One way to engage audiences is through characters. Audiences enjoy getting to know the characters, building up to an “ah ha” moment, when the audience understands a little more about who the character is, and how that relates to the story as a whole.
Audiences need to like the protagonist(s), to both relate to and admire them. People often relate to characters that remind them of themselves; characters who face similar types of problems. People often admire characters that demonstrate a skill or proficiency, particularly if that skill demonstrates altruistic motives, such as teaching or medicine, or if it has a strong visual appeal, such as performance arts or athletics. Intelligence is another admirable trait, though when it comes to brains a person can be smart, knowledgeable, or clever.