Character Comparison

Five Main Characters:

Barry Allen
Walter White
Tony Soprano
Mike Ross
Lester Nygaard

Motivation:

Barry Allen has to come to terms with his powers and stop Weather Wizard.

Walter White has to come to terms with his cancer diagnosis and find a way to make money for his family by cooking Meth.

Tony Soprano has to deal with family and several business matters, on top of his recent health setback.

Lester Nygaard wants everyone to show him some respect.

Mike Ross wants to find a job and get his life back on track.

Two Distinct Story Lines:

After examining the characters, there are two distinct story lines.

The first story line is an extraordinary gifted young man trying to make his way in the world with personal motivations tied to his parent(s)’ death.

The second story line is a married middle-aged man stuck in a mundane life until a sudden event unexpectedly happens that forces them to rethink their life and act on their new beliefs.

Character Breakdown

Young Man trying to prove himself:

Mike Ross
Barry Allen

Common Characteristics:

Both have tragic backstories involving their parents and someone else raises them instead.

Mike’s parents died in a drunk driving accident.
Mike wants to be a lawyer to fight for people like his Grandma, who was given a poor insurance payout for Mike’s parents death,  but couldn’t hire a lawyer to fight the Insurance company.
Mike was raised by his grandmother.
Barry’s mother was killed and his dad was framed for murder.
Barry became a CSI to find out what happened the night of his mother’s death, prove his father’s innocence and gain justice for his mother.
Barry was raised by Detective Joe West.

Both give a glimpse of what they are capable of.

Mike takes LSATS for students, but cannot go to law school himself because he was kicked out of school.

Barry tries to be a hero by retrieving Iris’s laptop from a thief, but is knocked out instead.

Both meet mentors who want to bring out the best in them.

Mike’s mentor is Harvey Specter. Harvey gains an interest in Mike and treats him like a younger brother. Harvey sees himself in Mike and wants to see him succeed.

Barry’s mentor is Harrison Wells. Harrison is a scientist who has lost everything and wants something good to come from the particle accelerator explosion. He wants to teach Barry how to get fast so he can use his speed for good.

Both have an extraordinary ability.

Mike Ross has a photographic memory and because of his studies, extensive knowledge of the law.

Barry has super speed and the ability to heal fast.

Both have an immediate love interest.

Mike develops a crush on Rachel Zane.

Barry has had a life long crush on Iris West.

Both quit.

Mike almost quits after he thinks he screwed up the case.

Barry almost quits when no one wants to help him and someone dies because he couldn’t save them.

Both are Inspired.

Mike is inspired by Harvey and his grandmother to live up to his potential.

Barry is inspired by the Green Arrow to be a hero.

Both meet a new team to work with.

Mike works with Donna, Rachel and Harvey.

Barry works with the Cisco, Caitlyn and Harrison.

Both enter a new environment. 

Mike enters the world of law.

Barry enters the world of fighting crime.

Married Man:

Walter White
Tony Soprano
Lester Nygaard

Common Characteristics:

Starts with keeping secret from wife.

Walter keeps his cancer diagnoses to himself.
Tony keeps his various personal and business problems to himself and his associates.
Lester keeps the secret of ordering a hit on the bully to himself.

Significant Event Occurs to Change Their Perspective.

Walter is diagnosed with cancer.
Tony passes out at a family barbecue and must see a psychiatrist.
Lester accidentally orders a hit on his bully.

Involved with shady business.

Walter gets involved with cooking Meth.
Tony is inherently always involved in shady business.
Lester gets mixed up with a deadly hit-man.

Violent Conclusion

Walter is almost killed by drug dealers and then almost has a shootout with the cops.
Tony blows up his friend’s restaurant.
Lester is almost arrested for killing his wife, and the police chief is shot dead in his house.

Power and Respect

Walt has respect but no power
Tony has power and respect and wants to keep it.
Lester has no power or respect and wants it.

Breakdown

Young Guns:

Barry Allen and Mike Ross share many similarities, but the two that are applicable to other stories are:

Two young men taking on the world with an extraordinary ability that they can utilize.

