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my 25 favorite tv characters ever

this seems to be the meme du jour among producers seeking to do anything but writing (see whedonesque and james gunn) so here’s my contribution to the canon…

the rules:

- no puppets or cartoons.
- no mini-series.
- no reality show people.
- all characters must be regulars on the show.

1. jack bauer, 24 – because he fulfills my every fantasy of using violence to solve complex geopolitical issues and i’m not ashamed to admit it. i wish i could go through life saying “i’m gonna need a hacksaw.”

2. william “bill” maxwell, the greatest american hero – watch this dude fire his gun from the courthouse steps during the credit sequence and tell me there is someone cooler… “scenario!”

3. sonny crockett, miami vice – ok - maybe there is someone cooler then bill maxwell... mock the linen suits, the pastel shirts. mock the stubble all you want, but really, who is cooler than sonny? the answer is none… none more cool.

4. lorelai gilmore, gilmore girls – a unique televisiual invention, as charming as she is infuriating: i feel like she is my best friend and neighbor, only not in that creepy way in which i am dissociated from reality and think television is real.

(if i was in a fanwanking mood, i’d stick emily and richard gilmore, paris geller, lane and mrs. kim, luke danes and sebastian bach as “gil” to this list and just be done with it)

5. dr. leonard mccoy – as much as i love classic trek, the only character in that series to make the list: the model of crotchety humanism and liquor-soaked horse-sense, and the only character from that series with whom i could stand to go on a fishing trip.

6. TIE: dirk benedict as “starbuck”/katee sackhoff as “starbuck” – one was a child’s dream of swaggering gunslinger-hood, the other an irresistibly damaged grrl who would play stickball with your guts. damn, my priorities have changed.

7. colonel john “hannibal” smith, the a-team – because i love it when a plan comes together.

8. david addison, moonlighting – for the last twenty years the name for “great banter” on the lips of every person who cares about good writing has been “dave & maddie": ‘nuff said.

9. chloe o’brien, 24 – she makes extreme social maladjustment look like a quality you would demand in a potential mate: if the entire fifth season of 24 had consisted solely of chloe sitting in that hotel bar tasering men who hit on her, they would have just mailed them the emmy already.

10. david tennant as doctor who – there’s a new doctor in town, and he is, indeed, fit to pack tom baker’s lunch.

11. kirk gleason, gilmore girls – his every appearance on the screen is a masterful dadaist haiku.

12. TIE: jimmy berlutti, the practice/corky, tales of the gold monkey/chief tyrol, battlestar galactica – all hail the hypercompetent everyman who will never get his due (or the girl) but keeps the entire enterprise afloat while the pretty goes off to have subplots. this bud’s for you.

13. captain benjamin sisko, star trek: deep space nine – and i specify "captain" because my love for this character was cemented when they dropped all pretense and just allowed avery brooks to play it as “a man called hawk” in space.

14. bill haverchuck, freaks and geeks – in spite of my unnatural attraction to lindsay weir, this one has to go to haverchuck: the montage of his life as a latchkey kid is indelibly etched in my memory as sheer televisual poetry.

15. dr. douglas ross, ER – “how dare you treat your child like that – he is a little kid!” and there, a new standard of cool was born.

16. angela chase, my so-called life – without a doubt, i was brian krakow to someone’s angela chase when i was in high school. sad but true.

17/18. steven hill as “daniel briggs” in mission: impossible and steven hill as “adam schiff” in law & order – before peter graves as jim phelps there was daniel briggs, the very model of quiet competence. after daniel briggs there was adam schiff, the very model of cranky authoritarianism and the only character out of that franchise with whom i truly identify (because i’m generally cranky and grudging in all of my human interactions).

19. ricky ricardo – who, as a cuban friend of mine so aptly put it, “made it safe for latinos to be funny AND have sex with american women” – thanks ricky!

20. ilya kuryakin, the man from U.N.C.L.E. – singlehandedly making the world safe for black turtlenecks.

21. jamie buchman, mad about you – there’s two kind of men out there, men who want to marry jamie buchman, and LIARS!

22/23. gil gerard as “buck rogers” and lee majors as “the six million dollar man” – for me, these two meatballs stand on either side of the 1970’s like the kings of gondor at the argonath.

