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Posted on Monday, September 18th, 2006

Dave!Avitable has run across a meme too intriguing to resist. Unfortunately, it's a long, difficult, time consuming meme... which wouldn't be a bad thing, except I am preparing for TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY and don't have the time to spare. DANG YOU TO HECK AVITABLE!!! The idea is to come up with your 25 most favorite television characters that aren't cartoons or puppets (see, I told you it was tough).

I managed to come up with 96.

Once I weeded out the hottie chicks that had no other reason to be there, I was left with 54. Then it got really difficult. How do you narrow it down? What's the criteria? Eventually I found myself mostly picking out characters that were smart asses or quirky or otherwise oddly entertaining.

TV Characters

The complete list is in an extended entry...

  1. Trevor Hale: Cupid (Jeremy Piven). The best character ever written for television, Jeremy Piven was able to make you cry your heart off one minute, then make you laugh your ass off the next. How ABC could have been so stupid to cancel this show before letting it find an audience (as they jerked it around the schedule) still fills me with rage.
  2. Mr. Spock: Star Trek (Leonard Nimoy). Do I really need to explain this one? Spock has to be one of the coolest characters television has ever known. It's only logical he be on the list.
  3. Veronica Mars: Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell). Yet another creation of the brilliant Rob Thomas, Veronica Mars is everything you could possibly want in a woman... cute, hot, clever, witty, smart, spunky, sexy, literate, funny, charming, and entertaining. The fact that she is featured on the best show currently airing on television is just gravy.
  4. Keith Mars: Veronica Mars (Enrico Colantoni). TV dads are usually pretty pathetic, but that wouldn't do for Veronica Mars. Keith is a total hero... not just some idiot foil for Veronica's wit.
  5. Jaye Tyler: Wonderfalls (Caroline Dhavernas). Jaye's acerbic, slacker nature has been tried many times on television and fails most every attempt. Wonderfalls managed to get it right, and the fact that American television audiences were too dang stupid to "get it" has caused me to give up on all of humanity.
  6. Jeffrey Murdock: Coupling (Richard Coyle). It is impossible to describe Jeff if you've never seen Coupling before, so I won't even attempt it. His bizarre, borderline insane antics never fail to entertain.
  7. Ari Gold: Entourage (Jeremy Piven). Another Jeremy Piven classic character. Ari Gold is everything you would want in a Hollywood agent and everything you don't want in a person. Despicably likable and riotously funny.
  8. Chandler Bing: Friends (Matthew Perry). An obvious choice, but no-less important. Chandler WAS Friends to me, and kept me watching to the very last episode.
  9. Dave Lister: Red Dwarf (Craig Charles). Terminally lazy slacker Dave Lister is my favorite anti-hero in the relm of sci-fi fantasy, and one of the most memorable characters on this list.
  10. Det. Robert Goren & Det. Alexandra Eames: L&O Criminal Intent (Vincent D'Onofrio & Kathryn Erbe). My favorite of the Law & Order franchises, Goren's encyclopedic knowledge is offset by his quirky personality in a way I never tire of watching. I tossed in Easmes because she is so intrinsic to why Goren's character "works."
  11. Samantha Marquez: Las Vegas (Vanessa Marcil). Las Vegas has a buffet of sweet hotties to drool over, but only Sam has the attitude to make my list. Honest, it's not just because she's fantastically good-looking.
  12. Tommy Logan: Palace Guard (D.W. Moffett). This all-but-forgotten television show disappeared as quickly as it arrived, but the character of Tommy Logan made a huge impression on me. The guy was smart, funny, unflappable, and always fun to watch. Another show I'd love to see on DVD one day.
  13. Lt. Col. Sarah MacKenzie: JAG (Catherine Bell). Okay. So I kept one of them on my list just because she's fantastically good-looking. But she was also a strong, kick-ass character as well, so it's not like she is undeserving.
  14. John Crichton: Farscape (Ben Browder). Farscape came along and broke all the sci-fi series rules, and a good chunk of the reason for that was American astronaut John Crichton... an earthman through whose eyes we could see a universe gone mad. It was a great idea that worked on every possible level and, even once he became accustomed to this new world, he was still far more interesting than most characters in sci-fi.
  15. Special Agent Dale Cooper: Twin Peaks (Kyle MacLachlan). A more bizarre character has rarely been seen on television and, for that reason alone, he makes my list. I remain pissed that creator David Lynch decided to make a prequel to the series when given the opportunity to make a movie from the show, because it left us all hanging to one mother of a cliffhanger that was never resolved.
  16. Hunter Franklin: Oh Grow Up! (Steve Dunham) It wasn't so much Hunter that I liked in this show, but the entire ensemble of characters. Still... clueless yet faithful Hunter was the glue around which everybody else was connected, so he was an easy choice to make. How this bit of brilliance in-between Alan Ball's American Beauty and Six Feet Under could have been so badly overlooked is still a mystery to me, and I hope on a regular basis that the show will be released on DVD soon.
  17. Det. Eddie Arlette Keen Eddie (Mark Valley). Eddie was always kind of pathetic, because nothing ever goes right for him and it always seems that he was one step behind everybody else. But, in the end, he always managed to pull through in a way that left you wondering if he was smarter than he appeared to be. Half of the appeal to this show was the London location and sweet hotness of Sienna Miller... without them, Eddie Arlette probably wouldn't have made the list.
  18. Dani Powell: P.S.I. Luv U (Connie Sellecca). My infatuation with Connie Sellecca reaches all the way back to Flying High, then continues through Hotel and Greatest American Hero. It culminated in the short-lived P.S.I. Luv U, which had her playing a street-wise, self-centered, yet charming gal with a mysterious criminal past that was my favorite Sellecca character yet.
  19. Captain Malcolm Reynolds: Firefly (Nathan Fillon). Like Avitable, my favorite character from Firefly is unquestionably Wash. But Wash was so underutilized that I'm going to have to pass him over in favor of Mal for my list. No matter, really, because he was given some of the cleverest dialogue since Buffy (which makes sense since both were written by television mastermind Joss Whedon).
  20. Bill McNeal: NewsRadio (Phil Hartman). I wholly admit that my love of all things Bill McNeal is attributed solely to the genius of Phil Hartman. He manages to play Bill as a totally self-centered egomaniac, but you like the guy anyway.
  21. Steve Taylor: Coupling (Jack Davenport). Though Jeff is the character I love best from Coupling, Steve's long-winded rants are the stuff of legend. I became a convert after the Lesbian Spank Inferno speech, and it only got better from there.
  22. Berg: Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place (Ryan Reynolds). Berg is one of those characters that you either love or hate. I related to his wry humor and intense sarcasm from the very first episode, and became a life-long fan of Ryan Reynolds from that moment.
  23. Barney Stinson: How I Met Your Mother (Neil Patrick Harris). Barney has a humorous if not somewhat amoral view on life that I find intriguing. It's the kind of life that I like to imagine I'd like to have but, in reality, could never live. He's also alone without every seeming to be lonely, which is something I can relate to.
  24. Jarod: The Pretender (Michael T. Weiss). I don't know if the character of Jarod is as interesting to me as the concept of the character, but the wide-eyed innocence that he has in looking at life is something that I try to have every day.
  25. Fox Mulder: The X-Files (David Duchovney). Mulder was such a multi-layered character, that I was compelled to like him. I especially liked how he was so flawed (even a little bit of a perv), and had no apologies for it. He never cared what other people thought, but instead focused on his own thoughts and beliefs. A life's lesson to be sure.

