Monday, August 30, 2010

Favorite Fictional People

I've been watching "Missing" on Netflix lately. It's an old missing person show from 2003, FBI with a psychic whose gift only works for missing people. On IMDB it's called "1-800-Missing".

I'm on season two now -- after the psychic has gone through training and become an agent -- and I have to say... I like the bossman. I really like him. He's bureaucracy personified. Every case goes through him as how-will-it-affect-me. He wants to take cases that they have a better than average chance of solving and he tries to hand off any case that looks difficult when he can find a reason that it might be considered someone else's jurisdiction instead.

He acts totally self-serving, but there are flashes of good. He lets the psychic cling to him when she's rescued at the last second from being shot while telling her quietly that this will not be spoken of in the future because it messes up his image. He's very strict and nearly antisocial, but then when they rescue a child, he's carrying her through the agency on his shoulders. Somehow, in a show with women as main characters (something I strongly approve of, by the way) it's still the odd antisocial man that I like best.

We watched a season or two of Allie McBeal years ago, and had the same issue. I should have loved the strong female leads, but my favorites were the little squirrelly wanna-do-gooder and the self-centered egoist that started the agency. I loved those two. And the only Star Trek episodes I watched were the ones with Q. On Fringe I like the slightly criminal son and the mad scientist. On Covert Affairs I like the blind guy. (Not good with names people, I've admitted this before).

I'm a little frustrated that my favorite characters are guys, even on shows where the women take the lead roles. On Buffy, I thought Buffy was the flattest of all the characters, and loved Xander -- and Willow until she went from super-crush on Xander and dating the werewolf to being gay. That seemed to have a serious lack of consistency.

But I'm sure this is important somehow.

Maybe I don't like the hero, but the sidekick? Oh, for girls, I love Penelope in Criminal Minds and Abby in NCIS (but Gibbs makes that show work). I'd like Fiona (from Burn Notice) better if she weren't so skeletal, and maybe if they were played up her competencies more than cute-girl-make-men-stupid. We were all thrilled last time when she couldn't get the guard to abandon his post just by making smalltalk, but my favorites are the ones where they have an innocent in danger and she goes all mother-bear on the bad guys to prove there's something inside her other than arms dealer. -- Oh, and when she and Sam get a life outside of Michael's.

I think these are things I need to figure out before I sit down and start writing again. (Yes, I seem to have stopped, but not for too long.)

Who are your favorite characters? Book, tv, or movie, doesn't matter. Are they someone you're supposed to like? What's your favorite thing about them? Do you know why they hit your list? Sometimes, I don't.


  1. I usually cherry-pick the characters I like on a show, too, and don't always like all the good guys. On L&O:SVU, I love Benson (the lead female) and hate Stabler (her dude partner). He's too ready to use his fists. I hated Xander. He's funny, but he's so judgmental. I also wanted Dawn to get hit by a bus. I liked Faith, though, even at her craziest. Giles was probably my favorite.

  2. Oh, how could I forget Giles? Yes, he was definitely my favorite. We loved the musical episode with dancing demon too. Goes with my love of Whedon music. If you haven't listened to the Dr. Horrible musical soundtrack, you really have to!

    Suddenly distracted singing Better than Neil in my head....

  3. Yes, Giles was a great character, I loved the British accent too. And I think I stopped liking Willow about the same time you did. I wouldn't have minded if Dawn had just gone away, she was annoying. Xander was the lovable sidekick. But I liked Angel the best. I'm not really sure why I liked his character, but I've picked the same kind of character in The Vampire Diaries - I like Stefan... Yes I've already been told, it's a cheesy show, but I like it. But then I like *almost* anything to do with vampires, at least in tv. I've only read two series of vampire books, so I can't really say if I'd read almost anything about vampires.

    I agree with you about Fiona on Burn Notice. She needs to gain some weight/bulk because she looks almost anorexic skinny. You know, the first season we saw a little bit more of Sam's private life than we do now.