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The Most Likable (and Unlikable) Characters on Television Today



We all have those characters we endlessly adore, where everything they do makes us smile. 


Similarly, there are those we’d prefer to see thrown into a fire rather than hear them talk, or at least we’d like to see them suffer in some capacity that doesn’t necessarily need to involve arson.  


Here is a list of some of the most likable and unlikable characters gracing or tainting our screens today. 


Beth Pearson (This Is Us) – Most Likable 


Beth is first on this list for a reason. She defines radiance and defies one-dimensionality.


She is both tough and soft. She doesn’t take anyone’s BS, calling Randall and her daughters out when they are being thorns in her side, then she welcomes them into her arms when they need compassion and support. 


She is a wonderful mother and has a blossoming career in teaching ballet, offering her students the same love she offers her family. She does it all with grace and determination.


Every time she speaks, she commands the room, her presence unmatched by the other characters on the show, save for her hubby. Randall would be on this list if his wife weren’t so ravishing in spirit and appearance. She is quite simply the peak of full-bodied characterization. 


Emily Cooper (Emily in Paris) – Most Unlikable

Making Strides in Paris - Emily in Paris


I’m a massive fan of Lily Collins, so it pains me to put a character of hers on this list, but my god, Emily is insufferable. 


When given a chance to do the right thing, Emily invariably chooses to do the opposite.


To sleep or not to sleep with her friend’s ex? Sleep it is, then use another guy as a distraction when she realizes she crossed a line, fooling him into thinking he’ll ever measure up to her sexy French chef. 


Why do these ridiculously gorgeous men fall for Emily so immediately? Is her constant use of her phone, immaturity, and tacky fashion sense that captivating? (Clashing patterns don’t equate to high fashion.)


Emily gets away with everything because she’s pretty and peppy, but she should’ve gone back to America after the first episode. I guess Emily in America doesn’t have the same ring to it. 


Barry Allen (The Flash) – Most Likable

Barry Allen - The Flash Season 7 Episode 4


Barry Allen has had my swooning heart in the palm of his gentle hands since 2014. What is more lovable than a handsome yet goofy man with brains to boot?


Our speedster puts his precious life on the line every day to save his beloved city. He sees the good in *almost* everyone (Thawne deserves no pity) and is the king of second chances. 


Barry’s superhero status aside, he has a great personality. He’s charming, sometimes awkward in an endearing way, and cracks a good joke now and again.


With the amount of death Barry has seen, he should be bitter and selfish, yet he remains optimistic, with expected moments of despair. We can’t forget when he sang “Running Home to You” to Iris like the sentimental mush-puppy he is. Iris is his world. 


Joe Goldberg (YOU) – Most Unlikable

Joe watching -- You


Only a person of questionable morals would like a serial killer. Admittedly, I had questionable morals in YOU Season 1


It’s hard not to root for the bettering of the fictional bad guy. I willed Joe to give up dismembering human bodies and take up pottery, but alas, the psycho stuck. 


Joe Goldberg is a certified creep in nondescript clothing. He spends his days stalking and watching women undress through windows — bonus if he steals their underwear. 


The worst thing about Joe? He justifies his violent impulses and, somehow, always escapes in the end with a trail of bodies in his wake. 


Kate Sharma (Bridgerton) – Most Likable

Kate Sharma -- Bridgerton


One aspect of Kate that makes her so appealing is her backbone.


In a time when women were raised to be wives and mothers, rather than having their own aspirations beyond caregiving, it was refreshing to see someone with no intention of getting married — initially, that is. Love happens!


Yes, Kate should not have lied to Edwina about the deal with her irascible grandparents, but she did it out of an impressive commitment to Edwina’s happiness and future. Can we fault her for that?


Kate’s fiery wit is but another positive attribute of hers. She is full of quips and expressive smirks. 


As a viscountess, she will undoubtedly continue to carry her head high, speak her mind, and dominate at pall mall.


Meredith Grey (Grey’s Anatomy) – Most Unlikable 

Pro Bono Day  - Grey's Anatomy Season 16 Episode 18


I have never liked Meredith, even when the rest of the world seemed to rave about her.


After her stint doing nothing but smiling wistfully out at the ocean in her mind while lying corpse-like in a hospital bed, perhaps others have joined my anti-Meredith bandwagon.


It’s hard to pinpoint what about Meredith is so off-putting. To sound contemporary, I’ll say it’s her energy: sometimes arrogant, sometimes whiny, primarily negative. 


Ever since Nick re-entered the picture, she’s been less grating, pleasant, even, but I’m going off majority here, and 17 years of lousy energy wins. 


