Top 11(x2): Best Characters On “Lost”
The first of three lists that nobody cares about except for Jeff (btw this is spoiler-free for people like Steve who are kinda catching up with the show now)
I’ll be doing these “Top 22” lists every once in a while when I feel like 11 is just too limiting. Keep in mind that this is just a list of my favorite characters. I don’t pretend to be an authority on Lost or anything of the sort — so I don’t expect anyone to agree with my list exactly.
For the record — I have made rearranged the rankings for this list 3 times. That’s why you’ll see a ranking for “first list”, “April 2010 update”, and my current ranking. The “first list” was made in between season 5 and season 6.
APRIL 2010 UPDATE: I changed a lot of the rankings around and how the whole list is formatted. Even though this was originally intended as a list nobody but me cared about, it seems like this page is getting more views than any other page on the site so I made it easier on the eyes. It was really cluttered before.
MAY UPDATE (post-Series Finale): I’m going to change the rankings around again — this list is going to look drastically different. This will be the third and probably final update. This time, it WILL have spoilers.
These characters were on the list the first time, but didn’t make it since: Naomi (22), Charlie (21), Mikhail (16)
He was on the list the first two times, but has since been knocked off: Michael (#20 on first list, #21 in April)
Ranking on first list: 15
Ranking on April 2010 Update: 19
Libby played a key role in season 6 — she got Hurley to remember the island, and Hurley in turn helped get the others together so they can remember what happened on the island. Still, she doesn’t deserve to be ranked higher than this with all of the great characters on the show.
April 2010 Reasoning: A little bit more interesting than most of the other women survivors on the island; Libby had a lot of potential (mainly because of the flashback at the end of “Dave”), but the writers for the show didn’t really let Libby live up to that potential.
21. Martin Keamy
Ranking on first list: Wasn’t on first list
Ranking on April 2010 Update: 18
April 2010 Reasoning: During season 4, I absolutely hated Keamy. Maybe I didn’t realize it at the time, but I guess that was kinda the point. This is not a guy who you are supposed to like. Up until you meet Keamy, everyone on the island — even those who are meant to be “bad” — have some positive side to them. Keamy, on the other hand, is just flat-out evil.
20. Danielle Rousseau
Ranking on first list: 14
Ranking on April 2010 update: 15
Since she gets more and more insignificant as the series moves on, Danielle is dropping some spots again.
April 2010 Reasoning: The first few times you see Rousseau, she’s pretty much the creepiest character you’ll ever see. But as time goes on, you get more and more used to her character so the creepiness goes away; without this, she’s not all that interesting. Plus, she doesn’t get all that much screen time so I can’t really put her higher on the list.
19. Charles Widmore
Ranking on first list: Wasn’t on first list
Ranking on April 2010 Update: 20
I still have no idea…was Widmore a good guy or a bad guy? In season 6 he came back to the island primarily to stop the Man in Black, and most of the plane survivors were fighting to stop the Man in Black as well. But still, he did it in such a way that just came off as really evil. Plus, how often do you see a guy who looks like him and is a good guy? He just looks evil.
April 2010 Reasoning: Widmore is a really interesting character. I’m not sure what his reasons are for basically hating everything in the world and I’m not sure what side he’s on (think of Widmore in season 4 and compare that to his actions in season 6…can’t he make up his mind already?). He seems to just be pissed off at everything.
Wasn’t on either of my previous lists
For a couple seasons, we didn’t even know if Jacob was a real person or if Ben was just going insane. This was one of the mysteries that made me watch back-to-back-to-back episodes waiting to see what was up with this guy.
Most of the on-island stuff in season 6 dealt with the aftermath of Jacob’s death and wondering who the next Jacob/”protector of the island” would be. Even though it was generally accepted that Jacob was the good half of the two seemingly-immortal siblings, that might not have really been the case.
17. Sayid Jarrah
Ranking on first list: 13
Ranking on April 2010 Update: 17
It’s gotta suck to be Sayid. He was one of the major characters the whole way through the show, but then when he finally dies he’s overshadowed by more dramatic deaths just a couple minutes later.
April 2010 Reasoning: Sayid kinda seems like a guy who’s just kinda there. He’s really smart and will beat the crap out of you if he has to, but for some reason I just don’t like him as much as some of the other characters. Even though he’s smart, he’s overshadowed by Faraday in that department. Even though he’ll beat the crap out of you, he’s overshadowed by Eko in that department. He’s not a bad character by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s far from the most interesting character too.
16. Jin-Soo Kwon
Ranking on first list: 12
Ranking on April 2010 update: 16
Not really much more to add to my April reasoning for Jin. He’s one of the better examples of character development on the show, though most of the changes in his personality came during season 1.
April 2010 Reasoning: In the beginning of the show, Jin pretty much seems like your stereotypical overprotective foreign husband. Since then, he has gotten a lot more depth and catapulted into one of the most likable characters on the show.
15. Juliet Burke
Ranking on first list: 8
Ranking on April 2010 update: 12
Not much I can add for Juliet. She drops a little bit because some good season 6 performances allow other characters to pass her up.
