Three of the Most Interesting Film & Television Characters

One of the reasons why I read books or watch movies is to get lost in another world, to escape the mundane and taste the exotic.

However, another equally powerful reason is to meet interesting people. Just like a good story will make you want to escape and live in another world, a great work fills you with the desire to meet the characters that inhabit that world.These are the people who you’d like to hang out with, talk to, pick their brains if possible.

This list was in danger of being dominated by a single movie (The Godfather is my favorite movie of all time, so the top 3 slots would easily be filled by quite a few of the cast).

But, that’d be boring! Instead,  I thought hard about the characters on the big and small screens that have left a significant impact on me. These are three of the most intriguing and characters I’ve come across.

 

Walter White

Breaking Bad

There’s just something about a good man going bad that intrigues the hell out of me.

Walter White is about as average a Joe as you can imagine. He lives in a New Mexico suburb, teaches High School chemistry, and has a loving wife and son.

Yawn, right?

Well, that life is soon turned on its head when Walter is diagnosed with cancer and decides to start manufacturing and selling crystal meth with the help of one of his former students to pay for his chemotherapy and to provide for his family once he’s dead.

Try yawning at THAT.

Walter’s transformation from nerdy chemist/father/husband . . .

. . .to hardcore gangster . . .

. . . is a delight to behold. I know it sounds like overhyped hyperbole, but I truly believe that Breaking Bad has the best writing on television.

The characters, plotlines, and dialogue are THAT good.

 

Dr. Gregory House 

House

There isn’t anyone quite like Dr. House on television. Sure, you may run across characters that are jerks, characters that are intelligent, and characters that are amoral/immoral.

But rarely do you get a jerky, intelligent, and amoral character who you can’t help but respect.

Dr. House is damn good at what he does. The absolute best. And because of his skill as a diagnostician, he’s able to tear into the people around him with near immunity.

But it isn’t just that he’s a good doctor; that’d be selling him short. It’s that he makes sense whenever he’s treating other people like idiots. He constantly questions societal norms, and he’s willing to say what other people are too afraid to admit.

Dr. House will call people out on their bullshit constantly, whether it’s a patient who’s making a stupid/selfish choice or another doctor who is naïve in thinking that everyone is honest.

 

Captain Jack Sparrow  

Pirates of the Caribbean

Ok, this one is certainly a guilty pleasure.

But come on, watch Captain Jack Sparrow for just ten minutes and tell me he isn’t a unique and interesting character.

From his surprisingly vast vocabulary (for a pirate) to his unmatchable savvy, there isn’t a situation that Jack Sparrow can’t talk his way out of.

His elastic swagger and slurry British accent are icing on the cake. His enemies (and friends) might hate him, but they can’t help but respect his ability to turn any odds in his favor and come out victorious in the end.

Maybe he’s making it all up as he goes along; maybe he’s a master tactician who thinks two steps ahead of Black Beard and Davy Jones. Either way, his motives are usually a mystery (does he really want to save the damsel in distress or just get rich?), which keeps me wondering if he’s a good or a bad guy.

 

So, yeah, I tend to like anti-heroes best when it comes to characters. The more morally ambiguous, the better. 🙂

 

What are some of your favorite characters in film or television?

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277 comments on “Three of the Most Interesting Film & Television Characters

  1. Since you didn’t go there you leave me no choice — Michael Corleone in The Godfather. I can sit for hours and talk about the beauty of his transformation in that film. From him distancing himself from his family in the beginning, to him stepping up to kill Sollozzo, the beauty of his orchestrating the murders while he’s at his son’s baptism to the very end when he lies to Kay and she realizes he’s transformed into the godfather. Such a beautifully written character.

    On the guilty pleasure side, I am with you. I love Captain Jack Sparrow.

    • Vanessa, you save me with your description/analysis of Michael.

      He truly is a phenomenal character. His rise in the first movie is made all the sadder by his decay, morally and physically, in the next two films (I’ve grown to appreciate the third movie more).

      But as for the first movie, yes, you pinpointed exactly why he’s such a beautiful and complex character. 🙂

      • I felt the same way you did for years!

        However, if you get to, watch them all in a row. It may not sound like it makes much of a difference, but you really get to see how far Michael has deteriorated, especially in the third film, because of his choices.

        The regret he feels over Fredo, the realization that he was so different from his father and other dons who people loved instead of feared.

        I’m not sure what exactly clicked with me, but I did find a new appreciation for numero tres.

    • Ah, teasing!

      You definitely should at some point. Otherwise, I’ll have to make up my own list for you.

      Warning: it’ll involve My Little Ponies, Full House, and Gili. >:)

  2. Oh, yeah! You got 2 of my 3 😀 I actually tried watching Breaking Bad once and, well, it wasn’t that bad! A bit to0 alpha male for me, but I wouldn’t mind revisiting the series if I ran out of things to watch. I’d probably include Frank from Catch Me if You Can in my list.

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  4. Fun post. My mom actually has a framed picture of Captain Jack on our family photo wall…I kid you not. So I guess that makes him like a long-lost brother to me, which is ok in my book.

    😉

      • Indeed — or at least, so my mom wishes! It really would be funny to have a baby and teach it to say “ahoy there” instead of “hello.” Too bad my kids are older, or else I’d consider doing that as a tribute to my mom and her pirate roots…

        😉

    • Isn’t he though? There isn’t an episode of House that I don’t shake my head and go “Did he really just say that?”

      Whoever writes Hugh Laurie’s dialogue is a genius.

      And thank you! I didn’t even notice I was Freshly Pressed until you pointed it out. 🙂

  5. Right with you when it comes to Jack Sparrow and Dr. House, but I haven’t had the time to watch Breaking Bad or…any of the Godfather movies. (Gasp!) I have a list of a few others that include Gordon Gekko, The Joker (Heath Ledger), and Hannibal Lecter.

    • Dude, you must watch the Godfather! And Breaking Bad is just…if you’re ever channel surfing on AMC, definitely do yourself a favor and watch an episode.

      I’m not familiar with Gordon Gekko, but Heath Ledger’s Joker and Hannibal Lecter are definitely fantastic choices. I got chills when I first saw Heath’s Joker in IMAX.

