Allen, The Flash
It's a monumental accomplishment when one of your favorite OTPs gets married...unless you're Barry Allen and Iris West from The Flash. This couple, who have literally traveled across universes and dimensions together, finally attempted to tie the knot, and their weddings, yes, plural, were crashed by so-called friends who have to make everyone about themselves, and actual freakin' Nazis.
This was after Caitlin Snow spent half of last season trying to kill the majority of Team Flash, but she's been welcomed back into the fold without facing one iota of well-deserved anger and hatred because she "can't control" was Killer Frost does. This makes about as much sense as Nazis existing in 2017 and grown adults having a double wedding. It also flies in the face of well-established meta-human canon. But that's another blog.
The West-Allen clan spent their wedding day fighting Nazis and then had their honeymoon cut short due to supehero duties. Now that Barry has been arrested for murder, I'm doubting they will get a chance at a do-over anytime soon. 2018 better bring them another, stunningly sappy and uninterrupted wedding and an extended honeymoon with nary one snowflake, special or frozen, in sight.
Drew Cain, General Hospital
As a General Hospital fan for more than 15 years, I have loved Jason Morgan. As a fan of great actors, I have lived for watching Steve Burton teach a master class in soap acting most weekdays for decades. So I was perversely elated when, after years of repetitive storylines, Burton left GH to pursue other opportunities. Eventually Billy Miller, a great actor in his own right, reprised the role. Miller's Jason was freer and more emotional than his "stone cold" predecessor" and took Jason Morgan, who's been shot more than 50 Cent, in a positive mob-free direction.
As soon as Burton left The Young and the Restless, Miller's Jason became "unrecognizable" to the people who loved him most. Despite taking a bullet for Sonny, trying to save a troubled Morgan, and having Jason's memories and DNA, Sonny and Carly looked at Jason distancing himself from the mob as an unforgivable betrayal. And it all paved the way for the implausible story of Jason Morgan having a long lost twin brother and enduring memory-swapping medical procedure.
While I'm intrigued by the premise of their being two Jasons and watching Miller and Burton gnaw into some scandalous sibling rivalry scenes, it's been heartbreaking in an entirely different way to watch GH strip away all that made Jason 2.0 so intensely watchable: his closet friends regard him as a stranger and belief his wife belongs with his brother; he's not the father of two kids he's raised for years; his marriage is invalid; the company he bought also isn't legally his.
Let's hope that 2018 brings Drew Cain some rockin' storylines, some hard-won happiness, a love affair for the ages and the BAMFiest bromance on daytime.
Claire Fraser, Outlander
I'm a diehard for stories centered on star-crossed lovers, and it doesn't get more star-crossed that soulmates who were born centuries apart. Season 3 of Outlander, the steamy period drama with a luscious magical bent, found Claire in 1968, looking to reunite with her Scottish husband back in 1768. Now that's a long way to travel for a booty call.
Though their reunion was the stuff of romance-adventure legend, as the season progressed, I found myself repeatedly asking if Jamie was truly worth it. Less than a week back in the 18th century, Claire killed a man who tried to rape her, found out Jamie a whisky smuggler, committing treason and was married to a woman who got nearly her killed. At season's end, Claire and Jamie were shipwrecked on the coast of a nascent Georgia after nearly dying in a storm. Sometimes, love just isn't enough. Outlander returns in 2018, and Jamie has a lot of stepping up to do to become worthy of Claire leaving their daughter and modern comforts like healthcare, firearms, and airplanes.
Rafael Solano, Jane The Virgin
They say you're not supposed to pity the rich, but now that Jane The Virign's Rafael Solano has lost his fortune, I can totally feel badly for him right? While the story does center on Jane's unconventional entry into motherhood, Rafael's trauma has sort of been a running gag. From his parents' murder and crime-lordom, to having cancer to getting his last remaining sperm samples hijacked TWICE to now losing his fortune and getting hit by a car, Rafael has endured more in four seasons than Erica Kane has in a lifetime. Hopefully, that epic kiss with Jane in the winter finale is foreshadowing a tsumani of happiness coming Rafael's way. If anyone deserve it, it's him. He's far too hot to be so sad.
