Every Main Character, Ranked By Likability


Dickinson was one of Apple TV+’s most successful shows and part of the reason was the cast of characters, some of whom are more likable than others.

There were many reasons to enjoy Apple TV+’s Dickinson when it debuted on the streaming service in November 2019. The story of legendary poet Emily Dickinson is fantastic on its own but the series takes it to the next level with a great blend of comedy and drama while adding a modern twist to everything.

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However, the best part about the series would have to be the characters. Each of them is unique and fans are given a look at their many flaws, which makes them relatable despite living in the 1800s. While every character is interesting, some are more likable than others.

9 Emily Norcross Dickinson

Emily Norcross Dickinson

Not to be confused with her daughter and the protagonist, Emily Norcross Dickinson is the mother of the show. She isn’t flat-out unlikable but she’s an unfortunate product of her time. She firmly believes in the gender roles of the day, making her push back against her daughter’s wishes.

Whenever Emily shows a desire to not just be a housewife, her mother has issues with it, making her unlikable in those moments. There’s also the way she falls into a depression when her husband leaves and how she struggles with the maid coming in. She doesn’t mean any harm but it’s hard to get behind her.

8 Austin Dickinson

Austin Dickinson

Like most of the people on the show, Austin Dickinson is something of a victim of his upbringing. He believes in the same things that his parents do about how everyone’s lives should be. In his mind, he’s the head of household and his wife Sue should do things that most other wives do.

Austin has some likable moments like when he threw himself completely into Shakespeare Club or when he submitted a poem under his name for Emily. However, he can also be downright mean like he was to Emily in the finale, preventing her from attending the wedding due to his jealousy.

7 Edward Dickinson

Similar to his wife and the other adults of the era, Edward Dickinson is someone who wants to stick to the expected gender roles. He believes the man should be the breadwinner and the woman should handle things like cooking and cleaning.

Again though, it’s hard to fully blame them as it’s the only world they know. Regardless, Edward has a leg up because his love for Emily is endearing. Even when he gets mad at her for publishing a poem, he has still done nice things for her, including preventing her favorite tree from being destroyed.

6 Lavinia Dickinson

Lavinia Dickinson

Lavinia, also known as Vinnie, is the youngest of the Dickinson siblings. She’s also the one that the audience typically feels the most sympathy for. Austin is set up to kind of have whatever he wants while Emily is a handful, leaving Lavinia as the forgotten sibling.

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Her mother also doesn’t even search for a suitor for her, even though it’s what she wants. Lavinia kind of just wants to be loved. She’s also a decent source of comedy throughout the season, which makes her more likable than some other characters.

5 George Gould

George Gould and Emily Dickinson

It doesn’t seem like George Gould will be back for the second season and that’s actually kind of a shame. He is immediately shown to have feelings for Emily and they come across as genuine. George is also the guy who is there for her at every turn in ways nobody else really is.

It’s George who goes with her to see Henry David Thoreau (played hilariously by stand-up comedian John Mulaney), keeps her secret when she sneaks into the volcano lecture, and offers to take her to California for a more freeing life. He means well but also made the mistake of asking Edward for Emily’s hand in marriage without talking to her about it first, which is not cool.

4 Death

Wiz Khalifa in Dickinson

This one might come as a surprise because Death doesn’t seem like someone an audience member would like. This is a unique case though. Death shows up to visit with Emily a handful of times throughout the show and there’s just something cool about him.

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Maybe it’s that he’s played by Wiz Khalifa but he has a certain aura about him that stands out. True, he does have to take Ben when he dies but that’s just a case of a guy doing his job. Death is someone here who is likable because he’s cool, not due to his actions.

3 Ben Newton

Ben Newton actually has the shortest stint on the show of anyone listed here. He doesn’t appear until the sixth episode when he’s working in the Dickinson household as a clerk for Edward but he immediately catches Emily’s eye.

Ben becomes beloved because he fully supports Emily in her dreams unlike most around her. Their romance is adorable and that’s especially true when they agree to not get married, showing how much Ben doesn’t believe in the traditions of the era. His untimely death hurts because of how likable he is.

2 Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert

Other than Emily herself, Sue Gilbert is the show’s most important character. She’s the love interest of Emily and ends up marrying Austin, putting her right in the middle of everything. Sue is instantly likable due to her bond with Emily and how great they are together.

She also earns sympathy points when you find out about how much she has lost in terms of family members. Sue is in a hard place because she clearly loves Emily but also has feelings for Austin and understands what that relationship can do for her. She handles every situation well and comes across as someone to root for.

1 Emily Dickinson

In a lot of cases, a show’s protagonist isn’t the most likable and it’s often a supporting character who steals the show. That’s not quite the situation here. Emily Dickinson, played remarkably by Hailee Steinfeld, is really likable. Even her flaws are fine since she doesn’t ever really do anything mean-spirited.

The worst thing she could be called is a bit selfish. Regardless, Emily cares about her friends and family even if she sometimes shows it in weird ways. You also have to appreciate how she’s incredibly talented and wants to do her own thing rather than what is expected of her. That makes her immensely likable.

NEXT: Apple TV+: 10 Shows To Watch If You Like Dickinson


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Updated: January 8, 2021 — 5:30 pm

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