      • As a big movie guy having to tell others that I haven’t seen The Godfather is painful, I’ll make sure to give my Netflix app a good workout. I watch The Walking Dead every Sunday so waiting another hour after that for Breaking Bad is now on my schedule.

        I always loved the Joker as a character, but the moment I witnessed his performance that was the cherry on top. He’s officially my favorite of all time.

    • I had forgotten about Big Fish, but you’re right: Ewan McGregor’s performance was great, and the character was a unique blend of humble and do-no-wrong, almost like Forrest Gump.

      I’ve never seen Higher Ground, but I may just have to IMDB it. 🙂

  6. Pretty hard to choose! I loved Breaking Bad though, but it would be too obvious, I guess… so let’s see…

    I would say “the good” from “The good, the bad, the ugly”, then William Blake from “Dead Man” and… uhm… Swan from “The Warriors”!!!

    • Yes! The nameless man from Fist Full of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More, and the Good, The Bad, and The Ugly are great characters.

      He’s the kind of guy that looks like he’s only looking after himself, but he always seems to do the right thing, you know?

      And Swan from The Warriors is an excellent choice. Talk about a fearless leader. He’s got that stoic, Apache leader vibe to him.

  7. I’ll be relieved when Breaking Bad is finished; the upcoming season will be its last. Too many Monday mornings I’ve woken up feeling like I’ve been flattened by a truck after watching the show Sunday night. The scene where he lets Jessie’s girlfriend die has to be one of the greatest bits of acting ever filmed. The acting overall in this series has been superb.

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one. The tension does get to me too. I spend every minute of that show in suspense. That’s just a testament to how great the writing is, that you just don’t know what to expect next.

  8. Betty Draper morphs from a prim and proper early 60’s June Cleaver to Rosann without missing a beat. Weirdness!

    • That was one of my favorite transformations on television. I didn’t much like her character during the first season or so of Mad Men since she as so frustratingly repressed, but when she stopped taking crap from Don, it reminded me of Carmela and Tony from the Sopranos.

  9. Reblogged this on calebbaldree and commented:
    I would also like to add Don Draper from Mad Men to the list of interesting men in film. AMC have produced some very captivating shows and characters the last few years, and Mad Men is one of the top. Jon Hamm does an impeccable job creating a character that is seemingly shallow, but with depth of unlike any other I’ve seen on tv. You love to love him and hate him at the same time. By the end of any show, you feel like you’ve been on an emotional rollarcoaster, smoked two packs of cigarettes, and drank a few glasses of whiskey. Truly a master piece on any screen.

    • I tell you, I interned with AMC last summer, and boy do those people take great pride in their creation of such detailed, unique and unequivocal characters. I like that you pointed out Don Draper, because while Breaking Bad is known for a host of quality actors, Mad Men seems to be overlooked. It’s excellent and Jon Hamm does an excellent job of making Draper into this walking book as you said: seemingly one way on the outside, but so rich and complicated on the inside.

      As an English major, I really appreciate when great writing translates to film. The biggest thing I look for other than the character development and presentation.

      • i totally agree with both of you – i’m glad someone else got to don draper first because he’s the first character i thought of. this character is a lot like hugh laurie’s house – the show works in part because of brilliant writing (at least for the first few seasons of house before the show started to slowly capsize…) and layered, nuanced portrayals by laurie and hamm.

  10. Although I haven’t seen the TV series, the character of Dexter in Jeff Lindsay’s novels was one of the most fascinating protagonists I’ve ever come across. He would be the villain in any other story…yet here he’s the hero?

    • Ah, a choice after my own heart. Dexter is one of my favorite characters as well. I’m a rabid fan of the show, and I enjoyed the books up until the third one or so.

      He’s definitely a fascinating character. If you can, try and catch the show. Dexter grapples with the moral implications of his lifestyle a lot more than the books.

    • I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve had The Usual Suspects on my shelf for the past few years without watching it.

      I hear that it’s a great movie.

      You know, I didn’t realize it until now, but I’m kind of obsessed with Johnny too (in a heterosexual kind of way *ahem*).

      I’ve followed his career since 21 Jump Street and Nightmare on Elm Street. He’s a great, versatile actor.

    • I’m glad you stopped by too, Wendy. 🙂

      If you get the chance, check out House and Breaking Bad. Walter White in Breaking Bad in particular is a very round, 3D character.

  11. Great post! I love Walter White and House. Watch them all the time. Walter … what a trip! Chemistry teacher Breaking Bad … Awesome television. Johnny Depp is awesome in anything he does especially Jack Sparrow and Rango … Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

    • Thanks!

      I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed Rango. It can be an acquired taste, but it was a fun movie.

      Edward Scissorhands was another favorite of mine back in the day. 🙂

  12. Captain Jack Sparrow is my favorite! His pirate swag and his British accent add to his badass charm..there is something so striking about him that the viewer would be a fool not to fall in love with him at first sight..even if he doesn’t, I recommend that viewer to watch Pirates of the Caribbean again 🙂

  13. I do like movies and TV shows which do a good job with character development. Johnny Depp did a great job with Captain Jack Sparrow. I find Capt. Jack hilarious because he switches sides so often it makes you dizzy. Other characters I like are Stefan/Damon Salvatore from the TV show “The Vampire Diaries”. At the beginning, Stefan is the good brother and Damon is the bad brother, but later on Stefan gets a little more evil and Damon becomes a little less evil. It makes the characters more three-dimensional.

    The movie “Citizen X” is also a favorite. This movie is based on Russia’s worst serial killer, Andrei Chikatilo, and two of the men who caught him, Viktor Burakov and Mikhail Fetisov. Burakov feels things very deeply, Fetisov is a cynical person who understands Soviet bureaucracy and knows how to work the system. Over time, Burakov gets less passionate and Fetisov starts caring more. The movie also has scenes which explain Chikatilo. You can’t like him — he is so evil and killed 52 people, most of them under age 17 — but through these scenes you understand him better. And you want to cheer when he’s finally caught. Very good movie in terms of character development, but if you watch it, be advised that it’s pretty graphic.

    • Citizen X sounds fascinating. I feel like I may have heard of it awhile ago but forgot to check it out.

