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gmoney

Series with huge character arcs

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I love a story with great journeys for its characters. The Wire is a high profile example of a show where you can trace long, interesting character arcs for a lot of the people on the show. They are effected by the events of the series. Another show that looked at the lives of a group of friends from the 1960s to the 1990s was Our Friends in the North. It looked at how the politics of the times impacted on them from their youth into adulthood, and it is fan-fucking-tastic. The cast includes a Doctor Who and a James Bond, and a million great character actors. 

What other series, long running or otherwise, have great character development?

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After choosing it for the subject of my podcast, there are a bunch in Oz, (cheap plug - http://insideozpodcast.podbean.com/, also on iTunes, Stitcher etc.) one of  the most prominent ones being that of Tobias Beecher. You’re introduced to him as if he is going to be the main character for the series, before all the other stories branch off from one-another. I’m enjoyingrewatching the show and seeing Beecher change as a result of both his surroundings as well as his own naivety at times. He gets put through the ringer good & proper

Edited by WyattSheepMask

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I think The Sopranos is one of the best series for this.  With a lot of long-running series, the main characters don't actually CHANGE as much as experience stuff.  So Buffy is the same at the end of the series as at the start; or Captain Picard, and so on.

Tony Soprano himself is a bit of an enigma, but is definitely on a downward curve; but other characters like Christopher Moltisanti or Adriana certainly have a dramatic character arc.  Let's be honest too, most character arcs in Sopranos end in death.

Deadwood has some incredible arcs too - Ellsworth for instance, or Calamity Jane.  Deadwood also pulls of the equally fantastic trick of having a character NOT change across a series but your perception of them does.  So Al Swearengen starts as the villain and becomes the hero, but that's only because you don't understand his motivations at the start of the series.

Another great series, which almost nobody has seen, is Brotherhood.  Jason Clarke's character arc on that show is just really depressing in a brilliant way as all his idealism leeches out.  It's definitely worth watching, only 3 seasons too so it's not vast.

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Trivia note- The Sopranos pilot episode aired 20 years ago today

Im also ashamed of myself as probably been one of the few people left to have never seen a single second of Deadwood

Edited by WyattSheepMask

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Dunno about Tony Soprano, he starts as a prick and ends as a prick.  Great character, but like nearly everyone in The Sopranos, they weren't nice and were hard to root for, but because they were so nuanced that what made it good.  Walter White probably counts for this.

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4 minutes ago, W35ty said:

Wesley from Buffy.

Went from dorky loser watcher to bad ass demon fighter in Angel.

I'm not sure children's shows count, their continuity is all over the place. 

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I dunno about that. Rigby's character arc in Regular Show is pretty impressive. He consistently grows and matures gradually through the show's run and they don't really ever do anything out of character with him to ruin that.

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Wesley Crusher went from megadork weakling to getting off with Ashley Judd to dimension jumping traveller and all-powerful weird being. Not bad.

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2 hours ago, W35ty said:

Wesley from Buffy.

Went from dorky loser watcher to bad ass demon fighter in Angel.

While Buffy changes a bit, Willow has the most forward motion. From uber dorky loser student to hardened wicca paragon. 

I nominate Leo McGarry in the West Wing. 

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2 hours ago, gmoney said:

I'm not sure children's shows count, their continuity is all over the place. 

Buffy and Angel are not children's shows. They are teen shows which most of us were 20 years ago.

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2 hours ago, Onyx2 said:

While Buffy changes a bit, Willow has the most forward motion. From uber dorky loser student to hardened wicca paragon. 

I nominate Leo McGarry in the West Wing. 

The 2 characters who change the most in the West Wing are probably Donna and CJ, although most of the main characters have a pretty big story arc. The only one who doesn't really change is Josh. 

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I get the impression this thread is more to do with serious shows than sitcoms but the character development of each main character throughout the run of Always Sunny In Philadelphia is incredibly rewarding. From the first episode all four of the gang (prior to Frank's arrival) are, to say the least, a bit odd, but the devolution of each of them gradually into the worst versions imaginable of themselves is absolutely spectacular. Dennis is particular is an absolute joy to watch be fleshed out from "this guy's a borderline narcissist with some misogynistic tendancies" to "So..... I wonder how many people Dennis has killed?" and his eventual conclusion that he's God.

Special mention too to Dee repeatedly barking at the therapist - "TELL ME I'M GOOD! TELL ME I'M GOOD! TELL ME I'M GOOD! TELL ME I'M GOOD!"

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