April 2010 reasoning: When you first meet Juliet, she’s probably a top-5 character. She’s a great villain, but at the same time you’re not really sure if she’s even a villain. Then as time goes on and you don’t know whose side she’s on, she’s still great. But once you get even further into the show, she becomes less and less interesting and kinda fades into the background.
14. Ana Lucia Cortez
Ranking on first list: 10
Ranking on April 2010 update: 11
Ana Lucia’s cameo in season 6 was really weird. She showed up for about a minute and didn’t even make an appearance in the finale. My list in April was a little messed up; she probably shouldn’t have been ranked better than Hurley or Desmond.
April 2010 reasoning: Before you go and flame me in the comments, read this. I realize that putting Ana Lucia above people like Hurley or Desmond is going to make some people think “well I can’t take this list seriously”. Ana Lucia is probably the most polarizing character among Lost fans — some like her, some think she’s terrible. Hear out my reasoning for putting her this high up on the list.
1. Besides Ana Lucia, name one woman who survived Oceanic 815 and is a vastly different character from the rest of the women. Until season 6 Claire showed up, you couldn’t do it.
2. Two for the Road is an Ana Lucia episode, and it’s easily one of my 5 favorite episodes in the whole series. Throughout all the crazy stuff that has happened on the show, my favorite moment of the whole series was during the last 10-20 minutes of that episode…and Ana Lucia was pretty much the main character in those 10-20 minutes.
3. She killed the worst character on the show. That alone is enough to get her this high on the list.
13. Claire Littleton
Ranking on first list: 19
Ranking on April 2010 update: 8
Okay, I think I jumped the gun a little bit on Claire in April. She jumped too far up on this list when I updated it then.
April 2010 reasoning: Claire gets the biggest jump from my previous list to this one. In the old list, I said that “Claire might jump a few spots because of season 6”, and it turns out I was right. Early on, nothing really set Claire apart other than the fact that she was the pregnant girl. However, in season 6 her character has completely changed and deserves this jump.
12. Frank Lapidus
Ranking on first list: 18
Ranking on April 2010 update: 9
Hey, they actually found a use for Frank in the finale!
April 2010 Reasoning: When making this list, I couldn’t decide exactly how to do the rankings. Do I rank them 1-22 based on how much I like each character, or based on how useful each character is? I ended up trying to mix the two — Frank is absolutely hilarious, especially in season 6. But he’s like Creed Bratton from The Office — he pops up to say one or two lines, and then he pretty much disappears for the rest of the episode. Frank is basically the audience of the show put into a character…he’s usually the one to point out just how crazy something is.
11. The Man in Black
Ranking on previous list: 17
Ranking on April 2010 update: 10
Somebody give Terry O’Quinn the Supporting Actor Emmy right now for season 6. Titus Welliver doesn’t do a bad job portraying the Man in Black, either.
April 2010 reasoning: As I’m writing this we’re still in the middle of season 6, so we don’t really know who the Man in Black really is and what his intentions are…but the mystery behind the guy makes him one of the most interesting characters on the show.
10. Miles Straume
Ranking on first list: 9
Ranking on April 2010 update: 6
Dropping a little bit since he’s pretty much the most useless character on this list.
April 2010 reasoning: Honestly, does Miles deserve to be ranked this high on my list? Probably not. He’s not a primary or even a secondary character; he’s in the background for the most part. But, the screen time he does get is always really entertaining. Miles is the funniest character on the show. He’s overly sarcastic and really just mean to some of the other characters…but it’s hilarious, so he’s awesome.
9. Jack Shephard
Ranking on first list: Wasn’t on first list
Ranking on April 2010 Update: 22
During the first few seasons, Jack seemed like nothing but an average hero. Then in seasons 4 and 5 he became arrogant and became one of the more annoying characters on the show since he’d get angry at everyone if they didn’t follow his instructions. However, in season 6 there was a big shift in Jack’s attitude and I think it was for the better. He finally realized that he wasn’t right all the time and went borderline crazy. His showdown with “Locke” at the end on a side of a mountain with the rain pouring was epic.
April 2010 Reasoning: Jack’s the main character of the show, but he’s not that easy to like. His constant “I’m always right” attitude gets really annoying the more and more you watch. However, in season 6 that seems to be changing.
Plus, he brought us Jackfaces. How can he not be on the list?
Ranking on first list: 6
Ranking on April 2010 update: 13
Well, my reasoning in April looks pretty silly now. At least I didn’t go with what I was originally going to say, which was “To be honest, Hurley is a pretty useless character”…since now he’s the guy in charge of the island. I can’t be the only one curious as to how Hurley’s reign as the new Jacob went, right? Did he rule over the island for thousands of years like Jacob did, or did he just give it up after a little while to Ben/someone else? If they were to write a book on that, I know I’d buy it immediately.
April 2010 Reasoning: The reason Hurley dropped so much is because I realized that I just don’t like him as much as I thought I did. In season 1, he’s great and hilarious. But as time goes on, he gradually gets more serious and we’re introduced to even funnier characters than he is so he gets less and less interesting. He’s still a really likable character, but I just can’t put him above anyone in my top 12.
