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And Now For Something Completely Different

Yeah, I know I’ve been on a bit of a pedestal of late, so it’s clearly time for something completely different. In keeping with Darla’s list of 25 favorite TV characters (read her entry for details on where the list originated), I put together my own list.

As with her, the rules are one character per show, and they are listed in no particular order. The only caveat is that I know I am leaving out favorite characters from shows I just can’t bring to mind. I’ve thought about this for a week, and I am sure some other characters will pop into my head in the coming weeks, so I may have to edit this list. 🙂

  • Jean-Luc Picard (Star Trek: The Next Generation) – Because’s he so cool! Yeah, Jean-Luc would rather talk his way out of a problem than fake-punch his way out, but damnit, he’s just so cool! Smooth, suave, cool-under-pressure (as opposed to "just so cool"), respect through force-of-will instead of brute force…He’s just so cool!
  • Spock (Star Trek) – Spock was one of my idols growing up in the 70s and watching Star Trek in syndication. His battle between passion and logic may well be a literal manifestation of the Enlightenment’s theory of will, but it was still cool to watch him make the struggle. Smart, logical, and almost always right. Reminds me of me.
  • Mal (Firefly – a.k.a. Malcom Reynolds) – When Mal said something, the other characters in Firefly believed it, but more importantly, we, the audience, believed it. w00t! Mal made me believe he would kill me for messing with his crew, and he made me laugh when Nathan Fillion’s great facial expressions and body English were combined with Joss Whedon’s brilliant writing. Plus, he just so cool!
  • Giles (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) – I love Giles. Not only is he just so cool, he’s obscenely smart, amazingly intense, and hysterically funny, all at the same time. Anthony Steward Head is an actor’s actor (in this non-actor’s opinion), and his intensity would sometimes leap out of the TV screen and leave me gripping the arms of my chair. I love that. (Oh, and for the record, it took great willpower for me not to choose Dawn, and only because "she’s just so cute!")
  • Wesley Wyndham-Price (Angel) – Wesley started life in Buffy as astoundingly pompous and incompetent (yet oh-so funny), and continued in that vein with his debut in Angel (Wesley: "I’m a rogue demon hunter." Cordy: "What’s a rogue demon?"), often being the unwitting butt of a joke with a mere glance or expression from another character. By the time he was done, however, Joss Whedon and David Greenwald had changed him into a calm, cool, and collected man of few words who seemed to barely contain his dark strength ("I’ll take away your bucket."). Better yet, they did so in a way that we accepted. That’s good TV. Note, please that as of this writing, I haven’t read Darla’s own list — we only talked about it — I have a feeling she will be saying much the same thing as me for Wesley, but neither of us were copying the other.
  • Jim Rockford (The Rockford Files)Dee do, deedle lu, deedle leedle lee do do. Dee du, dee del lu, dee del lu, dee del lu, deedle leedle lee do do. Man, do I love that theme song. James Garner’s portrayal of the usually down-on-his-luck PI in the 1970s is one of the few performances in one of the few TV shows (especially PI shows from that era) that stands up to watching today. Jim Rockford was real, with real problems, real strengths, real failings, and real talents he used to tackle the problems he was beset with week in and week out.
  • Number Six (The Prisoner) – "I am not a number!" (pause pause pause…a little longer…wait for it…) "I am a free man!" Number 6, played by Patrick McGoohan, was cool. He was fighting for his right to be an individual, and he never gave up that fight despite the trials and tribulations he was presented with in the 17 episodes of this one-season series, and despite the life of leisure and comfort he was offered in The Village. That’s my kind of guy.
  • Commander John Chrichton (Farscape) – Chrichton is just so cool! Seriously, his delivery, his swagger, the way he held a gun…He just screams cool. And I loved the way he used so many American pop culture references in his interactions (from the nicknames to the amazing episode where the rest of the crew of Moya was turned into Warner Brothers cartoon characters – brilliance!). John Chrichton is one of those characters that so many men (OK, boys) wish we could be.
  • Adrian Monk (Monk) – Tony Shalhoub is one of the great character actors of our time, and he brings this character to life so well, it’s impossible for me not to suspend my disbelief. Monk’s neurosis are funny, even while they are sad, and his pining for his murdered wife is tear-inducing at times.
  • Colonel Jack O’Neil (Stargate: SG-1) – I liked the Stargate movie, but I love the version of Jack O’Neil played by MacGyver’s Richard Dean Anderson. Witty, irreverent, smart (while trying his best to hide it like the popular, pretty girl in school) and the buddy you want guarding your back. Colonel O’Neil knew when to break the rules, when to bend them, and when to just kick some butt, and he made it fun for us to watch.
  • Gaius Baltar (Battlestar Galactica) – I mean the new series, not the original (or I would have chosen Dirk Benedict’s Starbuck because he was just so cool!). James Callis is a terrific actor, and Gaius Baltar is the result of that acting married to some amazing writing. The new Gaius Baltar is so real in the way he is weak, smart, used-car slimey, desparate, cowardly, and just plain wrong. James’ facial tics just kill me, and the way he interacts with the invisible Number Six is just awesome to watch. Katee Sackhoff’s version of Starbuck was a close second, but Gaius is just too awesome.
