50 Greatest HBO Characters

From Soprano to Stark...

Adam Sackler - Girls (2012-)

The Character: A twenty-something part-time artist/actor/woodworker hailing from New York, Adam (Adam Driver) embarks on a bizarre sexual relationship with the show’s protagonist, Hannah, in spite of his raging social awkwardness.

Greatest Moment: After his girlfriend ignores his request to not invite her friends over for dinner, she asks them over anyway. Does he blow up at her for not listening to his most polite ask?

Nope - he’s a true gent, who happily engages with her friends’ inane banter without raising so much as an eyebrow.

Key Quote: “My desire for you cannot be repressed. And to quit my pursuit would be to shirk self-respect and abandon my own manhood, and that’s not going to happen.”

The Crypt Keeper - Tales From The Crypt (1989-1996)

The Character: A quick-witted corpse, who popped forth from a coffin to introduce each episode of the anthology show, The Crypt Keeper’s duty of prepping viewers for the story to come was achieved in a most repugnant manner.

Greatest Moment: Whenever a tidal wave of green slime and goo pours down his face - tres gruesome.

Key Quote: “I look into the future, my darlings... and for you, I see something... grotesque. It will sicken and disgust you! It's me!”

Will McAvoy - The Newsroom (2012-)

The Character: The head news anchor on News Night , Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) is another fine Aaron Sorkin creation; at times alienating and embarrassing but most importantly, he’s very, very watchable.

Greatest Moment: In the show’s opening scenes, Will attends Northwestern University and delivers one of the first seasons most compelling speeches (and there’s a lot) - showcasing McAvoy’s fervent personality.

Key Quote: “First step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore.”

Samson - Carnivale (2003-2005)

The Character: The diminutive manager of the carnival, Samson (Michael J. Anderson) relays orders from Management to the fellow carnies with a dry wit that lifted him from a performer into the ranks of the supervisory.

Greatest Moment: Shooting one of the barkeeps in Babylon, proving Samson’s willingness to stretch the honour of the Code when his own sense of right and wrong suggests his loyalty would be better served differently.

Key Quote: “When it comes to livin', dying is the easy part.”

Corporal Merriel Shelton - The Pacific (2010)

The Character: Cpl. Shelton (Rami Malek) supervises new Marine recruits and landed the nickname Snafu by his comrades on account of his cocksure arrogance adopted during World War II.

Greatest Moment: Aware of his own eroded humanity, he stops his buddy Sledge from pulling the golden teeth from the corpse of a Japanese soldier - saving him from the same descent into darkness.

Key Quote: [To a girl on the train] “How about I take you to the back of the train and show me your caboose?”

Titus Pullo - Rome (2005-2007)

The Character: In the sprawling landscape of the Roman legion, Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson) manages to mesmerise the viewer with his typical everyman qualities; his brash nonchalant behaviour a mask for his spiritual quandaries.

Greatest Moment: Following a brief dalliance into criminal behaviour, Pullo has been found guilty of murdering a political figure and is sentenced to die in the arena. His acceptance of his fate, and refusal to fight - he asks the gladiators to just kill him - does a 180 when his legion is insulted.

He goes beserk and kills everyone.

Key Quote: “Me, I have simpler tastes. I like to kill my enemies, take their gold and enjoy their women”

Captain Nixon - Band Of Brothers (2001)

The Character: An officer in Easy Company, the Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne, Captain Nixon (Ron Livingston) rallies his men with a free-spirited likeability, never better witnessed than his time with comrade Richard Winters (Damian Lewis.)

Greatest Moment: After capturing Hitler’s ‘eagle nest’ Winters ushers his buddy into Herman Goering’s store room, which to their surprise is chocked full of booze. Nixon proceeds to get blasted in celebration of the war’s end.

Key Quote:

Winters: Oh, if uh... they do run into any trouble, will you let me know?
Nixon: Yeah. You run into any bacon sandwich, do the same, all right?

Mildred Pierce - Mildred Pierce (2011)

The Character: Joan Crawford’s performance as Mildred in the 1945 feature was deserved of its Oscar, in a typically-showy role for the actress. Kate Winslet’s Mildred however is a far more subtle creature. Struggling with her dastardly daughter, the evil peddling ways of her lover, Monty, and all the while launching a restaurant... she’s a force to be reckoned with.

Greatest Moment: In the series’ parting scene, as Mildred seeks comfort in her husband Bert with whom she’d recently reconciled, she manages to let go of her torturous daughter, muttering beneath her breath “To hell with Veda.”

Key Quote: “Let’s get stinko!”

The Angel America - Angels In America (2003)

The Character: HBO’s mini-series centring around the trials of Prior Walter, a gay man succumbing to AIDS, Emma Thompson’s performance as the verbose and terribly witty angel who visits him steals the show in every scene.

Greatest Moment: Her first appearance before Walter, transported into his New York on a bed of sunbeams - his gaping mouth pretty much sums up her spectacular entrance.

Key Quote: “You have prevailed Prophet. The choice is yours. Now release me; I have torn a muscle in my thigh.”

Johnny Drama - Entourage (2004-2011)

The Character: Brother to the show’s lead, Vincent Chase, Johnny (Kevin Dillon) might not be able to act his way out of a paper bag but his penchant for a dapper wardrobe and frequent dim-witted outbursts have made him a firm fan favourite.

Greatest Moment: Prior to his brother’s return from rehab in the final season, Johnny dons the marigolds, pops on a pinny and detoxes the house from top to bottom.

Key Quote: "Nobody appreciates their girlfriend. Until they get herpes from the next broad. Know what I'm saying?"