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.
The complete list is in an extended entry...
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.