      Thanks for reminding me. I can definitely put up with graphic content. 😛

      Since you mentioned Russia, I’m reminded of Viggo Mortenssen in Eastern Promises. Have you ever seen it? It’s about Russian gangsters in England. Awesome movie with great characters.

  14. Definitely agree on all 3 counts.

    Walter White, to me, is a reminder that even if you’re a good person doing things for the right reason, when you cross the line (whatever the line may be), even if it’s just by a little and being completely justified, it can literally make all hell break loose.

    House, well, after all these years he still manages to surprise me, and that’s what I think is a huge part of this show’s success: in the end, you never know with House.

    And Jack Sparrow….let’s just say I love everything and anything Johnny Depp, so I’m not quite objective when it comes to him.

    • It’s always great to meet someone who shares my interests.

      I think you hit the nail on the head with Walter: it’s the gradual way he crosses the line that makes it so powerful. It isn’t that one day he’s a great guy and the next a terrible person. He loses his soul every episode, every season.

      Can’t wait for the next season to start. 🙂

  15. Reading or watching TV/films can indeed be just like meeting people. It’s why telling human stories with flawed personalities and underlying strengths will never grow old.

    People will never go out of style.

  16. Agree with Captain Jack Sparrow, although I also think the majority of that character is Johnny Depp’s talent rather than well-rounded writing. Let’s be fair, his character in any of the films that are NOT the first one he is presented as a babbling idiot, when in actual fact he is clearly more intelligent than the majority of characters around him.

    • Good point. I think his being presented as an idiot is part of his cunning. The majority of people around him underestimate his ability; they think they can overpower or outwit him, but ol’ Jack’s brain is always working on how to take advantage of any situation.

      You’re right in that a large part of it is Johnny Depp’s amazing acting talent. He just slides into a role so completely and effortlessly.

    • You’re the second person to mention Dexter, and I couldn’t agree more.

      How excited are you for the next season after how the last season ended? Things are going to get a hell of a lot more interesting!

  17. I definitely appreciate the list but you really nailed it with House. I honestly can’t stop watching that show. I’ve seen seasons 1-7 about 8 times now and I don’t have any plans of stopping. He’s just so fun to watch/hate/love that it’s addicting.

    Great post

    http://www.adamtelian.com

    • Thanks, Adam. House deserves his place in the list, and it’s great to meet other people who appreciate his particular brand of genius.

      It’s a testament to the show’s writing that you can watch the seasons repeatedly; I do the same whenever reruns are shown on Cloo, USA, or We. Those marathons never get old. 🙂

  18. My favorite characters are usually not in TV/Movie so I can’t really give any more input here. I do love Captain Jack. I’ve heard his swaggering is Johnny Depp’s doing because he found character too plain in the first movie. (Don’t ask me which interview I got that information from, though. It was by accident so I have no memory of the source.) I don’t know what happens in the subsequence movies, but I’ll admit that if it wasn’t for Capt. Jack I might not even be watching Pirates of the Caribbean.

  19. I’ve never seen Breaking Bad, but the plot sounds an awful lot like one of my favorite movies, “The American Friend,” directed by Wim Wenders, with Bruno Ganz as a picture framer who is given a (false) death-sentence diagnosis so that he will commit crimes for some shady organization. It’s been decades since I’ve seen it, so I forget the ins and outs of the plot, but Ganz is mesmerizing as a decent guy who sells his soul in order to leave something for his wife and child. His “bad guy” side doesn’t have the flamboyant sartorial change that Walter apparently has, and my guess is that it makes the change all the more believable. Dennis Hopper played the American “friend.”

    House? Yes! Captain Jack? Of course!

    Now, are there any females on TV that you’d like to meet? I can’t think of any.

  20. Great post! I’ve never seen Breaking Bad, but I definitely agree with you about House and Captain Jack! Jack Sparrow has been a family favorite since we saw the first Pirates…how could he not be?? 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and congrats on being freshly pressed!

  21. Captain Jack is a good guy-he is an amazing character and I completely agree that he should be in this list! As for the other two, I don’t watch House or Breaking Bad so I can’t tell you if I think they are truly amazing!

  22. I would argue that Dr. House (aka Sherlock Holmes -on whom House was based) is actually a horrible doctor. He misdiagnoses people (until the last scene), puts people through invasive, and dangerous, testing (most often when there are other, better tests to detect the ailment -or my favorite when he uses a test that has nothing to do with the condition he’s (mis)diagnosed), pits his staff against each other which nearly kills his patient every episode, and refuses to BE a doctor (take clinical rounds, etc.). Basically, in the end, he’s just a narcissistic jerk and not a good doctor in any sort of way. Either that or my friend is the best doctor ever since he usually diagnoses the ailment within 5min of hearing the symptoms (and thus ruins the show). That said, as a character, he’s interesting to watch -when my friend isn’t there to tell me of all the factual flaws.

    As for my list, I would say Sy Ableman from a Serious Man because he, no matter how much Larry wants him too, can never fix or destroy Larry’s situation. He just moves the points of stress around. And he’s so blind that he thinks he’s helping improve a fault with Larry when he’s really making a bigger mess out of the one he’s made. The character, the dialogue is super-subtle. And for TV, Tobias Funke from Arrested Development mostly because his Freudian slips and illogical rationalizing, but also the never-nude aspect is brilliant!

  23. Excellent post, Mike_Reverb. I disagree, however, that Walter White is a “good man gone bad”. There are numerous hints in the show that he was always bad — but that until the specter of imminent death nudged him towards actual criminality, he lived in a social structure (as an educated, middle-class white guy) that makes it easy to appear good. To me, the whole show is about him shedding multiple layers of pretense.

    Of course, there is a progression from cooking a few ounces of meth to — SPOILERS!! SPOILERS!! SPOILERS!! — attempted murder of a child and a terroristic bombing. But the escalation of his violence and increasing reluctance to pussyfoot is due the lack of of accountability feeding his massive, ravenous ego. Every time he gets away with doing something bad, he is emboldened to be badder. That’s narcissism — and narcissism is Walt’s very essence, from the beginning. Even in the first season, when he ostensibly got into drugs in order to leave some money for his family, I increasingly got the suspicion that it wasn’t so much about paying the bills as about crime giving Walt a sense of power.