Categories: Memes 2006, Television 2006Click To It: Permalink


  1. Kapha says:

    Wow – very nicely done.

    I don’t watch TV (as such) anymore but still matched up on 10 of your picks. Was pleased to see Spock, Lister (Red Dwarf is one of my all time favorite shows), Agent Dale Cooper (ditto on Lynch needing to be lynched), Jeff from Coupling (soooo funny at times!!), and of course Mulder.

    And all this time I thought I was the only one to have a forever-crush on Connie Sellecca …

  2. Ok, so I’ve been putting off buying the Veronica Marrs DVD’s because I was unsure if I wanted to drop the dough on what, really, was a wing and a prayer.

    I now know I never should have doubted you, Dave. Anyone who has Jaye, Goren, Ari, AND Bill McNeal on the same list is fully empowered to decide which series I need to watch. My favorite McNealism, which I still use in everyday conversation is “Rocket Fuel, da-yum!”

  3. EDDIE says:

    Jeremy Piven got two… He is getting better and better as an actor. But he is so metrosexual these days.
    (I know it has nothing to do with acting.)

  4. Avitable says:

    I almost chose Berg, too – should have figured you and I were fans of Two Guys, A Girl, A Pizza Place, and a Chicken. Isn’t it funny how everyone from that show (Traylor Howard, Nathan Fillion, Ryan Reynolds) has done relatively well except for the guy who played Pete?.

    Dale Cooper is an inspired choice, too. I haven’t seen a couple of the shows that you name, so I might have to check them out.

    Oh, and Duchovny has no “e”.

  5. Kevin says:

    Piven’s on there twice, eh? I still need to see Cupid. Any word on a DVD release yet?

    Love the inclusion of Barney and Dr. Bergin. Great choices.

  6. *lynne* says:

    Heh. Reminds me that I have been meaning to watch Firefly. Unfortunately, many of the shows you highlight are unknown to me: I *knew* my tv-exposure was low, but stil… 🙁 But you know that now I am going to *have* to attempt this meme too! thaaaaaaaanx! 😉

  7. jenny says:

    OMG – I totally forgot about The Pretender! I used to love that show! Huge crush on Dale Cooper as well. Excellent choices!