7. Richard Alpert
Ranking on first list: 7
Ranking on April 2010 update: 7
Yep, #7 again. It’s kinda strange how Richard has been on the island for longer than almost everyone else yet in season 6 he seems more clueless than anyone else.
April 2010 reasoning: Richard is definitely one of the most mysterious people on the island, and he probably has the most interesting back story out of anyone. I’m not sure I can really say any more than that about Richard without spoiling a lot of stuff, so I’ll just leave it at that.
6. Daniel Faraday
Ranking on first list: 5
Ranking on April 2010 update: 5
Not really much to add for Daniel. He was a great character who I wish was on the show longer than he was.
April 2010 Reasoning: I don’t see how it’s possible for anyone to hate Faraday. He’s a scientist who is ultra-polite and awkward around everyone. Also, he seems to know more about the weird things happening on the island than most do.
5. Mr Eko
Ranking on first list: 4
Ranking on April 2010 update: 3
It’s too bad that the actor who played Eko wanted to leave the show so soon — Lost would have been a completely different (and probably better) show if Eko stayed on the main cast.
April 2010 reasoning: Eko moving up to #3 isn’t because of anything he did, it’s more because Ben isn’t anywhere near as great as he used to be.
When you first look at Eko, you’d probably think “this guy is going to beat the crap out of me”. And if you get on his bad side, you’d be right. But for the most part, Eko is one of the most understanding people on the island.
After a life as a drug dealer, he eventually tried to become a priest. Still, Eko can never really escape his past — for example, he has a stick that he carves Bible scriptures into…this stick is used to beat the crap out of people.
4. Desmond Hume
Ranking on first list: 11
Ranking on April 2010 update: 14
Big jump for Desmond; I’m not really sure why I didn’t have him in the top 10 before. Can anyone argue that Desmond didn’t consistently have the best episodes in the series? Whenever I found out I was watching a Desmond episode, I knew some wacky stuff would happen and that it would be a really good episode. He’s also used as a key plot device pretty often, and in season 6 he’s basically used as a tool more than a person.
April 2010 Reasoning: The island’s made Desmond crazier than just about anyone else, but he still remains likable. I’m not as big a fan of Desmond as some people are though — some think he’s the best character on the show, but I don’t think he’s close.
Ranking on first list: 2
Ranking on April 2010 update: 2
Did the writers forget that Sawyer existed? He went from being the main guy in season 5 to a level just above Miles and Lapidus in season 6.
April 2010 reasoning: With all respect to Hurley…until Lapidus and Miles came along, Sawyer was by far the funniest person on the show. His constant insults and nicknames for everyone were hilarious. Still though, it’s not like Sawyer is a clown — far from it. He got quite a bit more serious in season 5 and basically was the main character of that season.
In my opinion, Lost isn’t really a show that does a great job with character development. Sawyer, however, is a huge exception. In the beginning, I hated Sawyer; he seemed like a typical racist redneck. Over time, he matured and became one of the most likable people on the show. He still threw out insults and whatnot, but he started to become really cooperative with the rest of the people on the island.
Not much to say that I didn’t already say in April. Locke still owns.
April 2010 reasoning: Locke is definitely one of the better and more unique characters on TV, period. It’s revealed early on that Locke doesn’t really want to leave the island as much as the rest of the survivors do, and his reasoning for that is unveiled as the show progresses. He’s also the most mysterious member of the original group of survivors; he’s an old guy who just happened to get a whole bunch of hunting knives onto the airplane and something just seems a little “off” about Locke the whole time.
For the rest of the characters on the show, you can pretty much substitute different actors to play the character and it’d work. Hurley can be played by a fat happy guy. Sawyer can be played by a redneck…with Locke (I guess Ben Linus falls into this category as well), can you imagine anyone OTHER than Terry O’Quinn playing him? I can’t. He was the perfect casting decision.
1. Ben Linus
Ranking on first list: 3
Ranking on April 2010 update: 4
With a few episodes left I never really expected Ben to leapfrog anyone in the top 3, but now that everything’s over I think I liked Ben’s story more than the story for any other character on the show. At the end of the show, it’s evident that Ben still feels guilty after everything he put people through even though he really has redeemed himself. Ben is the perfect example of how Lost never really made it clear who was good and who was bad — most of the characters were somewhere in the middle.
The closure for Ben’s story was really well done for both the on-island stuff and the “alternate reality”. On the island, all he wanted his whole life was for Jacob to accept him and he never really had that happen. But then when Hurley takes over as the new Jacob, Ben’s dream is realized when Hurley appoints him as his #2. And then in the afterlife, Ben stays outside while everyone else gathers inside the building — a great representation of how Ben just knew he was an outsider compared to everyone else.
April 2010 reasoning: Ben drops a spot because he simply isn’t as good as he used to be. Throughout all of season 3 Ben is an evil, manipulative guy. But in season 5 and especially season 6, Ben kinda just fades into the background and turns into a wimp while doing so.