Thursday, May 17, 2012

Top 10 TV Characters

As years pass by, the TV series environment has been significantly enriching fiction and pop culture.  And from this rich (rich in quantity at least, since though there are plenty of awesome TV series, but by average, TV series don’t have first-rate quality) assortment of TV series came plenty of interesting fictional characters who are played by very talented actors.  Here, in this top 10, I list my favorites…

Oh, BTW, a Doctor (there are plenty of reincarnations of the Doctor character) from the very successful and long-lived TV series “Dr. Who” greatly deserves a spot in a list of TV series characters.  Unfortunately, “Dr. Who” was a TV series I wasn’t able to follow.  Heck, I even haven’t watched a single episode of “Dr. Who” yet.  Aside from the Doctor, there could be other great characters that I haven’t encountered, so sorry for the snubs on this list.  Aside from that, I also did not add characters from animated TV series.  Since if I did, they would probably occupy 6 to 7 spots in the list. 

Before we start with number 10, let me first enumerate the honorable mentions: Hercules (from “Hercules: the Legendary Journeys”), Xena, Lex Luthor (from “Smallville”), Dexter Morgan (a very fascinating character, but my real exposure to him was through the books), Nikita, Quark (from “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”), Scully & Mulder, Green Hornet, Kato (amazingly played by Bruce Lee), Batman (the goofy, but still awesome, version of the caped crusader as played by Adam West), Remington Steele, Spock (my most favorite Star Trek character, actually, but I have not watched the original “Star Trek” TV series at all.  Got to be fond of Spock through the movies and the books.  That is why he never made the list, but, still, he is worth giving an honorable mention), John Crichton (from “Farscape”), Aeryn Sun (from “Farscape”), Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds (from “Firefly”), Duncan MaCleod (“The Highlander”), Spike (from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), Carlton Lassiter (from “Psych”), Shawn Spencer (main hero of “Psych”, number 11 in this list if this is a top 11 list, and one of the greatest detectives in fiction). 

10.) MR. BEAN

Now, having watched episodes of “Mr. Bean” countless times over, the show and character don’t give me even a chuckle. However, it’s a different story during the first few times I’ve watched the show back in the 90’s.  I can’t remember any other character that made me laugh so hard like Mr. Bean.  His outrageousness, clumsiness, unique mix of stupidity and ingenuity, and silly facial expressions and mannerisms were effective elements on giving me the greatest laughs I’ve ever had in my TV watching.      


The only character in this list from a non-American TV show.  The Yankumi in the Gokusen anime wasn’t particularly striking.  In the live action however, the Yankumi was hot!  And through live action, the Yankumi character is more perfectly portrayed by Yukie Nakama.  Hidden behind the clumsy, cute, harmless appearance is one badass girl.  A fresh university graduate hired to teach (or at least watch over) a section full of delinquent and unruly high school seniors, she enthusiastically desires to improve her students.  And through her unconventional ways of teaching, sincerity, and willingness to stand up and fight for her students, she gains their trust and respect, encouraging them to indeed improve with their studies and attitude.  She possesses great fighting skills, being secretly a yakuza family leader.  However, she would only display her toughness and fighting skills when saving or protecting her dear students, choosing to appear harmless and slow in normal circumstances in front of others.

His real name is Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli. But that doesn’t matter.  Because to everyone, he’s “Fonzie” or “The Fonz” or just “Fonz”.  That’s a kickass nickname.  Fonz is the epitome of the suave, aloof way of being kickass, badass.  He’s a smooth talker, tough fighter, street smart, and always successful with the ladies.  He was a high school dropout (though he would eventually graduate by taking night high classes) and has a background as a delinquent, but still, he has his principles and is loyal to his friends.  He always comes out on top on fight, beating even if opponents are bigger or greatly outnumber him.  More amusing is when he uses his smooth talking in making opponents silly.  He was at first just a secondary character in the series “Happy Days”.  But he’s just too awesome that he eventually became the lead since he had become more popular than the main character, Richie.  Fonzie is a TV icon, while I can’t even remember the names and most of the faces of the rest of the characters in “Happy Days” without looking them up (I had to look up Richie when I had to mention the name earlier).    


Angel was Buffy’s running boyfriend in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, and then they broke up, a spin-off series was made for him, he moved to Los Angeles and started a private investigation agency.  Angel is one of the best vampire characters out there.  After being cursed by gypsies by giving him a soul, Angel became unique from other vampires, fighting evil instead of causing it (though, there are also times where his evil persona, Angelus, would come out).  Being a “vampire with a soul”, his humanity gives him awkwardness and conscience.  The character has elements of the stereotypical redemption-seeking character, but this factor greatly adds to his character.  Through the two TV series, he transitioned from a reluctant hero seeking his purpose to a Batman-like altruistic crusader, as he struggles with his inner demons, and finding equilibrium between his humanity and vampire nature.  And as conclusion to this character analysis… yes, though I also like Spike, I, however, think that Angel is a greatly better character than Spike.  There.     


