Fictional TV characters aren’t meant to be loved by all. There are some that are written to drive you nuts and some that you would like to see killed off. The point is that they’re usually on a show for a specific reason. Even the most annoying and unlikable characters serve a purpose (I’m talking about you, Joffrey Baratheon). No matter if they’re beloved, hated, main, major, supporting or guest characters, they usually have a reason for being on their show. Inevitably though, there are some that appear on your screen and make you think: “Why are they on this show?” or “Ugh. Who is this again?”.
Usually TV writers have a plan for a character, but sometimes it’s obvious that the writers have hit a dead end and simply don’t know what to do with a character anymore. This is the case with most characters that serve no purpose on TV these days. At first it was necessary to have them on the show, but now they literally serve to take up screen time. If the TV gods are good, they are killed off. If not, you just have to endure them. Take a look at these characters that are infamous for their pointlessness, and try not to groan.
10. John Bates, “Downton Abbey”
In season one of Julian Fellowes period drama, Mr. Bates was introduced as a replacement for Lord Grantham’s previous valet. He walked with a cane and was the target of the constantly failing plots of fellow “downstairs” workers Thomas and O’Brien. He also developed a relationship with Anna, a pretty likable housemaid. In other words, I was rooting for him. It was when he was accused of killing his ex-wife that things went downhill.
His entire season three story was the most tedious and boring plots that has ever come out of this show that relies on soap rather than grit. It added nothing to an already messy season, and did nothing to develop his character. If I had to see him read or write another letter to Anna again I might have stopped watching all together. When he finally became a free man again at the end of the season, I had to breathe a sigh of relief. Here’s to hoping next season gives Bates something better to work with.
This article was first posted on March 10, 2013