The answer: Slowly, carefully, and by following a rigid set of criteria. As EW’s TV editors wrote in their call for submissions, for the purposes of this list, “characters must be current, fictional, recurring, and awesome. No reality, no one-offs, no finished shows, no pilots, no scrubs (a scrub is a guy who can’t get no love from me).” We also enacted a strict one-character-per-show policy, and decided that only characters whose arcs are ongoing would be eligible. And while these rules meant disqualifying several staff favorites—sorry, Rust Cohle, Molly Solverson, Yvonne “Vee” Parker, and Walter White—we’re still plenty happy with our final results.
But you may not be! Which is why, even as we invite you to determine which of these 25 picks should reign as the Best Character on TV Right Now, we’re also welcoming dissenting opinions in the comments. Think we picked the wrong Mad man, or whiffed on Westeros, or missed out on citing someone amazing from a series that’s altogether unrepresented? Please make yourself heard—but only after you decide which member of our top 25 is the best of the best.