Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Top Ten TV Characters

Top Ten Favorite TV Characters

Over at Michael May's Adventureblog was this great meme. I loved it, and some of his choices, so I decided to give it a go myself.

Two things: 1) I did my list in chronological order, from when the characters first appeared on TV. I just had too hard a time ranking them from 10 down to 1. So, it is enough that they are in the top 10 for me.

2) This could change next month, or next week, or even tomorrow. That is one of the fun things about lists like these!


Samantha Stephens (Bewitched)


Wow. What can I say? Sam was so not like any housewives or mothers my little boy brain knew back in the 70s. Magic aside, she was something else, almost otherworldly. And the fact that she was head-over-heels in love with a nerd like Darrin gave hope to a generation.


Col. Steve Austin (The Six Million Dollar Man)


He was my idol as a kid. Totally screwed up in a major accident, he has some amazing surgeries and comes back even better. Dealing with leg issues myself since birth, I had a sort of affinity towards Steve. He gave me hope. And he was always cool, yet still a good guy.

And he was in love with ...


Jaime Sommers (The Bionic Woman)


I debated whether or not to add Jaime, as I already had one bionic person on this list. But Jaime meant a lot to me, as well, and in different ways. She was kind, caring and beautiful, yet she was also dealing with her bionic replacement parts. She wasn't always comfortable being "different" and that resonated with me in a big way.


Jessica Fletcher (Murder, She Wrote)


Time and again, people look at me like I am crazy when I mention my fondness for this show. But I don't care, I love it.

Jessica was always fair, always open-minded and always caring. And smart. You couldn't pull the wool over her eyes for very long, and if you did something wrong, from a lie to premeditated murder, she would call you on it. No matter what, she was hopeful. Hopeful that not only would her latest trip go without a hitch (yeah, right!), but hopeful in the goodness of people. Even if she was sometimes sadly mistaken.


Ryan Dallion (Friday the 13th: The Series)

friday the 13th

I could really include any of the three leads from this show. Micki (played by Louise Robey) and Jack (played by Chris Wiggins) were great characters, and as an ensemble, the trio clicked better than most I have seen. But Ryan was the one I liked best, the one I associated with the most.

He was just a few years older than I was, and the character was so similar to myself. He was a comic book geek, a bit arty, total father issues and a family that had collapsed around him. But he was optimistic, always looking for the bright side, the good in people. He was responsible and brave, even if he sometimes surprised himself. When the character was written out of the show, I felt the loss keenly. Might be totally nerdy to say so, but there it is.


Fox Mulder (The X-Files)


Many fans of "Friday the 13th: The Series" see lots of similarities in that show and "The X-Files". I see them too, and not the least of which is in the resemblance of Ryan Dallion to Agent Fox Mulder. Mulder is like a grown-up Ryan, in a "real" job.

Mulder, however, is his own character altogether. The nerd who believes in the "out there" stuff, he was always outside of the "cool" group. You don't get a nickname like Spooky for nothing. But Mulder was always ready to believe the unbelievable, ready to let his mind go where common sense would tell him otherwise. I think the character was more complete with Agent Dana Scully (played by Gillian Anderson), as the two completed and contrasted each other in such perfect ways. Mulder wasn't perfect, but he knew it. And he was okay with it.


Phoebe Buffay (Friends)


Phoebe was the most obscure, most original of the "Friends" cast. She was the one who shouldn't have belonged to the group, but did. She had a huge heart, but she was also not one to pull punches where truth was concerned. She called things like she saw them.

But she was always there for her friends, even when all they could talk about were themselves. And she remained true to herself, no matter what. Whether it was her musical "talent" or her views on just how the world worked, she was always herself.


Adrian Monk (Monk)


This one I wavered on, more than once. And I can see myself changing my mind soon, replacing Monk with Charlie Crews from "Life" or Patrick Jane from "The Mentalist". But, as of right now, I am sticking with this choice.

