Joss Whedon's favorite TV characters -- what are yours?

125412__finola_lSo here’s what happened: Slither director (and Jenna "Pam from The Office" Fischer husband) James Gunn wrote a list of his 25 favorite TV characters ever. (Yes, Pam was on it.) Now, Gunn is on the radar of Joss Whedon fans because he cast good old Nathan Fillion (Capt. Malcolm Reynolds of Firefly and Serenity) in Slither. So naturally, they took note of the list… and were shocked to find Captain Mal scandalously omitted.

This kicked up some dust on Whedonesque, and eventually resulted in Joss himself lightheartedly weighing in with a rival list. (He wisely disqualifies his own shows from consideration, but oddly includes General Hospital‘s Anna Devane, played by Finola Hughes, pictured.) And from there? A full-fledged outbreak of list-eria.

I’d like to note that The Wire‘s Stringer Bell (Idris Elba) does not appear on either list. (Though Gunn gets my love for including Omar Little (Michael K. Williams), hands down the most magnetic black gay gangsta gunslinger privateer on TV ever.)

I’d also like to start a rival list. (Because I’m a scamp that way, and I hope to spark a bloody Internet civil war, then loot the dead avatars of their e-jewels.) I’ll get things going, and y’all keep ‘em going:

1. Stringer frickin’ Bell, obviously.

2. Yeah, Spike. Gotta give it up for James Marsters’ Spike. (And not to get in a Buffy rut, but I’d have to agree with the Whedon posters who’d vote for Harry Groener’s Mayor Wilkins.)

3. Kyle Secor’s quietly ambiguous Tim Bayliss on Homicide

4. Brisco County, Jr. (Bruce Campbell) You try saving the old west from aliens sometime.

5. Data. Next Generation. Forget the movies. Remember ol’ Yellow Eyes as he was in his prime.

6. I’d argue Johnny Carson, for the role of Johnny Carson.

Okay, that’s six. Who hates me so far?

Keep it going: Who’s on your list of the 25 best TV characters of all time?

addCredit(“Finola Hughes: ABC Archives”)


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  • Jane

    Vinnie Terranova from “Wiseguy” and Kyle Chandler’s Jeff from “Homefront”

  • Big Dog

    Eric Cartman from Southpark is the best character on television. He consistently offers many laugh out loud moments which are rare on tv today.

  • Rebecca

    It’s awesome that you included Stringer on your list. I loved how he incorporated his business school know-how into running the drug gang.
    I’d add just about everyone from Arrested Development, because it’s one of the best ensemble casts ever.
    Lastly, Bill from Freaks and Geeks is simply priceless.

  • DoubleH

    OK- I love Stringer Bell! I mean who doesn’t want an educated thug on your team. So lotsa votes for him. And my two favorite female heroines Olivia Benson from L&O SVU and Veronica Mars, of course.

  • Lindsy Serrano

    Maryann Thorpe from Cybill! Christine Baranski has so much sass and I love her

  • Ali

    I would have to go with (in no particular order)…
    1) Loreali from the Gilmore Girls
    2) Stringer Bell from the Wire
    3) Starbuck from Battlestar Gallactica
    4) Willow from Buffy and the Vampire Slayer
    5) Elaine from Seinfeld
    6) Coach from Cheers
    7) Gob from Arrested Development
    8) Homer from the Simpsons
    9) Bender from Futurama
    10) Jayne from Serenity
    11) Data from Star Trek the Next Generation
    12) Carmella from the Sopranos

  • Jen

    T.R. Knight’s George O’Malley on “Grey’s Anatomy.”
    Dule Hill’s Charlie on “The West Wing.”
    LOVE the references to Arrested Development, Veronica Mars, and Freaks and Geeks!

  • JL

    I am so happy with the inclusion of Anna Devane and the fact that she was the one selected to headline this article. She is hands down the best soap opera character ever (and that includes Erica Kane)!

  • JL

    Karen Walker (from Will and Grace) is hands down the best sitcom character ever created. No contest.

  • Truman Burbank

    1) Gareth Keenan
    2) Lucille Bluth
    3) George Costanza
    4) Angelica Deveraux
    5) Audrey Horne

  • Nicole C.

    Vincent from “Beauty and the Beast”
    Claire and David from “Six Feet Under”
    Carmela Soprano “Sopranos”
    Most of the cast from “Freaks and Geeks”, but will give extra praise for Bill, Sam Weir, and Nick.
    Alex Keaton in “Family Ties”
    Most of “Arrested Development”, but Gob ranks the highest in creepy factor
    David Brent in “The Office” (BBC)
    Jim in “The Office (American)
    Willow on “Buffy” or Spike!
    Mattie and David on “Moonlighting”
    Sam on “Cheers”
    Lisa on “Simpsons”
    Bender on “Futurama”
    Several of the “Degrassi” characters…but particularly Craig, Paige, and Ashley. And Joey Jermiah and Caitlin from the old episodes!
    Punky from “Punky Brewster”

  • Nicole C

    I can’t believe that we all forgot about Agent Dale Cooper from “Twin Peaks”!!! Gasp!!!

  • Ariella

    So neither of them mentioned Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell)? WTF? Ok, so Joss Wheadon (possibly my favorite person-i’ve-never-met of all time) did include Logan from VM, and he is definately my favorite supporting character, and is totall amazing in every way, but still, without Veronia herself, what have you got? She’s inherited the Buffy mantle for self-sufficient, quipy, pro-active teen TV blondes, and I for one, couldn’t imagine a favorite television-anything list with out her!

  • Stephanie

    Zach Morris. Nuff said.

  • mike

    Why isn’t Emma Peel from the Avengers on any list? I know the Avengers reruns are running on a semiregular basis on BBCAmerica, but it’s worth checking the combination of beauty, brains and leather fighting gear.

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