Comedy shows like The Big Bang Theory or dramas like Grey’s Anatomy have had long runs on television, and that longevity has helped them remain part of pop culture even after they’ve gone off of the air. With long-running series also comes long-running cast members.
While many shows may feature episodes in which certain characters don’t appear, so as to give the actor a break, there have been characters who during the run of their show have appeared in every single episode, from pilot to finale. These are some of the most notable.
10Temperance “Bones” Brennan – Bones
When the TV show Bones debuted in 2005 it was following a trend of forensic drama shows that had garnered steam beginning with CSI, but it managed to find a unique tone and last 12 years. Bones is centered on the forensic anthropologist Temperance “Bones” Brennan as she consults on cases for the FBI.
While Bones may not have had the cultural impact of CSI or Law & Order, it managed to accomplish what those shows never could: keeping a consistent cast for more than a decade. This allowed for deeper fan appreciation of the characters, and meant that even if an episode was a little less interesting, the characters’ chemistry still keep viewers glued to the screen.
9Danny Reagan – Blue Bloods
Family ties are what form the basis of CBS’s Blue Bloods, which has aired since 2010 and focuses on several generations of an Irish-American family in law enforcement. There may be plenty of facts fans didn’t know about Danny Reagan, but one that wouldn’t surprise most of them is that he’s appeared in every episode.
While he isn’t the only character to accomplish this feat, Danny is the show’s starring character, the frequent focal point of episodes and the heir apparent, so to speak, of his father’s legacy. Fans get to watch his character grow as a father and son during the series, as well as deal with post-traumatic stress syndrome as a veteran, both of which humanize him and endear him to audiences.
8Alan Harper – Two And A Half Men
The first actor viewers associate with Two and a Half Men is no doubt Charlie Sheen, but it’s actually Jon Cryer’s character, Alan, who’s appeared the most. Had Sheen’s departure from the show not occurred, perhaps he would be sharing this honor.
Alan is intentionally written to be the foil of his brother, Charlie, because like in all sitcoms, the comedy originates from the contrasts between the main characters. Trying to salvage the show with Ashton Kutcher’s replacement of Charlie was a noble effort, but it simply doesn’t work, making Alan’s annoying qualities stand out even more.
7Frasier Crane – Frasier
One of the most successful TV spinoffs ever, Frasier originated with the character of Frasier Crane leaving Cheers, on which he had appeared almost as much as the main stars, and heading up his own show. In-universe, it’s a therapy call-in show; in the real world, it was Frasier.
Frasier is definitely a show of its time when it comes to how its main characters act, especially in regards to Frasier’s retired-cop father. However, it was the very fact that it fit so well in its time that the show remained on the air so long, and between Cheers and it, Frasier Crane was on TV for over 19 years, meaning his unbroken stint on his own show is only half of his entire televisual lifespan.
6Sheldon Cooper – The Big Bang Theory
The Big Bang Theory‘s core-four nerds and Penny were the main stars beginning in season one, but if there’s one character who stole the spotlight immediately, it was Sheldon Cooper, played brilliantly by Jim Parsons. Whereas his roommate Leonard pretty well understands social expectations, Sheldon is blind to them until he develops a relationship with Amy.
All that needs to be pointed out is that Sheldon is the only Big Bang Theory character to get a spinoff, in 2018’s Young Sheldon. It may be popular to criticize the show’s success, but Parsons manages to be both charming and hilarious in this role, and even the harshest critics have to give credit to this performance.
5Sam & Dean Winchester – Supernatural
When Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles debuted as Supernatural’s Sam and Dean Winchester in 2005, there was no way anyone could have predicted the astronomical success the show experienced, lasting for 15 entire years and spawning one of the most loyal fanbases ever.
The supernatural-entity-hunting brothers explore plenty of different types of exciting monsters, while also delving into its human drama just as much. While the show justly received flak because of how much it used queer-baiting between Dean and Castiel, it also featured a wonderful duo in Sam & Dean, as well as supporting characters who kept the show fresh and engaging.
4Peter, Lois, & Chris Griffin – Family Guy
The Griffin family is one of the most iconic in all of animation history, but only Peter, Lois, and Chris have appeared in every episode of Family Guy. The others have had one-or-two-episode absences at least once in the show’s history.
Family Guy’s detractors point to it as a clone of The Simpsons except without the smart writing. But the show did manage to find its own voice as well as a unique satirical take on American working-class life that helps separate the Griffins from their yellow compatriots. It may have spawned a series of rotten imitators trying to cash in on its success, but that’s not really on the original show.
3Meredith Grey – Grey’s Anatomy
Meredith Grey appears the most in Grey’s Anatomy, which isn’t surprising given the fact that the show is named after her (although in a pun on the classic medical textbook Gray’s Anatomy). Could the setting of Grey’s Anatomy work without Meredith Grey? Sure.
However, its premise certainly wouldn’t. While she isn’t the sole focus of the show, Grey is the audience’s ally in terms of whose point-of-view is seen the most, and shows live and die based on how much the audience can invest in their characters. Medical dramas are a dime a dozen these days, but the halls of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital are nothing without Meredith as a guiding hand.
2Matt Dillon – Gunsmoke
Until Law & Order: SVU’s Olivia Benson passed the character in terms of years on the air, that record was held by Gunsmoke’s Matt Dillon, who still holds the record for number of appearances in a live-action TV show of all time, at 635 episodes. His actor, James Arness, had a great paycheck for 20 years.
As Gunsmoke aired from 1955 to 1975, even the most recent seasons can seem dated by today’s standards, but as long as viewers know what to expect going in, they’re in for a good, if long, time with the character. Like other long-running shows, the appeal is getting to feel as if you’re aging with the characters on screen, living your life alongside theirs. With Matt Dillon, that’s certainly the case.
1The Simpsons Family, Minus Bart – The Simpsons
There’s one episode that will never be found on any list of Bart Simpson’s funniest Simpsons episodes, and it’s “Four Great Women and a Manicure” from season 20, the only Simpsons episode in which Bart doesn’t appear.
All other members of the main Simpsons family have been in every episode of their eponymous series since the show began, and have thus become the defining sitcom family of American TV, thanks in no small part to being on the air for almost 33 years. The show may be past its golden years, but it still needs its stars if it’s going to air at all.
The post 10 Characters To Appear In Every Episode Of Their Long-Running Show appeared first on Movies.