    • Hmm, interesting point about Walter perhaps not being a “good” person.

      I probably wouldn’t go so far, personally, as saying he was always “bad.” You are absolutely right in that he was always a narcissist, but that in itself doesn’t really make him bad perse.

      I suppose it depends on how we define good and bad. But at the very least, he wasn’t doing anything illegal.

      Now, however, he’s just gone off the deep end.

      But, I do like the idea that more and more of his inhibitions are being stripped away, and he is indeed becoming bolder.

  24. I have to agree with your list in the sense they are all great. Of course a list of three for all the characters out there is a very hard thing to do, but stand by it. Walter is awesome. House is great. Jack Sparrow is infallible.

    I do have to add one character, that maybe not many people would agree with, but Butters from South Park. I know the show is not adored by most because of its outward desire to go above and beyond the thresh hold of decency, but Butters Scotch was a absolutely tremendous addition to the show. Where you have 4 fourth graders who live adult lives through the eyes of children, Butters remains the true epitome of what a child is (in that show). Any time Butters is on screen it is never bad.

    Sorry, just wanted to add some cartooning in there. Nice post and descriptions!

    • Dan, Butters is probably the funniest character on that show.

      Sure, Cartman has some great lines, and he’s a devious SOB, but Butters is just brilliant.

      In one of the last episodes, I couldn’t stop laughing as he explained to everyone that he likes to sit on the toilet facing the tank because the tank is like a little shelf for his comic books and chocolate milk. It also gives better access to the handle.

      Who even thinks that way? It was adorable and actually made me think about why we use the bathroom the way we do.

      • That episode was a great way to start the season. He is completely adorable. I think that is the best way to describe him. Think of the cutest kid you know, and stick him in a crazy world like South Park and you have Butters.

  25. A good list, all good characters; I have to agree with Walter White as one of your favorite characters. The whole show is great, but in particular, I really like White’s son, Walter jr; that kid is heart!

    • Byron, I’m glad you mentioned his son. I have to say, the kid’s one hell of an actor, and the character himself certainly has a lot of heart.

      I feel for him every episode: he has no idea what’s going on around him. If there’s anyone in the entire show who’s innocent, truly unaccountable, it’s Walter Jr.

  26. Completely agre on The Godfather. I do wish they’d make Omerta into a movie too. Puzzo had this way of writing, it’s like a how-to manual for mobsters.

    Love Breaking Bad. Another favorite character is Nancy on Weeds. She goes from low key dealer to drug kingpin in a flash.

  27. The thing about Dr. House is not only what you pointedout, but that he is so oblivious to his own flaws, and when he finally admits to them, it’s interesting to see how he reacts. That is one of the most intriguing aspects of the character.

    Jack Sparrow is a hoot! I just love that guy, he is so strange and yet so fun. But yeah, you can’t tell if he’s good or bad, I get that.

    But my favorite TV character is Lelouch Lamperouge from the anime Code Geass. He is a very dark anti-hero, and you can’t tell whether he’s good or bad, or whether or not you want to root for him. It’s a great show, with political and moral questions and overtones, and Lelouch’s actions as the main character just let it keep going. Still one of my favorite animes ever, and mostly because of Lelouch.

  28. Jack Sparrow is definitely a interesting character, and Johnny Depp’s acting is flawless. However they did lose the plot a little bit with the last film, and lost my support of the films along with it.

    I however will never forget the first time I watched Jack Sparrow, and in fact the first POTC film was the first DVD I ever watched!

    Good post!

  29. I know a bunch of Trekkies will probably get their panties in a bunch over this, but Denny Crane (from “Boston Legal”) gets my vote as the best character William Shatner has played. There was never a dull moment with Denny Crane.

    Elsewhere, I will second the earlier nomination of Butters, and add in Mr. Garrison, who has had quite the story arcs.

  30. I agree with the first two, and while Capt. Jack is ‘interesting’ I would say he is just weird. The other two are deep and complex, requiring multiple viewings just to beging to grasp it all. There is a good book in the Pop Culture Philosphy series about House. (Everybody Lies).

    Oh and The Godfather is also one of my favorite films. I have found an apreciation for the third movie but the second one is my personal fav. The scene where Kay tells him she is leaving “You won’t take my children… YOU WILL NOT TAKE MY CHILDREN!!!” Gives me chills just to think about it.

    • Is it wrong that by that point in The Godfather Part 2, I was completely with Kay? Michael had just spiraled into the complete opposite of his father, and Kay and the kids needed to get out of there fast.

      • Not ‘wrong’ I think that is a valid point. That is the tragity of the saga, that Michael would lose everything to save it. There is a very strong political allegory to draw from these films.

  31. I’ll be honest, I haven’t read all the comments to know whether my choice has been mentioned. I’d go with one of many characters on LOST. I just watched the entire series again recently (it took me a few months of religious watching!) And I have to say, I became so enraptured with their on-screen lives they played their characters in a way that I WAS them while watching. Specifically, the characters of Jack, Sawyer, Kate, Hurley, Ben… shades of others quite often as well.

  32. I agree with most of those already mentioned, especially Dr House. I’m trying to think of more and coming up with Tony Soprano and Jonathan Ames in Bored To Death. But where are the women? It seems way harder to come up with interesting female characters, but what about Tara from The United States of Tara, the old-school kook Ally McBeal and the mum in Weeds*?

    *It seems I’m drawn to the crazier end of the female spectrum, but I’m sure there are saner examples too.

    • Hmmm, you’re right about it being difficult to find good female characters.

      I’ve only seen a couple of episodes of The United States of Tara, but she was definitely an intrigue and had a . . . multi-faceted personality? 😛

      Spartacus has some pretty cunning/interesting women in it. Lucretia and Ilithya are some of the most cunning, devious women I’ve seen on screen.

      • I agree with Spartacus, and that made me think of Tamora in Julie Taymor’s Titus, but now we’re just listing interesting evil women. Where’s the equivalent of Dr House? An interesting, deeply flawed but totally identifiable female character?

