9 Characters Who Saved Failing TV Shows

Knights in shining prop armor.

It's Always Sunny

Sustained success for a TV show isn't always easy. Consistent quality is never a given -- unless the show has the words Law & Order somewhere in its title -- and even the most critically-acclaimed, ratings darlings are bound to hit a slump somewhere in their run. When that happens, it might be necessary to inject some new blood into the mix.

The same can be said for a show that hits the skids right out of the gate. There are plenty of examples of soon-to-be iconic TV shows that didn't quite catch on with the public until a couple of seasons in. What changed? Sometimes just a cast member or two.

Getting audiences to fall in love with a new character can be tough, as well, and it's certainly no guarantee that this fresh face will revive a show all by themselves. In fact, they may just ruin the show once and for all. (We call this the "Cousin Oliver Syndrome.")

But every once in a while there comes a knight in shining prop armor -- a savior backed by the majestic sounds of a laugh track -- riding onto set in a white trailer to save the day. These are those characters.

9. Castiel - Supernatural

It's Always Sunny
The CW

Castiel is a comically serious fallen angel sent to help Sam and Dean Winchester in their battle against Satan. He's an emotionless, hopelessly deadpan, secret badass who constantly fails to grasp the intricacies of the human condition. Basically, he's Spock in an overcoat.

Castiel arrived at the opening of Season 4, promising a much more grandiose mythology for the show to riff on. His wasn't your typical "monster of the week" storyline, which the show had pretty much driven into the ground after three seasons. The emergence of Cas hinted at an epic tale of good versus evil that would propel the show into its finest hour: the Season 5 finale.

Castiel may have been unfeeling, but his injection into the show ironically proved its capabilities as an emotional powerhouse. And it's inconceivable to think that the pre-Cas version of Supernatural -- find monster, kill monster, discover much more evil monster on the horizon, repeat -- could have lasted nearly 300 episodes.

Also, let's not play coy here. The dynamic between Dean and Castiel is much more satisfying than the angsty, brotherly love/hate thing Dean and Sam have been trotting out for over a decade. Their fictitious friendship is as strong as any that's ever been written for a television serial, and a major reason viewers keep tuning in.


Jacob is a part-time contributor for WhatCulture, specializing in music, movies, and really, really dumb humor.