Spencer James (All American) – Most Likable 

Conflicted Spencer - All American Season 4 Episode 9


There is no questioning the pureness of Spencer James’ heart. He has proven time and time again that he is a kind, decent man who will fight for what and whom he believes in. He is an everyday hero — a great friend, son, and brother.


Sometimes his savior complex and perfectionism can be a detriment, putting him in tough spots, but when troubled, he has an unwavering team of people backing him up. What goes around comes around, as they say. 


There’s just something about Spencer. Maybe it’s his smile or smooth charm. Maybe it’s the way he respects Olivia, treating her like the queen she is. Maybe it’s that he’s a mama’s boy. Maybe it’s all of him.


When someone’s only flaw is being too selfless (and a wee bit too competitive), you know they’re an exemplary human specimen. 


Cheryl Blossom (Riverdale) – Most Unlikable 

Head Coach - Riverdale Season 5 Episode 9


Every single line that comes out of Cheryl’s mouth is cringey. She is the most cringey character on TV, in my humble opinion. 


Her words are saturated in Splenda and watered-down venom. It’s like listening to a toddler playing an entitled mean girl.


She tries to sound eloquent by tossing SAT words into her petty, melodramatic jabs, but it only makes her more annoying, as does the litany of lame nicknames she doles out. 


She’s rude to her so-called friends, then will hop on her throne and ask them to do her bidding, as if they owe her anything but pity for the vapid existence she leads, colored her “signature red.” 


I may be Hellbound for saying this, but I wish Archie would have left her to drown in that frozen river. *Hair flip*


Gael Martinez (Good Trouble) – Most Likable 

Paying Debts  - Good Trouble Season 4 Episode 4


Ah, sweet Gael. Yes, his dimples and contagious smile add to his likability, but he’s also just a really good guy, full of empathy. 


He rose to the occasion spectacularly when he found out Isabella was pregnant with his child.


Most notably, he worked extra hours painting for his unbearable boss — not taking the credit for his pieces, might I add — so he could pay for Isabella to stay at the Coterie. 


He will be a fantastic father, showering his daughter with the unconditional love every child deserves. 


Charmaine Roberts (Virgin River) – Most Unlikable 

A Friendly Suggestion  - Virgin River


Charmaine is the definition of a wet noodle. Hearing her speak is almost painful.


Aside from being boring, Charmaine is manipulative and immature. I get she wishes she and Jack had stayed together, but that doesn’t give her the right to treat Mel so poorly, and Jack, for that matter. 


All Jack wants is to be a part of his kids’ lives and be a good father, yet Charmaine is so petty she seeks to strip him of that role and will go to court to do so.


Does she not realize that will negatively impact her children, too? A selfish disaster of a woman. 


Alicia (The Sex Lives of College Girls) – Most Likable

Alicia -- Sex Lives of College Girls


Running the Women’s Center at Essex is no small task, and Alicia does so with fire and patience. She has a knack for sarcasm and kindness, and she supports the women and nonbinary folks around her without question. 


I applaud Alicia for sitting through laughable performances at her events without cracking up — when Leighton’s not around. She takes people seriously. 


One of her best moments was when she broke things off with Leighton, not because she didn’t care for her but because she was unwilling to be pulled back into the closet. 


Alicia is out and proud. She knows her worth and won’t allow a preppy blond with a mean streak to jeopardize it.


Samantha Russo (Cobra Kai) – Most Unlikable 

Sam's Fierce Moves  - Cobra Kai Season 4 Episode 9


Sam used to be a fairly likable character, but she became an expert at playing the victim somewhere along the way. She is whiny, chronically pouting, and hypocritical. 


To put it plainly, Sam is a brat.


Lest we forget, she kissed Miguel while she was dating Robby, didn’t tell Robby even after their conversation about honesty, and then told Robby he broke her heart. Since when does the cheater get to cast the blame? Sam has some nerve. 


Honorable mention: when Sam visited Aisha in Santa Barbara to drone on about Tory rather than to see how Aisha was doing after the move. Sam has never been a good friend to Aisha. Has she to anyone?


Erik Whitley (Sweet Magnolias) – Most Likable 

Sexy Chef Erik - Sweet Magnolias Season 2 Episode 5


Erik is a gem. I wish nothing but the best for him, as that is what he wishes upon others. 


He is also a rock for those who need him most, like Isaac, Dana Sue, and Helen. With his calming presence and kind eyes, there is no burden Erik cannot ease. (And he gives the best hugs.)