        Thanks so much for this post, by the way, I enjoy poking my brain in this way. 🙂

  33. Fun read again, Mike. I’ll confess I’m not familiar with the first two characters mentioned (House and Walter) but can make it a point to discover and catch up. As for Jack Sparrow, a witty fellow in his own right. My three, focusing on gents, would be Lennie Briscoe (Law and Order), Han Solo (no explanation needed) and Jason Bourne.

    • Great choices. I’m a huge fan of the Jason Bourne movies (not sure about the new ones without Matt Damon, but we’ll see), and Han Solo probably best represents what I mean about the tough guy who is morally ambiguous but really has a heart of gold.

      Lennie is a fantastic choice that I would have never seen coming. I tend to like Det. Goren better because he’s like a modern day Sherlock Holmes, but Lennie has had some of the funniest lines in the series by far.

  34. I would have to put Omar Little from The Wire on the list. A brutal criminal with a strict moral code of who he will rob or kill (only those also in ‘the game’), he was one of the gems of that show… If I tried to come up with my three favorite characters ever, they might all be from The Wire in fact. Omar, D’Angelo, Stringer…and those just cover season one!

  35. I doubt I can add anything new to what others have said, but the BBC’s drama folks have been turning out some pretty cool characters in shows like “Sherlock” and “Torchwood.” There’s much more unpredictability of the characters and plain smart writing on those shows.

    • Sherlock is brilliant. If I had expanded the list by even one more slot, her would definitely take the next one: no contest.

      It’s an understatement to say I devoured the BBC series. Cumberbatch is superb as Sherlock. Whoever writes his dialogue is brilliant, but Cumberbatch brings the character to life in a way that gives me the chills when he has a revelation.

      I’ve never seen Torchwood, but I’ve heard good things about it.

      Thanks for commenting. 🙂

      • Yes, to all you said about Sherlock and Cumberbatch’s delivery.

        Torchwood is worth checking out because just as you get a handle on characters and situations, things shift and you have to reevaluate what you think you know.

  36. Totally agree with you on Walter White, Bryan Cranston and the writers have created an amazing and convincing charcter!! Breaking Bad is one of the current favourite programmes, a must watch. As for my own favourites I can’t think of many current ones but Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver is an obvious choice but then its my favourite film starring my favourite actor.

  37. I agree with all the characters mentioned and would like to add Captain Malcolm “Mal” (interestingly, French for “trouble”) Reynolds from Firefly and Serenity. He’s a good man who’s been forced by circumstances to do some bad things, but he isn’t the villain.

  38. Definitely a House and Jack Sparrow fan but I’ve never seen Breaking Bad. I’ve heard about it and after reading this post, I’m convinced that I need to see what its about. Nice read…congrats on being Freshly Pressed!!!!!

    cancleanse.wordpress.com

    • Thank you for your kind words, Roberto.

      I checked out your blog too, and it’s certainly the first of its kind that I’ve come across so far. It’s been years since I’ve run into anyone interested in stamp collection, and you share some wonderful pictures of beautiful stamps.

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  39. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! I have so many favorite characters in literature and television/movies it is really hard to pick one. Since a new season of Game of Thrones starts in a couple of weeks and I am super excited about it, I have to go with Tyrion Lannister as one of my favorites. Love his character in the books and they couldn’t have found a better actor in Peter Dinklage, to bring his character to life. ~Chrissy

    • Thanks Chrissy. Tyrion is a fantastic character. He’s one of the few witty and humorous characters on the show and in the book. He’s pretty much necessary for his mirth/sarcasm alone.

      He’s got some of the best dialogue in the novel and the show.

      I can’t believe season 2 is about to start soon. 😀

  40. Jack Sparrow forever!
    But don’t you think that you missed out on the Joker? Especially after what Heath Ledger had brought to the character!
    I mean, yes, he is obnoxiously insane, relentlessly adamant and irrevocably damaged – but you have to admit, he is true to his soul! He has achieved that perfect balance where the he must be feared and respected at the same time. If ever there was a villain, he is one for sure. Personally, I think he is the bl***y damn best villain ever!
    PS: A good read. Thanks.
    🙂

    • Thank you for reading, Amit.

      Heath Ledger’s Joker is definitely one of my favorites; thankfully, one of blogger friends covered for me and saved my geek credibility.

      Joker really is a pure force of chaos.

  41. Definitely agree with Walter White and House…and that Jack Sparrow is a guilty pleasure. Great selections. May I also present, for your consideration, John Luther, from the fantastic show, “Luther?” I’d argue he ranks up there with House. Thoughts?

  42. I haven’t seen Breaking Bad, but I definitely agree on the other two. House and Captain Jack are two very great characters that, although everyone hates them, you can’t help but love them. Kudos to the actors that created the characters I love them both!

  43. The only character of the three you listed that I ever watched was Gregory House in the eponymous TV series House. Unclear why you wrote he was immoral/amoral. I found him a very moral, caring physician. If you referred to his short temper and not suffering fools gladly I see that as being rude but not immoral/amoral. * Oh sure to say his bed side manners could be a tad better is a major understatement. The truth is he truly cared for his patients and his duty being their doctor.
    My other two fave TV characters are lovable, bungling, meaning well Tobias Funke( analrapist) from “Arrested Development” 2 Tina Fey’s character on 30Rock. I like how she is portrayed as true to herself and her profession. Plus how she is assertive, yet vulnerable with her fellow employees. To use a rather out fashion term, she’s got pluck.
    *My def. of immoral vs amoral. Immoral is when knows society’s rules but flaunts them. Amoral there are no rules.

    • Hmmm, House definitely knows society’s rules and certainly flaunts them. Not just legal rules but moral ones too.

      Look at any of his engagements with others, and he could care less about most societal norms, particularly etiquette.

      I’m also not sure how much he actually cares for some of his patients. Maybe I’m focusing more on the later seasons, but he seems more interested in solving a puzzle and doing what’s best since it’s “correct” not “morally right” than some heartfelt caring for his patient.

      Or maybe I’m becoming just as cynical as Dr. House!

      His favorite motto is “everybody lies,” and he has no qualms about manipulating others to get the results he wants.

      Now, I’m not saying he’s a bad person for being typically immoral, and he’s amoral in that he picks and chooses which rules suit his needs at the moment (which isn’t necessarily bad either). It just makes him all the more interesting as a character. 🙂

      I need to get into 30 Rock more. My friends tell me all the time how fantastic a show it is!