24. saul tigh, battlestar galactica – i’ve already written about this guy at great length, but it bears repeating: send michael hogan an emmy, for frack’s sake!

25. …and jerry mathers, as the beaver.


( 54 comments — Leave a comment )
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Aug. 22nd, 2006 07:24 pm (UTC)
I've recently been re-watching DS9 from the beginning and I've found Sisko's character evolution hilarious. In Seasons 4 and 5, all he does is yell at people. It's pretty great.
Aug. 22nd, 2006 07:26 pm (UTC)
25. …and jerry mathers, as the beaver.

In my head, Crow T. Robot said that.
Aug. 22nd, 2006 07:27 pm (UTC)
angela chase was/is perfection in my eyes! there will never be another like her!!

and i wanna be chloe when i grow up!
Aug. 22nd, 2006 07:29 pm (UTC)
I'm gonna have to hug you at Dragon Con JUST for #16. ^_^ Also, yay for other people who even REMEMBER Moonlighting. That show was my life when we moved to America, but now whenever people say Bruce Willis within 10 seconds they're talking about Ashton Kutcher and I want to cry.
Aug. 22nd, 2006 07:30 pm (UTC)
bill haverchuck, freaks and geeks

this just may be the best character i've seen on a list yet. brilliant.
Aug. 22nd, 2006 07:33 pm (UTC)
I still say the greatest T.V. character I have ever seen is Sayid Jarrah. A shame the talented Naveen Andrews doesn't get more scenes.

*hint hint* What? Come on, you know people, don't tell me you have no control over it. ;)
Aug. 22nd, 2006 07:37 pm (UTC)
Joss wins -- he managed to mention both Gordon Jackson and Jonathan Banks.

Aug. 22nd, 2006 07:39 pm (UTC)
and i'm competing with joss whedon about what, specifically?
Re: ??? - kajicarter - Aug. 22nd, 2006 07:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: ??? - taraljc - Aug. 23rd, 2006 02:42 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: ??? - spectralbovine - Aug. 22nd, 2006 07:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 22nd, 2006 07:37 pm (UTC)
I'd add Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Lorne from Angel... but I honestly don't know who to remove to do it. Another rule should be that the show was on more than one year or I'd add Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly.

Aug. 22nd, 2006 07:40 pm (UTC)
while we seem to watch different TV over the years, I agree with some, like Jamie Buchman, David Addison & Ricky Riccardo...

and of COURSE Jack Bauer & Chloe. I would watch an eppy of just Chloe, sitting at her computer, answering her phone, seemingly annoyed. She's terrific!

the Beav? I woulda went for charming friend of Wally, Eddie Haskell. :D

Aug. 22nd, 2006 07:47 pm (UTC)
These lists are so fun! So variegated.

I think you cheated with Kirk, though. He only became a regular in the last couple seasons.

Also, I think Tyrol is technically only recurring.
Aug. 22nd, 2006 07:55 pm (UTC)
number 22/23 is so poignant an image I could cry.
Aug. 22nd, 2006 11:16 pm (UTC)
titans indeed...
Aug. 22nd, 2006 08:03 pm (UTC)
You are one hep cat, sir, with your Who-Season-2-plugging ways.

America's gonna flip when they meet Mr. Tennant.
Aug. 22nd, 2006 08:05 pm (UTC)
YAY for mentioning David Tennant. His enthusiasm is infectious and you can tell he's a man who loves his work and pours everything he has into it. Gah.
Aug. 22nd, 2006 08:19 pm (UTC)
Yay for Haverchuck! I remember watching Freaks and Geeks and thinking, "This is me in grade 9.."
Aug. 22nd, 2006 08:27 pm (UTC)
7. colonel john “hannibal” smith, the a-team – because i love it when a plan comes together.

Oh Yay!
Aug. 22nd, 2006 08:48 pm (UTC)
10. david tennant as doctor who – there’s a new doctor in town, and he is, indeed, fit to pack tom baker’s lunch.


Umm, why yes I agree. (I like that David Tennant who plays the Tenth Doctor is number Ten).
Aug. 22nd, 2006 08:54 pm (UTC)
Does one have to be a producer to repeat this meme?

