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Unsung Heros: HBO’s 25 Greatest Supporting Characters

Unsung Heros: HBO’s 25 Greatest Supporting Characters


No community has a extra prestigious resume than HBO. Over greater than 50 years in enterprise, Dwelling Field Workplace has defended its title of Heavyweight Champion of the Tv World many times, and it has performed so by creating essentially the most plausible, compelling characters fathomable. These legendary aspect characters seize what HBO is all about.

1. Al Swearengen: Deadwood

Deadwood (2004) Ian McShane
Picture Credit score: Paramount Community Tv.

In a South Dakota mining city that hosted the likes of Calamity Jane and Wild Invoice Hickok, fire-tongued bartender Al Swearengen might have been essentially the most intimidating of the lot. English actor Ian McShane is an achieved performer, however this can virtually actually be the position that defines his profession.

2. Tyrion Lannister: Recreation of Thrones

Game of Thrones (2011) Peter Dinklage
Picture Credit score: HBO Leisure.

Tyrion Lannister’s mischievous Machiavellianism and voluminous vocabulary instantly earned followers’ lasting adoration in a present that was the sum of its supporting actors (a lot of whom you would possibly argue had been actually essential characters).

3. Paulie Gualtieri: The Sopranos

The Sopranos Tony Sirico
Picture Credit score: HBO Leisure.

Paulie Walnuts was the mafioso of utilizing the unsuitable phrase within the unsuitable state of affairs. Although undeniably a gangster, Walnuts additionally accounted for a hefty portion of The Sopranos‘ comedian aid.

“Phrase to the smart: Bear in mind Pearl Harbor!”

4. Jimmy McNulty: The Wire

The Wire (2002) Dominic West
Picture Credit score: HBO Leisure.

If you happen to didn’t know that actor Dominic West was born in Sheffield, England, you’d have sworn he was a toddler of Attraction Metropolis. His flip as self-centered, workaholic (and alcoholic) Baltimore detective Jimmy McNulty stays the gold customary for dysfunctional police archetypes.

5. Ari Gold: Entourage

Entourage, The All Out Fall Out Jeremy Piven
Picture Credit score: HBO Leisure.

A bit little bit of Ari Gold goes a great distance. Happily, Entourage showrunner Doug Ellin sprinkled Jeremy Piven’s Gold (reportedly impressed by real-life superagent Ari Emanuel) all through the present. If Ari was to present a Ted Speak, it could be aptly titled “The Artwork of the Expletive.”

6. Omar Little: The Wire

The Wire, Home Rooms Michael Kenneth Williams
Picture Credit score: HBO Leisure.

The phrase “you come on the king, you finest not miss” stays one of many seminal quotes of tv’s Golden Period. The warning was one in all many memorable quotes uttered by road poet Omar Little, The Wire‘s lone wolf who made hardened criminals seem like mere sheep.

7. Logan Roy: Succession

Succession (2018) Brian
Picture Credit score: HBO Leisure.

An enormous of HBO’s 2020s catalog, Logan Roy was presumably the caricature of real-life media mogul Rupert Murdoch. Nonetheless, because of Brian’s at-times menacing (and, at occasions, pathetic) portrayal of the patriarchal billionaire, Logan Roy transcended no matter supply materials he originated from.

8. Junior Soprano: The Sopranos

The Sopranos (1999) Dominic Chianese
Picture Credit score: HBO Leisure.

In Junior’s phrases, his nephew Tony “by no means had the makings of a varsity athlete.” Nonetheless, there is no such thing as a debate that Junior’s biting one-liners, caramel-sweet methods with the women, and supreme descent into paranoia make him one in all HBO’s most memorable aspect characters.

9. Calamity Jane: Deadwood

Deadwood, Tell Him Something Pretty Robin Weigert
Picture Credit score: Dwelling Field Workplace.

Deadwood is a present that thrives on a deep roster of characters who play off one another’s managed mania. Robin Weigart’s Calamity Jane is among the sparks within the powderkeg that’s Deadwood, South Dakota. She is a foul-mouthed, soot-faced cowgirl who by no means hesitates to drag her aspect piece when she senses a perceived slight, which makes her a bonafide scene stealer.

10. Ramsay Bolton: Recreation of Thrones

Game of Thrones Iwan Rheon
Picture Credit score: HBO Leisure.