Monk is like the Sherlock Holmes of modern TV, the detective who can spot the clues all the other detectives overlook. Played with a level of pure sadness by Tony Shaloub, Monk knows he has more flaws than he can deal with, but he still gets up and out there each day, partly in tribute to his murdered wife, Trudy, and partly to (he hopes) catch who it was that killed her. I think one thing that makes me less a die hard fan is the fact that Monk doesn't ever seem to grow or improve. I know it is done to keep the character the way viewers enjoy him, but it can be a bit frustrating after all this time.


Dexter Morgan (Dexter)


Played with such conviction by Michael C. Hall, Dexter is the villain you forget is a villain, a serial killer. Taught by his step-father to hide his true self, Dexter lives a life of normalcy that seems real to all around him. But Dex reminds us, time and again, that it is all an act to keep the true man inside him hidden and safe.

Sort of like an anti-hero Batman, who is more at peace being the Batman and using his true identity as Bruce Wayne as a cover to keep Batman safe, Dexter the killer is the real deal. And it can be scary to find yourself seeing logic in some of the immoral choices Dexter makes.


Olive Snook (Pushing Daisies)


All of the characters on this show were great, quirky and fun. It is a show that should have had a good long run. But, that won't be the case.

Olive was the most fun, for me. She was vivacious, charming, sweet, caring ... just a blast. She was the "outsider" among the group, kept out of all their secrets, yet called upon time and again to help them out. And she did so, even though it hurt her a bit to be included only so far into their circle. Truly a great character, they should spin Olive off into a show of her own. And if that can't be, then someone else should get the wonderful Kristen Chenoweth into a show of her own. She is too awesome to just fade away.


So, what are your Top Ten TV Characters?


  1. EXCELLENT list! You have no idea how hard it was for me to pick between Jamie Sommers and Samantha Stephens for my list. It could have gone either way.

    And Fox and Olive should've made mine too. I got a little tired of Pushing Daisies towards the end, but Olive (and Emerson Cod) kept me going.

  2. Great list! Tho' I don't watch the telly anymore so the newer stuff is unfamiliar to me. But Mom got into the "Pushing Daisies" and was livid when it got cancelled.

    Friday the 13th is out on DVD( hoo-ray! )I'll have to pick those up, anon. And I may try this, later. It sounds like fun!

    Ever wonder what the stars are doing, now-a-days?

    Lee Majors is hawking the( get this )"Bionic Ear" for those hearing impaired folks!

  3. I don't know the last three but the rest are excellent, in my opinion! Good idea on the chronological order. I will have to do this one.

  4. great list. familiar with most. Dexter...have not tried that one out...assume it is good?

    Lee Majors...a must on the list.

  5. Agree with all of those except for Jessica Fletcher who to me is TVs greatest serial killer. How she shows up or is at the scene of every murder with a convenient explanation as to why SOMEONE ELSE did the crime always struck me as suspicious.

  6. For crime solvers, i can't think of anyone better than Columbo...he set the standard for quirky tv detectives.

  7. There are sooo many that I wouldn't know where to begin, but here are 10:
    Archie Bunker
    The Fonz
    Andy Sipowitz
    Hawkeye Pierce
    Lenny Briscoe
    Tony Soprano
    Andy Taylor
    Thomas Magnum

  8. This is so fun, can I save it for a rainy day! I love Dexter and I'm with you on Jessica Fletcher . . it is she alone who is responsible for my desire to go and visit the East Coast of the US!

  9. Cool,great list!Yes Phoebe was so cool.Monk too!lol.I don't know my top ten but there's definitely Bree Van De Kamp from Desperate Housewives.

  10. Awesome. Although, I'm sorry to see Oscar Goldman didn't make the cut. :-)

    I will have to try this.

  11. Thanks for all the comments! Would love to see those of you who haven't done this one share your picks!

  12. Variations on a theme, Wings. A lot of tough picks. It'll give me something to work on, this week-end.

  13. I couldn't resist a meme this simple and fun. Here it is.

  14. House, The Tick, Casey from Chuck, McCoy from Star Trek, Ben Cartwright, Raymond's parents on Everybody Loves Raymond, Reilly (Ace of Spies), Marianne (not Ginger), Ironhide from The Transformers, and ALF.