Netflix shows can be quite divisive. The streamer is famous for putting out an extreme amount of content every month, canceling shows that don’t instantly work, and taking its sweet time to continue those that do. However, it’s undeniable that Netflix has produced some of the best and most memorable television shows in recent years, many of which have a few instantly iconic characters.
From chess prodigies to little girls with big mental powers to English gentlemen, these characters are among modern television’s most famous and beloved figures. Luckily for fans, Netflix seems keen on keeping these characters around for as long as possible.
10 Titus Andromedon — ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ (2015-2020)
Sitcom characters can either be bland to the point of mediocrity or stand-outs who steal every scene they’re in: Titus Andromedon is the latter. Played by the hilarious Tituss Burgess, Titus Andromedon is the best character in the Netflix sitcom Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Titus is larger-than-life, a flamboyant and utterly hysterical struggling actor who is the show’s heart and soul. Burgess earned acclaim for his performance, including five Emmy nominations. Iconic and incredibly likable, Titus Andromedon has the show’s most iconic moments, including his now-famous recreation of Beyoncé‘s Lemonade.
9 Joe Goldberg – ‘You’ (2018-)
Penn Badgley rose to prominence playing Dan “Lonely Boy” Humphrey in The CW’s teen hit Gossip Girl. However, the actor received the role of his career with Netflix’s psychological thriller You, based on the eponymous novel. The plot revolves around Joe Goldberg, a serial killer who develops unhealthy obsessions for young women, who he then targets.
Charming yet profoundly unsettling, Joe Goldberg is a chilling creation, the embodiment of averageness concealing the absolute manifestation of deranged obsession. Badgley’s performance has been praised by fans and critics, with many considering him worthy of awards consideration, especially in the show’s early seasons. You will return for a fifth and final season, but Joe’s place in pop culture is already cemented.
8 Anthony Bridgerton – ‘Bridgerton’ (2020-Present)
Bridgerton was among Netflix’s biggest and most unexpected hits. Bringing sex and sexiness into the period piece, Bridgerton redefined the boundaries of a genre long thought to be virginal and safe. Season 1 introduced Jonathan Bailey‘s Viscount Anthony Bridgerton, an overly-protective womanizer who took a while to get used to. However, Season 2 brought his story to the forefront, developing his character and turning him into Netflix’s ultimate leading man.
Anthony is still tough to love, but Bailey finds the vulnerability within, crafting a Byronic hero worthy of standing next to the Heathcliffs and Darcys of the period romance. Bridgerton makes the most out of its sexy setting, but it wouldn’t mean anything without the right actor; luckily for fans, Bailey is more than up to the task.
7 Seong Gi-hun — ‘Squid Game’ (2021-)
No Netflix show was more successful or surprising than Squid Game. The survival drama follows a group of desperate individuals who agree to participate in a series of deathly contests based on children’s games with a prize of $35 million.
Squid Game‘s protagonist, Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae), is the perfect average Joe for audiences to root for. Flawed but still relatable, Gi-hun is a complex character with a dark side. However, the show never loses empathy for him, turning him into the unlikely hero in one of television’s most brutal and unique competitions. Squid Game was a spectacular success for Netflix, largely thanks to Gi-hun, a character bound for pop culture glory.
6 Wednesday Addams — ‘Wednesday’ (2022-)
Netflix’s most recent breakout hit was the Tim Burton-produced supernatural comedy Wednesday. Based on the beloved character created by Charles Addams, the show revolves around Wednesday Addams, who becomes involved in a murder mystery while enrolled at Nevermore Academy.
Jenna Ortega brought new life to the character of Wednesday, turning her into an icon for a new generation. The actress delivers a dry yet delightful performance that will win even the most skeptical viewers. Ortega is the show’s beating heart, single-handedly elevating past the conventional teen dramedy it would be without her confident, compelling performance.
5 Geralt of Rivia — ‘The Witcher’ (2019)
Toss a coin to your witcher, indeed. Henry Cavill stars — for now — as Geralt of Rivia in Netflix’s The Witcher, adapted from Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels. The plot follows three characters whose faiths are intertwined while living in The Continent, a monster-infested realm.
Geralt of Rivia was already famous, thanks to CD Projekt’s highly successful video game series. However, Cavill did the impossible, taking a beloved figure and making it his own. Henry Cavill is Geralt, embodying the character’s stoicism, dry wit, elusive wisdom, and concealed vulnerability to the tee. The actor will leave the show after the upcoming Season 3, and his absence will leave a void that no actor will be able to compensate.
4 Mart & Wendy Byrder — ‘Ozark’ (2017-2022)
Ozark is Netflix’s answer to Breaking Bad. Jason Bateman and Laura Linney star as Marty and Wendy Byrde, a married couple who become money launderers after moving to the Lake of Ozarks region in central Missouri.
Bateman and Linney deliver the performances of a lifetime in Ozark. Marty and Wendy are two of television’s most complicated, efficient, fascinating, and terrifying figures, going from a seemingly harmless suburban couple to ruthless criminals not afraid to get their hands dirty. Both actors create chilling portrayals of ambition and corruption, deftly presenting the characters’ descent into darkness. Ozark is a classic tale of morality and the broken promise of the American dream, with Bateman and Linney as its infallible catalysts.
3 Beth Harmon – ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ (2020)
The Queen’s Gambit was a bonafide phenomenon when it premiered in the fall of 2020. Anya Taylor-Joy plays Beth Harmon, a chess prodigy who battles her drug and alcohol addiction while trying to make a name for herself in the competitive world of 1950s chess.
The Queen’s Gambit is a riveting and stressful depiction of addiction, drive, and identity, powered by Anya Taylor-Joy’s tour de force performance. From the moment her fiery mane appears on-screen, Beth Harmon is a force to be reckoned with, with Taylor-Joy’s mesmerizing, chilly performance doing wonders for the character. Beth is now synonymous with Netflix’s identity, providing the streamer with a layered antiheroine for the ages.
2 BoJack Horseman – ‘BoJack Horseman’ (2014-2020)
Adult animation has never been better, thanks to shows like BoJack Horseman. The show revolves around the titular character, a faded sitcom star trying to stage a comeback via an autobiography while struggling with his deteriorating mental health.
A delicate and insightful depiction of mental health and political correctness, BoJack Horseman is among the best dark comedies on television. BoJack is a masterful creation, a self-loathing, depressive narcissist with delusions of grandeur who nonetheless remains profoundly relatable and sympathetic. It’s a Herculean feat to balance such opposing qualities, but voice actor Will Arnett and the show’s writers pulled it off, crafting one of the finest characters in modern television.
1 Eleven — ‘Stranger Things’ (2016-)
Stranger Things is undoubtedly Netflix’s biggest hit, which cemented it as a major player in the cutthroat television world and cemented its legacy. And out of the show’s many characters, none is more famous or beloved than Millie Bobbie Brown‘s Eleven.
Indeed, Eleven might be Netflix’s poster child, the character everyone thinks of when they hear the word “Netflix.” Eleven is powerful but endearing, mysterious but engaging, elusive but magnetic; in short, she is everything an incredible character should be and more. Brown is among Netflix’s biggest breakout stars, and Eleven is arguably the streamer’s best achievement, a character who won over the audience’s hearts and became the icon of an entire generation.
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