From Schitt’s Creek’s Jocelyn to Abbott Elementary’s Ava, here’s our pick for the most underrated actors on TV
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Last Updated: 03.41 PM, Mar 06, 2023
If the fiercely competitive world of streaming content has proven one thing, it has to be the fact that you don’t need to headline a show to shine and get noticed. This has been demonstrated by supporting character actors with distinguished conviction who have managed to capture our imagination and steal the show with their compelling turns. Here’s our list of the most underrated female TV characters who impressed us immensely and have earned a well-deserved fanbase of their own:
Lady Lyanna Mornmont from Game of Thrones (Bella Ramsey)
The 19-year-old British actress Bella Ramsey has recently become one of the most revered stars on television. Her turn as Ellie Williams in HBO’s The Last of Us is well on course to sweep a few major awards next year. But before her starring role in the hit video game adaptation, Ramsey earned a cult following for her portrayal of the fierce young ruler of Bear Island, Lady Lyanna Mormont, in Game of Thrones. The 13-year-old Lyanna had wisdom beyond her age, and the ability to verbally eviscerate even the wisest Lords and Ladies in Westeros with her wit, courage, and blunt retorts. Despite her age, she also conveyed a fearless warrior who led from the front in the Battle of Winterfell against the Night King and his army of the dead. One of the most spine-tingling moments in Game of Thrones was the iconic “The North remembers” scene when Lyanna named and shamed Lords Manderly, Cerwyn, and Glover, for their lack of courage, before throwing her full support behind House Stark to name Jon Snow as King in the North. And we thought a lady never tells!
Ava Coleman from Abbott Elementary (Janelle James)
The singularly kooky principal of Willard R. Abbott Elementary School has to be one of the most underrated characters on the Emmy-winning series. Self-indulgent, manipulative and utterly crude would be adjectives that would effectively describe this self-serving elementary school principal who couldn’t be less qualified or capable for her job. But the beautiful thing about Ava is that she couldn’t care less. A relentless motormouth who says it like it is, her one-liners have to be the most savage ones on the show. Janelle James who plays Ava brings a natural flair to the character and it helps a lot that the actress has her comic timing on point, managing to nail every scene she features in.
Ruby Matthews from Sex Education (Mimi Keene)
The on-again, off-again love story of Asa Butterfield’s Otis and Emma Mackey’s Maaeve in the hit Netflix comedy series Sex Education forms the central premise of the story. Sitcoms fans often use the term ‘endgame’ to slot couples who they feel should end up together before the series folds. As one would expect Otis and Maeve were widely acknowledged as the only endgame for Sex Education. However, when Mimi Keene’s Ruby Matthews unexpectedly enters Otis’s life there appears to have been a shift in public perception as to who Otis should end up with. What began as a fling between the most popular girl in school and the socially awkward nerd, quickly escalates to a more serious relationship with Ruby surprisingly becoming more invested in Otis. Even though Ruby is depicted as the stereotypical ‘mean girl’ at first, it is later revealed that her persona is a well-maintained facade to hide her insecurities and vulnerabilities. By the end of the fourth season, Ruby becomes a far more complex character, a far cry from the one-dimensional arc she had in season one.
Jocelyn Schitt from Schitt’s Creek (Jennifer Robertson)
Jocelyn Schitt, the First Lady of the small town of Schitt’s Creek, in the multiple Emmy-award-winning series, Schitt’s Creek, is arguably one of the most endearing characters on television. One might even dismiss the amiable and earnest Jocelyn at first as a supporting character who only adds little value and is thus of little consequence to the overall story. However, her character is later depicted to be intelligent and also packs a steely determination to get things done. As a doting mother, a loving wife, a devoted school teacher, and the leader of the all-female Capella group, the Jazzagals, we’re assured that Jocelyn does not shy away from responsibilities. And notably, she even often goes out of her way to help friends. Many would applaud her limits of endurance considering the fact that she’s put up with her eccentric husband Roland for years. So all things considered, Jocelyn truly deserves a place on this list for her infinite patience and compassion. The character is played to perfection by Canadian actress Jennifer Robertson.
Ada Shelby from Peaky Blinders (Sophie Rundle)
Sophie Rundle’s depiction of Ada Shelby in the hit British gangster series Peaky Blinders went from being a naive young woman in love with a revolutionary to a powerful woman in the upper echelons of high society. Even though Ada insists on several occasions that she has little to no interest in being involved in the criminal enterprise helmed by her older brother Tommy, she becomes the de facto leader of the Blinders in his absence. And she proves more than capable of holding her own when she’s pitted against dangerous and powerful individuals. One might even argue that her restrained approach is more effective than Tommy’s cold, manipulative, and at times unforgiving, methods in navigating the intricacies of the criminal underworld.
Princess Carolyn from BoJack Horseman (Amy Sedaris)
One must have all of their mental faculties intact if they were to have any sort of relationship with BoJack Horseman, the titular character of the adult animated series. And Princess Carolyn, voiced by Amy Sedaris, has had her sanity tested by Bojack on more than a few occasions, as she happens to be his former manager, former agent, and even his former love interest. She has also proven on numerous occasions that the ‘horse’ from Horsin' Around cannot or will not truly crush her spirits. The pink Persian cat may have surely exhausted a few of her nine lives over the years, but she finally finds the happiness she yearned for at the end of the series through sheer will and determination. No wonder she’s our favourite pussycat and she surely deserves to be recognised for contributing to the show’s overwhelming popularity.
Well thats the List hai toh hit hai episode for today on OTTplay, until the next one its your host Nikhil signing out.
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Written by Kunal Guha and Ryan Gomez