  44. Love the concept of your post! And I know I shouldn’t…but I’m gonna 😉 Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games. I know, Young Adult Fiction blah blah blah but really, she’s a fresh kind of Heroine that I can’t help but be quite obsessed with. Great call on House and Captain Jack!

    • OH! And Edmond Dantes from The Count of Monte Cristo. The first epic novel I ever read, and Dantes still remains in my favorite list of characters. His development is just an incredible ride to be apart of.

    • I only just started The Hunger Games about five days ago, and so far, I have to say that I like Katniss too.

      I’ve never been into YA literature, but I can’t help but admire the author’s writing style. And dystopian futures are also a weak spot of mine. 🙂

      Thanks for commenting! I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

  45. I watch a lot of movies and your reason of watching movies are same as mine. (: I really liked the article, specially, Jack Sparrow’s charismatic approach to entertain the audience is remarkable. He can say something ridiculously funny and mix it up with his emotions full of ludicrous gestures which ends up impressing the audience. 😀

  46. Oh, Greg House and Jack Sparrow is definitely my favorite character! I haven’t watch Breaking Bad so… I wouldn’t know about Walter, but you just tempt me to watch it! Thumbs up to the director, writer and definitely the actor for creating such a bold image for the character (and yes, I LOVE Johnny Depp and Hugh Laurie)! Hahaha. And thanks to you for sharing this! I’d probably make my own list, and add Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan to the list. To me, she’s like House, just humourless, but funny in her own way. Love this post! Thanks again for sharing it!

  47. Great List! Walter White will be classic I think.

    I’m not sure on House. As the series have gone on I have found his character less interesting. There much more weight given to his flaws later on. He lost a bit of the mystery for me.

    Cap’n Jack is all time. Not sure if it can be considered a character but Depp’s performance in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as Hunter S Thompson’s alter ego is a personal fave.

    Phil Dunphy from Modern family always gets a laugh from me.

    • Thanks!

      Modern Family is one of those casualties of having too much to watch.

      I saw the first episode and thought it was brilliant.

      But it’s so hard to catch everything since I’m a fan of The Walking Dead, Dexter, Game of Thrones, True Blood, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Borgias, Portlandia, and so many others.

      However, I definitely have to get around to watching Modern Family. The writing felt like a mix between Curb Your Enthusiasm and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

  48. Yeah that’s a good description. I think it’s a little like Community too. It has a balance of that overstated ridiculous humour and some very clever – make you think – jokes. I love it.

    I missed the first episodes of Game Of Thrones and never came back to it. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot. Might be a box set purchase later on.

    Were you ever into Sons of Anarchy?

    • I sure was. I saw the first three seasons, but I haven’t checked out the third yet.

      It’s another show with strong writing though I’ll admit Season 3 with the whole trip to Ireland was weaker than the other two seasons.

      I’ll have to catch up with Season 4 soon.

  49. Dexter Morgan (Dexter)
    An intellegent man who helps capture killers….and is also a killer.

    Patrick Jane (The Mentalist)
    Another smart character, using the art of mentalism to seek out the killer from a number of suspects.

    Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock)
    Uses ‘the art of deduction’ and breaks the rules to find who it is he pursuits.

    Joan Harris (Mad Men)
    A smart woman who manages the other women, and sometimes men, in the office, she knows her way around perfectly and gets what she needs!

    I could go on forever!!!

    • A few of the other comments asked about good female characters, and Joan is certainly a strong, well rounded character (in more ways than one; she’s drop dead gorgeous).

      As for The Mentalist, I never got around to watching it. The commercials look interesting, and he seems to have a unique way of approaching people. I may just have to give it a shot once my backlog of shows is clearer.

  50. Great exercise for the brain!!
    If you have to beat 1 name out of me, it would have to be Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holms. I strongly, truly, honestly (etc) believe that Sir ACD had envisioned Sherlock as Jeremy.
    And of course, the entire cast of Arrested Development – I also have a theory on that: the show was so good it had to be cancelled.

  51. Oh dear, just three? Anyhow, I immediately thought of Brick-Top from the movie Snatch. So disgusting and grimy and foul. I bet his breath was simply wretched, given the state of his teeth. Then I realized: Cousin Avi and Mickey O’Neil too! I thought they were perfectly quirky and particular–all in the same movie. (Alan Ford, Dennis Farina, and Brad Pitt, respectively).

    I also happen to think the Burton/Depp duo always churns out something truly…(I can’t think of a word!) but his characters definitely have imagination set in them.

    Evilest Wicked Witch: Patricia Hewes, hands down. (Glenn Close from Damages)

  52. Pretty recently I got introduced to the tv-series The Wire, and I kind of just engulfed the entire thing in a month! I think there are several characters from that that would easily fit right into your list – but so as not to ramble:

    -Omar Devon Little!
    An openly gay, shot gun toting, black man that robs drug dealers for a living seems interesting enough – but to up the ante Omar also has morals and is an all round – relatively – nice guy! He wouldn’t kill anyone just for looking at him, you would actually have to have done something to be on his agenda, and If you’re not on it you could probably ask him favours without fearing anything.

    Oh, and yeah, I agree with you about your guilty pleasure.
    Jack Sparrow is a hoot! 🙂

  53. A man after my own heart here, lol. I too, am fascinated and addicted to the “good character gone bad” types. Or as I like to call them, “kind-hearted criminals”. I didn’t realize there was somebody else out there so fascinated by them. They make the best kinds of characters, and I would just love to meet them. If you want to read a book with a great example of a good-guy-but-bad-guy, read Martha Wells’ Death Of The Necromancer. She is the best at creating such characters. Wonderful post.

    • Thank you Stacey.

      And you got me at Necromancer. Implies that it’s fantasy (my favorite genre) and deals with death (kind of a subgenre fascination). 🙂

      Unless it’s some kind of metaphorical tale about the emotional death of a doctor. 😛

  54. Interesting concept. Gregory House would be one of my choices too.

    I am in the middle of reading the Millennium Trilogy and my first pick would be Lisbeth Salander. She is an interesting character who so far is an unlikely tragic heroine. Despite the fact that I am not a fan of Rooney Mara it has to be said that she totally nailed the performance in the film. She brought Lisbeth to life and really captured the sociopath in her. Half way through the second book but sad to think there is only one more to go and that the character died with the author.

