Top 10 Character Introduction TV EpisodesWhen a television show introduces a new character or two, it's usually a flip of the coin. They can be a game changer or a game wrecker. Some episodes introduce a new character that changes the show so much, you wonder how the show functioned without them. Other new characters, however, are given luke-warm reception and as such are written out of the show as if they never existed. In this list, we'll be going over some of the most iconic episodes that introduced new characters, for better and for worse.
When it comes to the epitome of nerdiness, there's really no topping Steve Urkel from Family Matters. Played by Jaleel White, Urkel was actually designed to be a one-time character played for laughs but proved so popular, the writers eventually made him a permanent character and eventually the face of Family Matters. He was so popular, he even got his own breakfast cereal and I believe a doll of some kind. Of course, Jaleel has no intention of reprising his role in any live-action format. The last time he reprised his role was in the episode "When Urkel-bots Go Bad" in "Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?" And feel free to reply to this if there's any solid news of Jaleel playing Steve in any future animated roles.
After a few episodes of the show, Jason David Frank plays the iconic Tommy Oliver in this 5-part epic where Rita Repulsa makes him the Green Ranger after he proves his martial arts skill equal to Jason's. While Tommy proves to be more than what the rangers can handle, they discover that the Sword of Darkness is what's keeping him under Rita's control and destroy it, freeing Tommy and allowing him to join the group as the Green Ranger. But Rita eventually uses the green candle to rob Tommy of his powers, forcing him to give his coin to Jason. The reason for this was so that Jason Frank could play a protagonist in another Saban show VR Troopers. But Tommy proved so popular that he returned in "Return of an Old Friend Part II" and has been a staple of the show all the way up to "Passing the Torch Part II" in Power Rangers Turbo. He even returns in Power Rangers: Dino Thunder, proving to be one of the most popular characters in the Power Rangers mythos.
In the original Japanese version, the episode is called "A Handsome Boy? Haruka Tenoh's Secret" and it introduces two new sailor senshi in the series; Sailor Uranus/Haruka Tenoh and Sailor Neptune/Michiru Kaioh (or Amara and Michelle in the English dub respectively). Even though Sailor Moon and the other Sailor Senshi's are after the same goal, these two have no qualms about sacrificing human life and this doesn't jive well with the others. Uranus and Neptune were also notable for being a lesbian couple, something which was taken out of the English Dub and got a lot of fans upset. In said Dub, they were portrayed as cousins and it just felt wrong on too many levels. Thankfully, we now have the option of watching Sailor Moon in all it unedited glory.
While Sideshow Bob was first seen in "The Telltale Head", this is the episode where he makes his speaking debut as Bart's eternal nemesis. Voiced to perfection by Kelsey Grammar, Sideshow Bob really made an impact in this episode. Tired of being in Krusty's shadow, Bob decides to frame him for armed robbery so he can become a star in his own right. After Bart and Lisa expose him, Bob develops a deep-seated hatred not just for Bart, but for the rest of the family over the course of the series. Even though he doesn't appear regularly, that's part of what makes him so special as he definitely makes an impact in each episode where he's one of the main characters. It looks like he'll continue to make appearances as long as Kelsey Grammar is still able and willing to provide his voice.
When Family Guy made its debut, there were definitely some similarities between it and The Simpsons. But Family Guy was to The Simpsons as Mortal Kombat was to Street Fighter II; they share some similarities but the formers were for the older crowd. Not to mention its cast of characters is more wacky, such as Joe Swanson (voiced by Patrick Warburton), a police officer confined to a wheelchair after a supposed attempted robbery at an orphanage. After Peter accidentally takes out the ringer for the "Happy-Go-Lucky" Toy Factory's baseball team, Mr. Weed demands Peter finds a replacement if he wants to keep his job. He finds one only to find out that he's confined to a wheelchair. But to everyone's surprise (and Peter Chagrin), Joe ends up winning the game. As the show continued, Joe has been able to be more capable than most police officers despite being unable to use his legs, proving that the term 'disability' is all just a state of mind.
Batman has had a sidekick since 1940 when Robin debut in Detective Comics #38. So why not give the Joker one? Surprisingly for some people, Harley never appeared in any comics until her debut episode and it pretty much changed the landscape of the Batman mythos forever afterwards. She was originally a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum who tried to make a name for herself by curing Joker. However, she fell in love with him, broke him out and started a life of crime together. And, the rest as they say, is history.
While some might find South Park's humor to be raunchy and inappropriate, you have to give it credit for it to be able to adapt with the times. After Principle Victoria is sacked from her job at South Park Elementary, PC Principle (real name is Peter Charles) is hired in her place and his debut certainly makes an impact. He's the enforcer of Political Correctness and is so strict, he even beats Eric Cartman to the point where he has to be hospitalized. Safe to say, his debut was a major game changer for the show. And who can forget his catchphrase? "You better watch your micro aggressions, bro!" Classic.
Even though Casey made an appearance in the 1990's cartoon, he was in only a few episodes. The 2003 reboot however, gave his character way more depth and he felt like an actual key character rather than a one-timer. In this episode, Raphael goes topside to vent some steam and sees a vigilante wearing a hockey mask and using sporting equipment to fight crime. However, Ralph doesn't approve of Casey's methods and it's not long before they get in a real jam. Ever since then, Casey has felt like a true regular along with April O' Neil, among others.
Three grown men trying to raise three daughters can be tiresome and make for all kinds of mishaps. In the second season episode Tanner vs. Gibbler, we see Danny getting removed from the sportscaster position at a TV station and is paired with Rebecca Donaldson in the morning show Wake Up, San Francisco. However, she would appear in more episodes later on and join the main cast as Jessie's wife, thus giving the girls the motherly figure that they desperately need.
Even though The Flintstones were designed to be watched primarily by adults, it can be enjoyed by children from time to time. One key moment in Fred and Wilma's life is the birth of their one and only child Pebbles. Shortly after, Barney and Betty Rubble adopt a son named Bamm-Bamm and the two share a tight bond from childhood until they get married. It shows how having children is always a game changer.