I may have to have a crack at it later.

Hurrak for Tennant mention! :D
Aug. 22nd, 2006 09:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Ooooh.
That was blatantly supposed to be "hurrah".

However, should I ever find myself creating my own movie/TV/book/whatever universe, I think that "Hurrak" could perhaps make a fitting swear-word of some sort.
Re: Ooooh. - misstee212 - Aug. 25th, 2006 06:53 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Ooooh. - the_partyman - Aug. 25th, 2006 02:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 22nd, 2006 09:04 pm (UTC)
Oh dear, I don't know 4/5 of the characters mentioned.
I agree with #'s 5, 7 and 15 though. Characters that I will never ever forget.

Right now I'm wondering if they cut the end sequenzce from 'A-Team' for US TV. Because there always is the 'kissing girls goodbye, grouping up for the last shot, lighting the big ass cigar, the line 'because i love it when a plan comes together' and the credits.
I thought Americans were so keen on keeping smoking out of TV, movies and adds. Did they really show that?
Just asking...
Aug. 22nd, 2006 09:11 pm (UTC)
Have you SEEEEEEEN the S3 promo for BSG with Pirate!Tigh? ZOMG!! He is going to kick all kinds of Cylon ASSSSSS (at least, that is what I gleaned from the wee little nuggets of promo film).

It was your dissertation on how AWESOME the character of Saul is that led me to BSG in the first place. Good on you!

You get bonus *mandangoes* for mentioning "Tales of the Gold Monkey" -- I show that I was pretty sure that I was the ONLY ONE watching.
Aug. 22nd, 2006 10:40 pm (UTC)
You were NOT the only one *sniffle*
(no subject) - quillons - Aug. 23rd, 2006 03:06 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 22nd, 2006 09:43 pm (UTC)
5. Another McCoy fan! I didn't see Star Trek:TOS untill I was older, so the entire thing was a huge disappointment to me. However, I really loved McCoy and DeForrest Kelly's performance. He's probably the only Enterprise member who I'd go out for a beer with.

10. Sacrilege! Nine over Ten any day!

24. Word.
Aug. 22nd, 2006 10:25 pm (UTC)
Two words: David Addison.
Aug. 22nd, 2006 10:29 pm (UTC)
5 more words: Captain Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce.
indeed... - chaodai - Aug. 22nd, 2006 10:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 23rd, 2006 12:29 am (UTC)
I fail. The first 25 off the top of my head are cartoon characters.
Aug. 23rd, 2006 12:48 am (UTC)
4. lorelai gilmore, gilmore girls – a unique televisiual invention, as charming as she is infuriating: i feel like she is my best friend and neighbor, only not in that creepy way in which i am dissociated from reality and think television is real.

(if i was in a fanwanking mood, i’d stick emily and richard gilmore, paris geller, lane and mrs. kim, luke danes and sebastian bach as “gil” to this list and just be done with it)

I love how you single handedly mention all of the major characters from GG, except for Rory! But I have to say I was glad to see Kirk made the list. (funny his brother in real life started the list and he's now on one!) Sean Gunn can single handedly make an episode of GG.

Also David Tennant! Good Call!
Aug. 23rd, 2006 12:51 am (UTC)
Bill Maxwell left a handsom manly scar on my psyche that remains to this day. The character seemed to be what old rough cops should be when they stand behind a bullet proof teacher who can't fly without waving his hands around like a jewish house mother at a bakery sale.

Surfice it to say he's good people, liked Robert in i spy too! not to mention half life 2!

PS- what??? No Albert Rosenfield from Twin Peaks????
Aug. 23rd, 2006 01:43 am (UTC)
I'm with ya on Addison, Ricky and Hannibal.

I'd have to add...

Bob Crane as Col. Hogan (before you found out how he passed away)

Richard Dean Anderson as MacGyver.

Pierce Brosnan as Remington Steele...or whatever his name REALLY was. I wanted to be Laura...now I know why I drive an 88 VW Cabriolet.

Rose and Blanche from the Golden Girls. They make me smile.

Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore in the Dick Van Dyke Show. Perfect in every way.

And of course the fore-mentioned Hawkeye.


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