If the endless stream of true crime documentaries proves something, it is that People are fascinated by society’s sadists. It is no shock that Recreation of Thrones’ Ramsay Bolton is among the present’s most memorable personalities. Stigmatized by his standing as a love little one, Bolton took his internal angst out on others, leaving followers to surprise: When will this man’s karmic comeuppance lastly come?

11. Stringer Bell: The Wire

The Wire, Middle Ground Idris Elba
Picture Credit score: HBO Leisure.

An aspirational determine for these raised within the streets, Stringer Bell, was the CEO of The Wire‘s vaunted Barksdale Crew. But, regardless of ruling with a Rolex-clad first all through the present’s early season, Stringer’s ambition to go legit would precipitate his downfall.

A strolling, respiration, Coogi-wearing testomony to staying in your lane, Stringer Bell is simply as a lot a cautionary story as a tv character.

12. Leon Black: Curb Your Enthusiasm

Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000) J.B. Smoove
Picture Credit score: HBO Leisure.

Leon Black introduced out a aspect of Larry David that many viewers did not know Larry had. From bestowing the nickname “Lengthy Ball Larry” to dropping data equivalent to “You may’t pause toast, Larry. It loses its essence!”, Leon Black was the 5 Hour Power in Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s later seasons.

13. Titus Pullo: Rome

Rome (2005) Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson
Picture Credit score: HBO.

One among HBO’s most underappreciated reveals, Rome, centered closely on the connection between Roman troopers Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo. The lower-ranking brute within the partnership, Pullo introduced charisma, brawn, and brute power to a present that faithfully depicted the great, dangerous, and ugly of the Roman Empire.

14. Ralph Cifaretto: The Sopranos

The Sopranos, Employee of the Month Joe Pantoliano, Vincent Curatola
Picture Credit score: HBO Leisure.

Honestly, we could not be faulted if half of this record had been characters from The Sopranos not named Tony. But, Ralph Cifaretto manages to make the shortlist. 

Equal elements charming, revolting, and sadistic, Cifaretto suffers maybe essentially the most memorable demises in a present affected by memorable demises.

15. Erlich Bachman: Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley, Success Failure T.J. Miller
Picture Credit score: HBO Leisure.

Mike Decide’s Silicon Valley carved a lane of its personal on HBO as an irreverent ensemble comedy heavy on tech jargon. T.J. Miller’s Erlich Bachman turned the poster boy of this R-rated response to The Massive Bang Principle, although the actor’s off-screen antics in the end turned an excessive amount of for Decide and his crew to tolerate.

16. Gyp Rosetti: Boardwalk Empire

Boardwalk Empire (2010) Bobby Cannavale
Picture Credit score: HBO Leisure.

Bobby Cannavale cemented his standing as a hulking, limelight-hogging (in a great way) dynamo of an actor via his position as risky gangster Gyp Rosetti in Boardwalk Empire. Seemingly a person’s man, Rosetti had mommy points and an explosive mood, making him a must-watch character in one in all HBO’s finest reveals.

17. Johnny Drama: Entourage

Entourage, The End Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara
Picture Credit score: HBO Leisure.

Johnny Drama was the funniest component of Entourage, and it wasn’t significantly shut. Actor Kevin Dillon performed Johnny Chase, the less-accomplished older brother of performing celebrity Vinnie Chase. Dillon was working from expertise, as his real-life brother Matt Dillon has had much more success in Hollywood than he.

18. NoHo Hank: Barry

Barry (2018) Anthony Carrigan
Picture Credit score: HBO Leisure.

Barry‘s ultimate season left many viewers puzzled and disenchanted. By and huge, although, Barry was a smashing success, and Anthony Carrigna’s NoHo Hank completely captured Barry‘s off-the-wall tone. 

While you’re making a comedy present a couple of hitman, you want characters with a equally bi-polar aura. NoHo Hank was simply that.

19. Vernon Schillinger: Oz

Oz (1997) J.K. Simmons
Picture Credit score: HBO Authentic Programming.

Premiering in July 1997, Oz was one of many reveals that put HBO on the map as a gritty, no-limits various to censored community tv. J.Ok. Simmons’ Vernon Schillinger was the menacing chief of the Aryan Brotherhood’s presence within the Oswald State Penitentiary. 

