Scene Stealers 2020

The best TV and movie scene stealers of 2020, by the numbers

Get ready for some charts!

After what feels like 34 months of 2020, looking back on this year has been particularly difficult.

At Inverse, we decided to celebrate a weird year in TV and film by shining a light on the weirder characters who might not have got the starring role but left us thinking about them long after we stopped watching.

Over the course of this year, we tallied up our favorites every few weeks, settling on 32 scene-stealers who captured our imaginations. Then we polled more than 2,000 of our readers, asking them to vote on their favorites on our ballot.

Scene Stealers is a celebration of the best supporting TV and movie characters in 2020. Chosen by us, and ranked by you.

Our Methods — In order to get a range of responses, our ballot offered 5 choices for each character. We'll use Sister Agatha from Netflix's Dracula as an example, as she was the first character in the form. None of the questions were required, so anyone who hadn't seen the character's series could just skip answering altogether. What resulted were a varying number of answers for each character, varying from "Basic" (1) to "Iconic" (5).

An example question in our Fan Favorites survey.Inverse

However, upon looking at how the answers were distributed, there was a massive influx of "1" votes. In fact, nearly every character got more "1" votes than any other number. This would have to be accounted for in calculations, but first, we needed to tabulate the total number of each vote for each character.

Sister Agatha's final results. Inverse

Calculations — Because each character received a different number of responses, finding the top characters is more difficult than just tabulating "points." This isn't a ranking of the most popular character, it's a ranking of most beloved character, so the value we're looking for is average vote.

We calculated this by entering every character into a spreadsheet with the amount of each vote they received. From there, we can reach a total number allotted, by multiplying each number of responses by its rank. In Sister Agatha's case, that would be (5x140)+(4x147)+(3x244)+(2x151)+(353). The total is 2,675, which, divided by the total number of votes, 1,035, gives an average vote of 2.584541063.

The calculations for Sister Agatha Van Helsing.Inverse

However, this doesn't account for the massive influx of "1" votes every single character received. (It seems some people who loved one character voted 1 on every other as a way to skew the results, which isn't ideal.) In order to come up with a separate set of calculations without this possible skew in mind, we ran a second calculation omitting the "1" votes from both the total score formula and the number of total votes, which resulted in a weighted score of 3.404692082. This is a good deal higher than the unweighted score, but because the same calculations were used for all 32 characters, the rankings shouldn't be affected.

Graphs — The weighted results seemed to be less skewed, so those are the rankings we chose. After putting them in order, from highest average score to lowest, we could graph our top characters.

The top 13 characters and their weighted rankings. Inverse

The differences are slight — there's only a .002 difference between The Mandalorian's Frog Lady and The Boys' Stormfront, but the rankings are clear. With this visualization of what Inverse readers think of these characters, the Inverse Scene Stealer coverage can celebrate the characters people love the most, from evil superheroes to amphibious super moms.

Scene Stealers is a celebration of the best supporting TV and movie characters in 2020. Chosen by us, and ranked by you.

Inverse/Chris Barker
Inverse/Chris Barker