The last decade has given us some pretty memorable TV protagonists. Shows like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead are among the few that have put some compelling heroes on the screen. These TV protagonist will hopefully be remembered for a while, but there’s always room for new heroes. The year of 2019 introduced us to some fresh faces that took on the protagonist role, and they did a pretty good job at it too. Some fell more in the realm of antihero, but that only made them more intriguing, since being on television gives them the opportunity to grow more as characters. Since many of the hot new shows from 2019 were green lighted for a second season, these new heroes will have future seasons to grow further.
Big television fans will be familiar with the big heroes from the last TV heroes from the last decade, so I think it’s time to take a look at the newcomers. With the year of 2019 ending, I would like to go over the top four new TV protagonists of 2019. For this list, I will be looking at protagonists from TV shows that debuted in 2019. Any protagonist from a show that debuted any sooner, but is still airing does not count.
If you kept up with the shows of 2019, you’ll certainly see some familiar faces. If you haven’t, but want to catch up, then you might want to hold up. Revealing these heroes will also give away some spoilers, so the proceed with caution. Okay, enough talk. It’s time to go over the top four TV protagonist of 2019.
4. Harley Quinn (Harley Quinn TV Series)
Harley Quinn will be teaming up with the Birds of Prey next month, but her new show is all about her. Her show debuted in late 2019 as an adult animated, black comedy with superheroes. That’s about as unique as it gets, and Harley Quinn is one of those few characters you can pull that off with. The show follows her and her wacky adventures after she breaks up with The Joker. It sound similar to the plot of Birds of Prey, but this show is all about the Batman villains. It’s about Harley bouncing back from a bad relationship, aspiring to form a crew of ragtag super villains and join the Legion of Doom.
If this were a comic book, it would be too inappropriate to be on the shelves. This show only works as an adult animated black comedy and with Harley’s over-the-top personality, it’s absolute gold. Harley begins the show as The Joker’s lackey, but she eventually turns into a stronger character, even becoming an effective leader along the way. She’s not the ideal TV protagonist, but that doesn’t mean she can’t be heroic. After all, she does get her revenge and beats up The Joker, and that’s just icing on the cake.
3. Hugh “Hughie” Campbell (The Boys)
The Boys is another 2019 show that is primarily a black comedy with superheroes. The difference between this and Harley Quinn’s show is that the main protagonist is a regular civilian. Hugh “Hughie” Campbell is no superhero with any powers to speak of. In fact, he’s not even a cop or an agent of any kind and has no knowledge of weapons or hand-to-hand combat. As a TV protagonist, he sounds pretty useless, but as a character, he is very compelling. The show is based off the comic of the same name, where Hughie mirrors his TV counterpart almost perfectly. He is a timid, mild-mannered guy with a mediocre job and lives with his dad. He only gets involved in the main storyline when his girlfriend is recklessly killed by the speedster, A-Train.
Hughie’s transition from wimpy civilian to a member of The Boys is what made him a unique kind of TV protagonist. When he goes through with his first kill and blows up Translucent, it’s the beginning of some serious character development. Hughie slowly becomes more adept at aiding The Boys, acting as their tech guy and even as their own little field agent. By the end of the first season, his confidence increases to incredible lengths, as he fearlessly faces A-Train. When the drugged up speedster has a heart attack, Hughie doesn’t abandon his morality and even attempts to save him. Hughie doesn’t qualify as antihero, but he’s progressively becoming more heroic. He’s the typical average joe that learns how to become a superstar.
2. Ah Sahm (Warrior)
Ah Sahm is a TV protagonist that should have existed when Bruce Lee was still alive. The 2019 martial arts show, Warrior, was a concept that was originally pitched by Lee himself in the seventies. Unfortunately, it never got off the ground until recently, but the results are epic. Lee intended for the main role of Ah Sahm to go to himself, but now it falls to Andrew Koji. Koji is a fairly unknown actor, but his performance as Ah Sahm is brilliant. He’s a TV protagonist with exceptional marital arts skills. If that sounds cliche, then you need to watch him more.
Ah Sahm acts as a fish out of water type of character. His story is set in the 1870’s, where he immigrates to America to find his missing sister. His journey leads him to becoming a member of a powerful Tong, using his martial arts skills at every corner. While he constantly fights, he eventually learns that fighting for others is better than fighting for his own ego. When he does lose a fight, he learns that getting back up is better than wallowing in self-pity. Ah Sahm began as the loner who was uninterested in other people’s problems, but progressively became more selfless. And as far as TV protagonist go, he just kicks an endless amount of butt.
1. The Mandalorian (The Mandalorian)
In the Star Wars universe, bounty hunters almost always act as villains. They often serve crime lords and even the Sith, and they aren’t exactly friendly with Jedi. When The Mandalorian premiered on DisneyPlus, it showed the bounty hunters in a new kind of light. The shows main protagonist (known as The Mandalorian) is the typical bounty hunter that will stop at nothing to collect the bounty. He’ll bring you in warm or cold, doesn’t matter to him, but he will do his job. He is initially shown to be no different from the other bounty hunters, but he chooses a different path. When he is hired to kill a target, he makes the choice of saving it instead. It’s because this target was an infant, better known as Baby Yoda.
Throughout the first season, he spends most of his time trying to hide Baby Yoda from all kinds of enemies. Along the way, he evolves into a more well-rounded character, learning the values of mercy and companionship. By the end of the first season, The Mandalorian nearly sacrifices himself to save his newly found companions, making him more than just a bounty hunter. The season ends with him still attempting to find a new home for Baby Yoda. A ruthless bounty hunter that makes a child’s survival his top priority? Now that’s a the kind of TV protagonist we don’t see too often.
The year of 2019 gave us some great shows to look forward to in the future. All of these protagonists are different kinds of heroes, but they all succeeded in dominating the screen. With TV protagonists like these, future seasons for their shows will have a lot to offer.