Together with his booming baritone and unhinged grin, Simmons is an actor who all the time instructions your consideration.

20. Erroll Childress: True Detective

True Detective, Forrm and Void Glenn Fleshler
Picture Credit score: HBO Leisure.

After following a winding, unnerving path to the tip of True Detective’s first season, viewers are confronted by Glenn Fleshler’s Errol Childress. Dwelling in a distant shack in Erath, Louisiana, Childress proves to be the worthy monster that Woody Harrelson’s Marty Hart and Matthew McConaughey’s Rust Cohle have been pursuing.

21. John Stone: The Night time Of

The Night Of, Ordinary Death John Turturro
Picture Credit score: BBC Worldwide Productions.

The Night time Of is within the dialogue of HBO’s most underrated reveals, and John Turturro’s John Stone performs a considerable position on this hyper-authentic examination of New York Metropolis’s legal justice system. Stone is a legal protection lawyer with a debilitating pores and skin rash. 

Writers Richard Worth and Steven Zaillian use Stone as Exhibit A of their masterclass of “Character Growth 101.”

22. Tanya McQuoid: White Lotus

The White Lotus (2021) Jennifer Coolidge
Picture Credit score: HBO Leisure.

Jennifer Coolidge is an actress whose mere look makes you chuckle however who by no means fairly owned a starring position in any movie or TV present. White Lotus proved that Coolidge may carry a task all through a complete season of tv, sticking to her typical brainless schtick and succumbing to one of the crucial hilarious tv passings ever scripted.

23. Johnny Burns: Deadwood

Deadwood, Requiem for a Gleet Brad Dourif, Sean Bridgers
Picture Credit score: Dwelling Field Workplace.

Removed from a lead character, barkeep and invalid Johnny Burns serves because the resident punching bag at Al Swearengen’s Gem Saloon. In a present that has much more comedian aid than you would possibly count on, Burns’ character is among the most dependable sources of levity.

24. Captain Herbert Sobel: Band of Brothers

Band of Brothers (2001) David Schwimmer
Picture Credit score: HBO Leisure.

As a result of Captain Herbert Sobel was an actual one that served as a commissioned officer within the U.S. Military throughout World Struggle II, he actually deserves respect. Nonetheless, Band of Brothers portrays Sobel in such a poor gentle that it is not possible to neglect his unmatched conceitedness and futile model of management.

25. Stevie Janowski: Eastbound and Down

Eastbound & Down, Chapter 9 Danny McBride, Steve Little
Picture Credit score: Gary Sanchez Productions.

The clueless sidekick to Danny McBride’s Kenny Powers, Stevie Janowski, is the definition of a “experience or die.” Happily for viewers, Powers by no means leads the dimwitted sycophant, Janowski, into any deadly quandaries. Which, fortuitously for us, means we get to benefit from the “experience.” 


Pop Tradition Author, Life Hack Aficionado

  • Focus: Movie and Tv, Life Recommendation, Comedic Writing
  • Schooling: Bachelor’s of Journalism from the College of South Florida – Tampa
  • Printed in a number of worldwide publications, together with tales accomplished as a Wealth of Geeks geek
  • Practically seven years’ expertise writing professionally

Expertise: Sam Mire is a contract author with over seven years’ expertise writing about leisure, world occasions, American legislation, and sports activities. He received his begin as a journalism main on the College of South Florida, and has since spent weeks within the Alaskan wildlands, immersed himself on the earth of Florida’s homeless inhabitants, coated stay sporting occasions, and served as a linchpin for media retailers within the authorized, tech, and leisure areas. Sam has written information tales and Op-Eds featured in Quick Firm, Forbes, Entrepreneur, AP Information, Fox Information, and, most notably, Wealth of Geeks.

He has helped executives at massive Hollywood studios revamp their LinkedIn profiles, led content material technique and manufacturing for a multi-million-dollar expertise firm throughout a transformative interval in brick-and-mortar retail, partnered with nationally acknowledged attorneys to extend shopper retention, and leveraged greater than a decade of athletic fandom (and newbie participation) into compelling sports activities content material for world publications.  Sam focuses on widespread tradition, movie and tv, and common life recommendation in his position for Wealth of Geeks.

In his free time, he enjoys boxing, woodwork, participating in battles of power and wit along with his canine, and spending time with good firm.


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