The Flash wouldn’t be much without super speed and Suits wouldn’t have built a fan base without Mike’s memory initially.

Part of what makes the show enjoyable is how they utilize their ability to get out of situations and win the day.

The target audience is younger people, especially millennials who are just beginning to take on the worlds themselves. They face the same trials and tribulations of Mike Ross and Barry Allen, but don’t have an ability to help overcome it.

That’s why they tune in every week, because they can relate to the problems the young protagonists are having in trying to balance their duty while still chasing their dreams even when others try to discourage them.

Like Barry Allen and Mike Ross, young people are optimistic, ready to take on the world, and always willing to help people.

Married Men:

Tony, Walt and Lester are middle-aged men that are stuck in a mundane life full of routine. Walt works two jobs to support his family, Lester sucks at everything and Tony is getting sick of all the mounting problems.

The Married Men look for an escape or an adventure, some sort of meaning in this somewhat meaningless world.

Walt gets a wake up call to really start living life when he is diagnosed with terminal cancer. With a baby on the way, all Walt wants to do is leave his family with enough money to live off of. The rules are thrown out the door as Walt uses his expertise to produce a quality drug to sell.

Lester is a loser who doesn’t get any respect, until he meets the careless drifter Malvo. Malvo kills Lester’s bully for nothing, showing Lester that just because there are rules, it doesn’t mean they can’t be broken.

Tony’s life is anything but boring, but after many years in the business, it’s not hard to see how consistent problems can lead to health problems. Tony doesn’t know the exact cause of passing out, but he knows he has more problems than he can deal with. He only actually deals with one problem personally as his associates take care of the rest.

The target audience is the older generation who, like the characters they are tuning in for, are tired of the 9-5 grind and boring routine. These characters give them an escape from their own world into one full of drama and conflict.

The events depicted in the pilots are extreme reactions, but relatable enough to allow viewers to sympathize with the character. We all know someone who is stuck in a shitty marriage/gets no respect, has been diagnosed with cancer, or has serious health problems/mental health problems. They are problems you may deal with while you’re older, and that’s what makes the shows interesting, entertaining.

Like Walt, Tony and Lester, older people may find life boring, grow tired of all the problems and may look for ways to help themselves get more out of life.

Other Characters

Procedural:


Suits:
Mentor: Harvey Specter/Jessica Pearson
Semi-Antagonist: Lewis Litt/ Case of the week/ Trevor
Comedy Relief: Donna
Love Interest: Rachel
Inspiration: Grandmother
Team:
Donna
Harvey
Rachel

Flash:
Mentor: Harrison Wells/ Joe West
Semi- Antagonist: Weather Wizard/ Eddie
Comedy Relief: Cisco
Love Interest: Iris
Inspiration: Green Arrow
Team:
Caitlyn
Cisco
Harrison

Serial:

Sopranos:

Family:
Meadow
Carmela
Tony Jr.
Livia
Junior
Chris

Associates:
Big Pussy
Silvio
Chris
Herman
Artie

Outside Consultation:
Dr. Melfi
Father Phil

Antagonists:
Kolar Brothers
Junior
Mahaffey

Breaking Bad

Family:
Skylar
Walt Jr.
Hank
Marie

Associates:
Jesse Pinkman

Outside Consultation:
Doctor Belknap

Antagonists:
Krazy 8
Emilio
DEA

Fargo (From Lester’s Perspective)

Family:
Pearl
Chaz
Kitty
Gordo

Associates:
Malvo
Bo

Outside Consultation:
Malvo

Antagonists:
Chief
Molly
Pearl
Hess

One Important Factor:

The significant factor present in the five pilots is a secret.

Barry’s superpowers.
Mike Ross has a gifted mind and no law degree.
Tony Soprano’s affair and psychiatric visits.
Lester’s responsible for the death of three people.
Walter is diagnosed with terminal cancer and cooks meth.

Instead of opening up to the people close to them, our main characters prefer to keep their secrets to themselves or a select few.