I have to admit that when I’ve written my top 10 list on fictional spooks, I forgot about MacGyver.  If I didn’t, he would probably make it to number 5 in that list (and kicking Paul Sheperdson out of the list).  MacGyver is one of the most iconic characters in TV, and one of the most unique fictional characters I’ve encountered.   MacGyver is extensively talented and intelligent.  He prefers non-violent approach in solving conflicts, and refuses to use a gun.  Rather, he prefers to carry a Swiss Army knife and duct tape in his missions.  Being a scientist, his trademark skill is his quick thinking in improvising plans and tools from the things he can get his hands on on a given moment.  Because of this, the term “MacGyver” was included into colloquial American English lexicon, which means creating a solution to a problem through simple yet extremely clever means using available resources.           


Ford is the brains of the 5-man “Leverage” team – made up of very talented thieves and con men – who steal from the rich and powerful who commit injustice against ordinary people, sabotaging their operations or/and getting them caught by the authorities along the way.  Every member of the team is impressive with his or her own specific skillset – from hacking to grifting – but Nate Ford impresses me most.  As the undisputed leader (being the brains), Nate masterminds their operations.  He is a brilliant strategist and planner.  He claims to have a Plan A to Plan Z (I’m not sure if it was Z or some other letter) of everything.  Seeing him at work – his plans working out in the end – is quite enjoyable.


He is arguably the best wrestler ever.  He’s both incredibly entertaining with the mic and inside the ring. He is definitely in a whole level on his own, and has greatly contributed success to the sports entertainment industry (which is, if you think about it, is just like a TV series).  I already discussed his greatness in my top10 pro-wrestlers list


Being the Slayer, Buffy has superhuman speed, agility, and strength, an enhanced intuition, and a healing factor.  Also, through training, she is adept in fighting and wielding weaponry.  Buffy is your typical hot, strong heroine skilled in combat, the proven formula for success in making female characters outstanding and popular to (especially male) audience.  However, though Buffy belongs to such cliche of female characters, she maintains a charm that makes her stand out significantly.  Aside from the already mentioned fighting skills, Buffy also possesses a gift of gab, which she uses in making fun or taunting her opponents, working to her advantage.  With the way she uses sarcasms and puns in her fights, and the great confidence she displays when standing against opponents – regardless of being more powerful than her or weaker – she reminds me of the same attitude Spider-Man (being my most favorite comic bookcharacter) has when he fights, and this is probably one of the major reasons why I started liking Buffy.  Buffy, for me, is the awesomest female character ever created in fiction.    


In the TV show “Sherlock”, the Victorian story of Sherlock Holmes is brought into a modern setting.   The show perfectly reinterpreted how Holmes would have behaved and fared in present times.   So far, the only thing lacking with the character is the proficiency in fighting.  Though there are some scenes where Sherlock fought, he won using his wits rather than displaying some boxing and bartitisu skills which the original character is known to have.   Other than that, this TV’s Sherlock Holmes is just perfect.   The original literary Holmes being my choice for the greatest detective in fiction, this modernized counterpart portrayed for TV easily gets a high spot on this list.  Hmmm, in fact, the top spot goes to another Sherlock Holmes re-interpretation…    


For any fan of Holmes and House, it’s quite obvious that the House character is a reinvention of Sherlock Holmes.  Both of them are detached, intelligent, logical, highly observant, and extremely rational.  Both of them can “read” people and only take cases that of interest to them (unusual and difficult).  Both of them are talented musicians.  Both of them struggled with drug abuse.   Both of them have the same home address – 221B Baker Street.  And their bestfriends have J.W. as initials.  House is Holmes if Holmes has chosen to use his mental powers on tackling medical mysteries instead of solving crime.  Still, though House’s character structure has Holmes as basis, but as a final product, House is a one of kind fictional character.  He is described by his bestfriend Wilson as having a Rubik’s complex – having a great obsession to solve a puzzle.  Another description Wilson has of House is being a “reality junkie”.  House is very witty and sarcastic, and would nearly always win any verbal sparring.  His knowledge of psychology, sharp observational skills, and quick logical mind allow him to accurately decode people’s secrets and histories and determine their personalities and motivations – which enable him to mock their weaknesses or/and manipulate them to do something he wants them to do.  He is very cynical and tactless, thus making him at odds with almost every one.  House is also isn’t afraid to take risks, with no fear of consequences or authority.   He has a rich amount of interests – from monster trucks to music – and talents, like speaking multiple languages fluently.  He also enjoys betting against others (which he often wins) and playing practical jokes.  Indeed, House is a very deep and interesting character, not only because of his brilliant medical skills and genius mind, but also because of his social and personal flaws.  Watching him on TV is a lot of fun.             

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