  8. Wayne Hall says:

    I have yet to do a meme. Am I missing out on a lot? I think I need to be more interesting of a person to feel justified doing a meme.

    Like the Veronica Mars thing. Never heard of it until reading this blog. Seems I’m missing out. So I may get the first season to try it out.

  9. Jeff says:

    I’d love to see the antonym of this same meme – with David Caruso in square #1 of course.

  10. moe says:

    I love Red Dwarf! You totally just shot up the charts on the awesomeness scale. Excellent!

  11. Miss Britt says:

    Barney is the best surprise of last season. Seriously hysterical.

  12. i couldn’t do this meme without including cartoon characters and MOVIE characters. Van Wilder would be at the top of my list. 😀

  13. jodi says:

    i love jeff from coupling! i remember the last episode, at least the last one they showed on bbc america, where jeff and steve are dressed in spiderman outfits, dancing to the theme song in order to help patrick impress sally. steve is not happy about it at all, and i believe he says something along the lines of “i hate this dance.” but jeff is so exuberant about the thing and says “i INVENTED this dance!”

  14. Hilly says:

    Jeremy Piven….is Ari not the most awesome character ever?

    Ryan Reynolds….any role, but yeah Berg.

    And I love me some Barney! Ever since Neil Patrick Harris went balls to the wall in “Harold and Kumar” he has become cool again, but Barney is a great character.

    Nathon Fillion…..yum.

    Okay so all I have done here is agreed with your quirky characters that are also cute…go fig.

  15. sultana says:

    Spock? Berg? Fox? I love em all!

    Chandler was my reason for watching Friends too. And Bill McNeal? I had completely forgotten about him!

    What a fun meme 😀

  16. Juli says:

    Phil Hartman… you are wise, so wise to include him. Twenty five would be hard considering how many years have been spent in front of the tube.

  17. Laurence says:

    1. Cupide ?!? I don’t know. But Jeremy Piven… Wow !!!
    2. AH Star Treck… How do not quote Spock ?
    3. I want to see Veronica Mars !
    5. ?!?
    6. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH ! Jeff Murdock !!! I watched Coupling just to see him.
    7. Entourage ?!? But Jeremy Piven… Wow !!!
    8. When all my friends was falling in love with Ross, I felt me odd because I always loved Chandler !
    9. ?!?
    10. “New-York Section Criminelle” in French. Love the character played by D’Onofrio !
    11. Sam… I would like to be like this character !
    12. ?!?
    13. Jag… I can’t watching one episode right through. I tried. But I can’t.
    14. ?!?
    15. Twin Peaks. I never really got into this serie.
    16. ?!?
    17. Keen Eddie… You’re right. But I don’t know why this serie didn’t work.
    18. ?!?
    19. ?!?
    20. Ouais ! (=”Half-hearted Yes” in French)
    21. I prefer Jeff !
    22. You’re right.
    23. Oh ! “Docteur Doogie” has grown ! 😀
    24. “Le Caméléon” (=”The Pretender”) How to forget !
    25. La vérité est ailleurs, Dave ! 😀

  18. Bec says:

    Just mor and more you show how splendid you are… I watch far too many shows to do this meme… Piffle! I will be debating this one in my head until the sun rises!

  19. A lot of favorites of mine on that list. I’ll comment on the awesomeness of the character Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother played by Neil Patrick Harris. I was never a big NPH fan BUT last night (season premier) on what a great character he is on that show. He’s totally a character and a great one at that.

    And Berg, his Kirk imitations are the best!

  20. SJ says:

    Oh, lordy. After slaving over the “Name Three” meme, I SWORE I wouldn’t do a time-consuming meme ever again. But damn, this one’s so tempting!

    John Crichton and Malcolm Reynolds: Woo hoo!

  21. Eve says:

    This is a great list!!! I’d like to do this meme eventually, though I fear I might just list 20 Star Trek characters! I really have to think about this one.

  22. Michelle says:

    A fan of Firefly and Joss, yet no Buffy/Angel characters made your list? hmm.
    Jaye Tyler would have to be on my list as well…at least there were 13 episodes of Wonderfalls on the DVD.

  23. CJ says:

    I appreciate the fact that you included Keith Mars and Steve from Coupling.

    Sure, Veronica is the greatest TV heroine ever (and probably my own personal number ONE favorite TV character of all time), but Keith is the best TV dad EVUH! He doesn’t get enough respect. And yeah, everybody loves Jeff on Coupling (because how can you not?), but it was always Steve’s rants that made me laugh the most. Lesbian spank inferno is indeed a classic, but really, any Steve rant worked for me.

  24. Epona says:

    NewsRadio is one of my absolute favorite shows and Phil Hartman is one of the greatest actors ever. He made NewsRadio so much better than the brilliance it already was.

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