You know, those characters who are initially set up as supporting characters but prove so popular with fans that they eventually evolve far beyond their initial parameters and overshadow the show's ostensible lead.
Some of my favorites right off:
Abed on Community.
Ostensibly, the show was originally set up from Jeff's point of view. Abed was just the weird guy with Aspergers who occasionally made pop culture references. However, Abed proved to be one of the most likable and versatile characters on the show. The show's creators compared him to Snoopy in the way that he would have all these fun adventures in his own imaginary fantasy world. On a show with a great deal of geek appeal, Abed is the uber-geek we all aspire to.
Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Originally, he was supposed to be a one-off villain. But his scathing sarcasm earned him a reprieve from early staking in Season 2. In Season 4, they promoted him to regular status once the writers realized that they needed a new sarcastic character in the cast. (Cordelia, the previous queen of snark, had already left for the Angel
spin-off.) He was mostly used for comic relief until mid-Season 5 when they wrote a storyline with him falling in love with Buffy. (It was easy for fans to latch onto that idea after the year-long snooze fest that was Buffy/Riley.) After that, Spike's portrayal on the show got more & more serious, culminating in him regaining his soul in Season 7. At that point, he eclipsed Buffy as the lead on her own show. Even when he wasn't on screen, it seemed like the other characters were always talking about him. He was such a fan favorite that, when Buffy
ended, he jumped to the spin-off Angel;
despite the fact that he died in the Buffy
Wesley on Angel.
He started off as a slapsticky comic relief character who would spout exposition about the monster-of-the-week. By Season 3, he'd become a serious hero. Then, after he got himself thrown out of Angel Investigations for kidnapping Angel's son, he became a shotgun toting basass! His dominance of the series became even more pronounced during the 5-part arc in Season 4 when Angel turned evil.
It didn't last. After everyone got their memories erased in Season 5, Wesley took a step back. He became an exposition-focused supporting player again. But Season 4 could just as well have been called Wesley
instead of Angel.
Who are some of your fan favorites who ended up taking over the show?