The Real Housewives Of Atlanta Cast
Season 10 of Bravo's The Real Housewives of Atlanta had all the makings to be a thrilling one: Kenya's bizarre marriage to a mystery man reduces her to walking around an empty house with a veil on; the human bullhorn that is Nene Leakes has returned with her entertaining mix of hilarious one-liners and superiority; Sheree's dating an ex-con who may or may not make parole; and Porsha trying to find someone to film with her. So why on earth are Bravo producers, particular that shady king Andy Cohen, trying to make Kim Zolciak-Biermann and her ever-changing face happen?!
She entered this season like a pissed-off hyena trying to come from Kenya Moore and getting fight-and-glass-throwing mad when Kenya called her on her very public messiness. Clearly, Kim has to make up for the financial deficit since Kroy Biermann isn't playing football right now, but this is a pretty low even for the obnoxious, foul-mouthed, living Bratz doll and her brood of kids. The remaining cast deserves more than to endure her possible racist shenanigans, especially when her daughter is getting involved too.
More importantly, why does RHOA need a white woman in the cast? They were slaying in the ratings for years without her. Kim can reclaim her peach when there is racially, religious and sexual diversity in RHOBH, RHOC, RHONJ, RHOD, and RHONY.
Dean Winchester, Supernatural
I've had a lot to say about Supernatural this season, and it ain't good. After 13 years on air, I have a sinking suspicion that the writers decide plots by drunkenly tossing darts at a board full of Cards Against Humanity cards. Case in point: that septic tank explosion of a winter finale, which, among other things, involved Dean and Sam Winchester kidnapping a traumatized teenager of color to save their deadbeat mom after she refused to dream walk for them because it left her with physical injuries, a dinosaur and a bizarre stomp performance by a garrison of evil angels.
There's no plane of existence in which Dean Winchester would kidnap a kid, let alone someone who's been battered by life as much as Kaia. As a child who endured unspeakably trauma and abuse at the hands of his father (fight me!) Dean has always bonded with children in similar positions. Sam, who's had his choices and agency stripped from him again and again, wouldn't just let it happen either. The CW really needs to address its penchant for not giving their black characters the ability to say no. See Jackson on Legends of Tomorrow and that cursed wedding Barry kidnapped Diggle to officiate.
I never thought that Dean Winchester, one of sci-fi's iconic characters, would ever need saving. But the shoddy, lazy, masculinity-so-fragile writing has continually proven to be the one monster the Winchesters can't slay.
Andre Lyon, Empire
Empire's Andre Lyon has had a major character disadvantage from day one: he is the lone Lyon brother who isn't musically gifted (Andre's doppelgänger Trai Byers can actually sing), thus he's always been isolated from the family passion. To add insult to injury, Empire has always used the character's bipolar disorder diagnosis as a crutch that's constantly kicked for drama. This season, when the Dubois family tried to destroy the Lyons, they once again exploited Andre's mental illness so badly that he fell in love with and killed a woman that he entirely hallucinated. It was both unintentionally funny and tragic. Andre has long endured the short end of arcs, and hopefully after he recovers from being poisoned and more ghost sex than Izzie Stevens ever had, he will finally get an storyline equal that to the other musical Lyons.
Queen Sugar, OWN
Unless you follow diehard Queen Sugar fans on Twitter, you are probably missing out on one of the best shows on television. Why? Because it's the exquisitely written, acted creation from visionary Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey has been largely ignored by the entertainment industry, including mainstream awards like Emmy, Gold Globes, SAG Awards and more. Is it because Queen Sugar centers on the escapades of a black family struggling to maintain their Louisiana sugar farm? Is it because creator EP DuVernay has brazenly only chosen to only hire female directors? Is it because the writing focuses issues plaguing primarily black families like racism, police brutality, medical issues and more?
The answer is probably all of the above. And it's a shame, because Queen Sugar is a stunning and revolutionary family drama that is arguably better than addictive break-out, This Is Us and The Crown. If you don't believe me, check it out for yourself. Queen Sugar season 1 is streaming on Hulu.
And while we're at it, can we please stop decimating Ralph Angel's soul? He needs all the blessings in 2018.
Photo Credits: popsugar.com; outlander-online.com, tvfanatic.com, tvline.com, madamenoire.com, theinquistr.com, Oprah.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.