  • Dark Angel (Dark Angel) – Jessica Alba. Enough said.
  • Colonel Hogan (Hogan’s Heroes) – Always cool, calm, collected, fast on his feat, and a smartass in the face of the Nazi’s, Colonel Hogan was another character from my childhood that I looked up. I watched reruns of this show in syndication for years as a kid, and I loved how Hogan used humor in the face of adversity to misdirect the laughably inept bad guys.
  • Bret Maverick (Maverick) – James Garner’s second appearance in my list, Bret Maverick was another character who was always calm and cool in the face of adversity. Yeah, he was a con man, but jeepers, he only conned the bad guys, inadvertently serving justice (sort of) along the way. Lovable and charismatic, Bret rocked. I remember as a kid being pissed when Channel 11 or Channel 39 (in Dallas) showed an episode without Bret. As there were two seasons without him, I got used to disappointment.
  • Chandler Bing (Friends) – I love Chandler Bing. I named my dog Chandler Bing. I especially love the Chandler Bing of Friends through season 7. After that, I began to like Joey more, but the preponderance of loving seems to be with Chandler. He was funny, witty, and had a biting sense of humor. w00t!
  • Al Swearengen (Deadwood) – I was late to the Deadwood Train, but I was hooked with the first episode I did see this past season, and Al Swearengen was one of the big reasons for that. He’s smart, ruthless, mostly fair (at least in this season), and knows how to dispatch a hired bully out to do the bidding of an evil, would-be tyrant. New favorite line about Al: "When he ain’t lyin’, Al’s the most honorable man you’ll ever meet."
  • Steve Austin (The Six Million Dollar Man) – I loved this show when I was a kid, and I thought Steve Austin was cool. Heck, he was a man barely alive, and look what he could do! In fact, I liked this character so much, I actually tried to watch Lee Majors’ terrible bounty hunter TV show that he had in the 80s.
  • Reverend Jim Ignatowski (Taxi) – "What does…a yellow light…mean?" "Slow down!" "Whaaaaaat dooooooes…a yellllooooowww liiiiiggght…mean?" That’s just brilliant. Jim was a brilliant character played brilliantly by Christopher Lloyd, and I have many vivid memories of scenes with him in them.
  • Gil Grissom (CSI) – Gil is cool, smart, and a giant nerdy dork. And I love ‘im! There may be some issues with him working too much as an escape from having too many personal relationships, but the man is cool in the face of amazing pressure, and solid as a rock. Gotta love Gil.
  • Johnny Smith (The Dead Zone) – The funny thing about Johnny Smith is that I don’t really know what to say about him. That’s because I don’t watch the show. I mean, I’ve seen an episode or three, but I don’t watch it regularly. So I don’t (yet) know what it is that I like about Johnny Smith, but I do know that he leaped into my mind when compiling this list, so here he is. I guess the real question is why I don’t watch the show? That’s a good question. Pardon me while I fiddle with TiVo.
  • Will Robinson (Lost in Space) – Oh, sure, the first thing you think of when you think Lost in Space is "DANGER! DANGER!," but the follow line is "DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!" When I was growing up, syndicated TV reruns were part and parcel of my day. Yeah, I know, that’s pretty sad, but I lived in a rural pseudo-town with no friends nearby. Hmmm, I seem to be digressing, but my point is that Bill Mumy’s Will Robinson was a role model, of sorts, to me, though I always hated how loyal he stayed to Dr. Smith when the good doctor jerked him around week in and week out. Besides, Bill went on to record with America.
  • John Locke (Lost) – Terry O’Quinn is a great actor, and he always manages to make his characters feel alive and vibrant. Hmph, that sounds like marketingspeak, but it’s true. I only watched part of Season 2 of the show (J.J. Abrams always seems to have great ideas that he then manages into big flaming sacks of cow dung), but John Locke was easily my favorite character in the show while I did watch it, and I found him absolutely fascinating.
  • Anthony Dorian (The Magician) – I was seven years old when this show started in 1973 (two season run), but I have very strong, yet vague memories of it. I mean, it’s Bill Bixby, and he was cool (back then), and he did magic tricks in pursuit of the bad guys, or something like that. What’s not to like? I also remember being devastated when the show was canceled. I kept waiting for it to come back, and it didn’t, but since we didn’t have the INTARWEB back then, we didn’t really know it was canceled, and in the end, I think my mother just wanted me to stop asking about it.
  • Batman (Batman)Nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh BATMAN! Batman…Batman…Never has a comic character brought so much controversey and angst to the world of comic fans, but I don’t really care. Adam West’s Batman may not have had a lot of dignity, and he certainly wasn’t the Dark Knight, but damnit, I loved the show as a kid, and I still love it today, and mostly because of Batman himself.
  • Buck Rogers (Buck Rogers in the 25th Century) – Of all the shows on this list, Buck Rogers is the weakest. Actually, it’s the worst, and it’s the only show in the list that doesn’t stand up to modern viewing. Doesn’t matter, I loved the show as a kid, and I thought Buck was, yep, cool. I think I was jonesing for some Battlestar Galactica, too, but it was in space, there were some (really bad) lasers, and I even liked that horrid little "robot." It was Buck, though, that kept me coming back.

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