    Can’t think of a third right now.

    • I have yet to see The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo, but I agree that Lisbeth’s character in the novel is pretty intriguing. Everyone around her underestimates her, which allows her to get the upper-hand in many situations.

      I’ll be honest that I didn’t care for the entire book as much as most people did (I still finished it though, which says something about its power). But it did have some good characters.

      Thanks so much for sharing. 🙂

  55. Good choices! I don’t watch Breaking Bad so can’t talk about that. But Dr. House is easily one of the most fascinating characters on TV. I think a lot of the credit goes to Hugh Laurie. He is one of my favourite actors and I think he outdid himself with this one. And who doesn’t find Captain Jack Sparrow interesting?

    I mostly watch Comedy and Crime. Meeting Liz Lemon from 30 Rock and Abed from Community would be interesting. Meeting Dr. Temperance Brennan from Bones would also be great because I myself am an Anthropologist, although I’d probably be too intimidated to say anything to her.

    • An anthropologist! This is why I love WordPress: you meet such interesting people.

      I’m guilty of not watching nearly enough 30 Rock and Community (I’ve seen maybe an episode of each).

      They’re hilarious from what I’ve seen, but time ain’t always on my side, unfortunately.

  56. My fav is Omar (Michael K. Williams) from The Wire. So many contradictions as he makes his way in a completely messed up world. A strangely skewed code of ethics but a code just the same.

  57. Walter White/Eisenberg – awesome. Although there are plenty of characters in Breaking Bad that are pretty damn cool, Hank, Mike, Saul to name but a few…

    • Finally, someone mentioned Saul! He’s seriously the Deus Ex Machina of the series.

      Need something done? Call Saul! That character has surprised me time and time again with how loyal and effective he is.

      You’d think from his infommercial that he’s a crappy lawyer, but I can’t even remember a time he’s failed Walter and Jesse.

      Mike is just pure awesomeness. Period.

      And then there’s Gus . . .

      See what you’ve done? You’ve opened a can of worms. 😛

      • Saul is indeed awesome. Remember that scene in series one where Jessie tells Walt that they need a criminal lawyer, and Walt agrees, but then Jessie says ‘No – a CRIMINAL lawyer…’ ?

        Best line ever.

        Are you up to date on BB? Can’t wait til season 5!

      • Haha! That line was priceless.

        I am indeed up to speed. To say I can’t wait for season 5 is an understatement.

        You know what I’ve been thinking about? That weird, mariachi intro to one of the episodes in . . . season 2? Remember they’re talking about how the cartel is becoming interested in what Heisenberg is doing in the USA, and the mariachi singers are singing about how there are consequences to his actions?

        There were some interesting images in that little intro, and I wonder if they are foretelling what’s gonna happen in the last season . . .

  58. That Mariachi thing is a real phenomena apparently – Mexican musicians make folklore recordings to record the deeds of notorious gangsters – it was a brilliant touch.

    Nothing in BB is left to chance, there’s no fat, if you like, so everything serves a purpose, it just leaves you wonder if it’s come around yet or not. Take the burnt soft toy floating in the pool…!

    • You just pointed out something I love about the series: everything gets tied up, eventually. All those little smoking guns make sense in the long run.

      I adore the Sopranos, but many things were left unexplained. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and I appreciate open ended shows, but I can’t help but respect Breaking Bad for making you itch like crazy but always scratching you later. 🙂

      I’ll definitely have to look up the Mariachi thing you spoke about. I find that fascinating.

      • The Sopranos also rocks. Best leave the ‘who’s the best character…’ conversation aside now, we could be here forever 😉

        I saw the Mariachi thing on The Shield too, they used the phenomena to trace Mexican criminals. The CDs etc are sold as bootlegs on crappy markets and stuff. Not sure how often it’s done, but it made an awesome intro.

        As for BB scratching your itches, I agree, but I suspect it might leave some unscratched at the end of season 5. Season 4 was tied up nicely actually, maybe the next season will be Walt living a nice, easy life…. yeah right!

  59. If you haven’t checked out House of Lies, give it a look. Kristen Bell’s character Jeannie Van Der Hooven is one of the most interesting, conflicted, compelling TV characters I’ve seen in a long time – and Ms. Bell knocks it out of the park.

    Also, for all the (very deserved) praise heaped on Ian McShane for Deadwood’s Al Swearengen, the first season journey by Seth Bullock – played with incredible restraint by Timothy Olyphant – was for me the highlight of the whole series. The last episode (in fact the last scene) of season one is awesome.

  60. I think that Eric and Tammy Taylor from Friday Night Lights are interesting, mainly because they were a dynamic, wonderful couple who always had interesting storylines, but they never forced them down the usual television paths of marital problems, infidelity, and break-ups. They were solid, but real, and I loved that.

  61. Breaking bad is an amazing show. I agree with Jack Sparrow as well, but it would have been nice ending it after the second movie. I feel like too much of a good thing gets old real fast.

    • I can’t blame you for feeling that way, Jeff. I will say that I don’t mind the third and fourth movies only because Johnny Depp really refined the character by that point.

      There’s a marked difference between his performance in the first movie and On Stranger Tides. The plot may not be great, but the character is more polished.

      Otherwise, yeah, I could live without the third and fourth films. 🙂

    • He sure is Michele. I’m very saddened that this is the last season.

      If you can, please watch Breaking Bad! The next seasons starts up soon, so there’s a lot to catch up on.

      It’s definitley a great show. 🙂

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  63. I’ve never watched “Breaking Bad”, but the guy looks like the dad, Hal, from “Malcolm in the Middle”. (Yeah, I know…) I do fully agree with Dr. House and Captain Jack Sparrow, though. They are unique. I don’t know who else I’d add to my list, though. That would require more thought than I have time for right now. 🙂

  64. You are right about Breaking Bad! Great show.

    As for characters, I liked a few of the characters on LOST. You could pick a few of them…Jack, Sawyer, even Sun had a strange past. It was a case study of how people are bound by behaviors that they can not shake.

