Almost every great TV show has at least four major characters for viewers to invest their hopes, dreams, dread and anger in, and most have more, so it's a fool's task trying estimate the total number of notable small screen characters out there. But it's far easier to narrow down the number of memorable personalities that we only heard about and heard from, but never actually saw with our eyes.

Here are the 11 greatest examples of such characters. Some lived through the descriptions of others, while some were voices unattached to physical bodies. I largely kept it to people who didn't show up at all, as opposed to characters like Home Improvement's Wilson and Norm's wife Vera on Cheers, both of whom were seen full-body but had their faces obscured. To keep the mood upbeat, go ahead and sketch out what you think each character would really look like on a piece of paper, and then email me all those pictures.

Niles frasier

Maris Crane - Frasier

Have you ever met a woman whose quadriceps were too tight to straddle anything bigger than a border collie? What about one whose innate fear of buffets kept her off of cruise ships? I've never met anyone like that, and I certainly wasn't ever married to that kind of person. But Niles Crane was for a while on Frasier, and it only takes a few minutes with the retentive therapist to know that it would take someone perfectly crafted to his quirks to keep him happy. And Maris most certainly wasn't that, becoming an impossibly constructed caricature as time went on. It became apparent to all involved that trying to bring her out at any point would destroy the magic, and so in the shadowy darkness she stayed.

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