Erik expertly handled Helen’s grief, being there for her but not pushing her to quickly move on and get back on her feet, as some would do. He understands loss. So much has been taken from him, yet he lives a giving life. What an honorable man. 


Being a chef with EMT training, Erik can cook you a dynamite dinner and save your life. Need I say more? 


Eleanor Wong (Never Have I Ever) – Most Unlikable 

Eleanor Wong -- Never Have I Ever


Thanks to her overdone theatrics, Eleanor has been annoying from day one, but annoying I could deal with because she was mildly entertaining and a good friend.


Then Eleanor ditched her friends and dumped Oliver for a toxic new boyfriend whose status and looks carried more weight than years of friendship. 


In the past, Devi was a bad friend to Eleanor, so Eleanor slighting her was not so awful, but Fabiola didn’t deserve Eleanor’s cold shoulder. 


Lastly, Eleanor is unjustifiably rude to her stepmother, which would be understandable if Sharon were of the wicked variety, but she is a total sweetheart, just trying to get closer to Eleanor. Backhanded compliments are not compliments, Eleanor. 


Felix Weston (Love, Victor) – Most Likable

Felix -- Love, Victor


Felix is a quirky ball of enthusiasm, spreading joy and humor wherever he rolls, despite his difficult home life. 


He is good to his core, standing up to Andrew and being sympathetic to Lake even when she initially treated him like he was second-rate. (It felt very Stiles and Lydia to me. Teen Wolf fans get it.)


And who could forget when he reminded Victor that he didn’t have to have sex before he was ready. We need more Felixes in the world. 


Felix is the endearingly weird, adorable, self-deprecating, well-mannered man of my dreams. 


Ward Cameron (Outer Banks) – Most Unlikable 

Ward Crumbes - Outer Banks Season 2 Episode 6


Ward was never the kind of guy you’d want to grab a drink with — toasting with him seemed like sealing your fate in some vaguely negative way — but he reached an all-time low when he went from greedy and intimidating to full-on murderous psycho. 


The emotional damage his children endured because of him is appalling.


He faked his death in front of Sarah, and then he attempted to kill her; that does more than mess with one’s mind.


Ward claims he’d do anything for his family. I guess that means weeding out the family members who disagree.


As for Rafe, all he wanted was his dad’s approval. He murdered Sheriff Peterkin to win Ward’s favor, for Pete’s sake.


If your kid thinks he has to kill someone to make you proud, you’re doing something wrong. 


Unfortunately, Rafe is becoming Ward’s mini-me. He witnessed Ward’s rage and mirrored it. Rafe even tried to kill Sarah, too. Like father, like son. How cute!  


Jesper Fahey (Shadow and Bone) – Most Likable


Jesper could charm the socks off a hamster; he’s so darn charismatic.

A Party Trick - Shadow and Bone Season 1 Episode 5


I have to cite when he boldly flirted with the stableboy. Being smooth comes naturally to him. As the kids say, he’s here for a good time, not a long time.


As a sharpshooter, he boasts a certain confidence. There is no room for hesitation or error in his line of work.


Jesper carries that confidence through to his style and smile. Catch him posing with his gun in the mirror and acknowledging he looks handsome. (He is easy on the eyes.)


To top it off, Jesper is fun-loving, adventurous, and loyal, three traits that make up a winsome personality. 


Lizzie Saltzman (Legacies) – Most Unlikable

Lizzie scowling to the side - Legacies Season 4 Episode 12


Lizzie has tried to become a better person for seasons now. While I do think she is finally beginning to change, this list accounts for who she has been up to now, and that person is a pest.  


Selfishness is embedded in Lizzie’s DNA. She uses the kind-hearted people who care about her to do her bidding without thinking about their feelings, like MG and Josie. She even admitted she could easily manipulate MG. 


Lizzie has been steamrolling Josie her whole life, putting her wants and needs above Josie’s. She expects Josie to drop everything for her, her problems always more pressing. 


I don’t think one episode goes by without Lizzie scowling, complaining, or saying something rude disguised as a joke. News flash: being mean isn’t funny. 


Nora Antony (Upload) – Most Likable 

Nora plays with Nathan's viral ears in Upload


Customer service reps are supposed to be personable, so it isn’t surprising that Nora is likable — though her job description looks a little different, given she works with the dead.


Nora finds beauty in a world that has reared its ugly head at her time and time again and helps others see that beauty, too. 


She is caring and quick-witted, bringing out the best in those around her, giving her a spot on this list. 


Anyone else you’d add to this list? Let us know in the comments below. 

Ashley Myers is a staff writer for TV Fanatic, who you can follow on Twitter.





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