    Sadly, comedies never really delve to deep into what creates a character. I would love to know what created Lois, the mother from Malcom in the Middle. She was very interesting.

  65. I would say that Jessie on “Breaking Bad” is every bit as interesting as Walt. He’s gone through his own transformation, from carefree punk to a man who has the genuine ability to love. Ironic how he has come to represent the moral high ground while Walt spins further out of control with each passing season.

    My favorite show and one of TV’s all-time greats!

    • Jessie is awesome, but he’s transformed even further from someone capable of love.

      He’s fallen pretty far from grace; this past season he was scary in his disregard for his own life. Having to kill someone really took a toll on him.

      Has anyone stayed relatively the same in Breaking Bad? Maybe Walter Jr. but everyone else has truly grown. It’s rare to see that on television.

  66. My vote would be Rorschach from Watchmen – A hero who seems to hate the people he protects.

    “The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout “Save us!”… and I’ll look down and whisper “No.” ”

    My girlfriend says Edward Nortan in fight club.

  67. I agree with both House and Jack Sparrow. I would also like to add Nick Caffery from White Collar. There is just something contradicting about him and I love that. Also Tyrion Lanister from the Game of Throne TV series ( I haven’t read the books yet). Again there is something ambiguous about him. I’m just not sure what his motives are and what kind of person he actually his and that is exciting.

  68. Everyone has awesome character choices and I love the debate this has brought up, but if I was to choose I would agree with Captain Jack and Walter. My third would have to be Sheriff Rick from the comic series (not TV) Walking Dead. Such a great character, but that’s just my two cents.

    • I’m glad someone brought up The Walking Dead! 🙂

      The Rick in the comic books does seem to be much more strong willed, but the show’s Rick seems to be getting there. It’s just taking a bit longer.

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  70. Hard to narrow a list like this down to just three.. Recently I’ve gotten into House, so I’ll go with you there. I also really like (the titular character) from the new BBC version of Sherlock, which is definitely worth watching. I also really like Jar Jar Binks* from the Star Wars saga: a deeply troubled character wrestling with existential demons.

    * No I don’t. Obviously.

  71. I couldn’t make a quick list of my favourite characters in TV series or films, but overall, I think Michael Chiklis in The Shield is one of the perfect good/bad cops of ever Series TV.

  72. Oftentimes when I meet a new friend, I ask if they’re more of a Steve or Stefan Urkel kinda gal. The same can be done with Walt/Heisenberg. A response to this single question can capture their entire personality. I’m Heisenberg/Stefan. For Sure.

    • That’s a fantastic question to ask.

      If I were asked, I’d probably choose the third option: Bruce Steve (or whatever you’d call him when he drank the Bruce Juice).

      I’ll say one thing for Heisenberg: he isn’t the kind of guy I’d want to meet . . .

      • Wow, only a hard-core Fam Matters fan knows of Bruce Steve. Impressive. I’d rather kick it with Gustavo and the cartel twins any day over Skyler. Ugh. But my top hangout choice: Saul. Gale is a close second.

      • See, I would want to hang out with Gus to learn from him. He’s got that cool “I know exactly what I’m doing, and you can too if you listen” sort of vibe.

        Skyler? Let’s just say there were times when I was glad Walter was a jerk.

        Saul is a perfect hangout choice. When I first saw him and his commercial, I thought he was going to be some whackjob, but the guy has some serious legal (and illegal) skills.

        What about Mike? No hangout love?

      • Um is it bad that Mike is the first guy on the show that I would choose to umm, make coitus with??? He’s got that whole silent and dangerous thing.

        I wasn’t sure if my dislike for Skyler was because of my prejudice towards tall Amazonian women, but, no, I’m sure this is a prejudice-free, objective kind of liking. Eww, I don’t care if Ted has heated bathroom floors, eww!! BTW, what a great episode title: I.F.T. My fave.

        Speaking of BB, I just watched Safe (with Julianne Moore) and Hank (I like to call him “Hank the Tank”) had a small part in it as a moving guy. I guess he’s also a Harvard grad. Interesting up and down career.

      • Seriously interesting. Hank was also in one of the Lethal Weapon movies (I think it was Lethal Weapon 2) AND I believe Robocop.

        Also, I know what you mean about Mike. He’s the guy every guy wants to be. He’s the strong, reliable type (no homo). I can’t wait to see what he decides to do next season.

        Never heard of Safe. I tell you, I have a list about a mile long from all of the great recommendations from WordPress bloggers.

      • Yes about Mike!! I so don’t dig the sensitive, urban hipster guy type characters (like Steve in Shameless)… in real or fictional life.

        I’m glad to have suggested a flick. And, also, thank you for following. I um just started this whole cyber journaling thing.

      • You’re very welcome on the follow; anyone who understands the importance of sitcom trivia is worth following.

        For a blogging newbie, you certainly have some great posts. Checking them out in detail now. 🙂

  73. I have to mention Dr. Cal Lightman (Lie to me), there’s just something about his character that makes him look bad ass but it adds up to his charm and his undeniable wit really interest me. Horatio Caine (CSI Miami) is a favorite too.

    • I think I have the first season of Lie to Me around here somewhere, but I never cracked it open. I really like the concept, but I never felt compelled to watch it.

      After your description, however, I just might have to. 🙂

  74. I haven’t seen Breaking Bad yet (actually don’t have cable, if you can believe that,) but when I think of Brian Cranston, I hear Funkytown and see him skating around! I agree, Dr, House is an awesome character. The only one off-hand I can think of that even comes close to his level of smart-assery while still being intelligent and whatnot would be Tim Roth’s character, Dr. Lightman, in “Lie to Me.” And Jack Sparrow is a given, excepting that now a lot of Depp’s character’s seem to all have the same type of quirkiness (Willy Wonka and Mad Hatter anyone?)

  75. Those are three great characters you chose! If you ever get the chance to watch Friday Night Lights, the whole series was full of really interesting characters.

  76. Oh, one other thing.
    If you like the character House – and haven’t seen Hugh Laurie in much else – take a look at the third season of Black Adder, in which you can see the man playing the blasé, world weary Gregory House portraying Prince George, a dimwitted, naive, pompous brittish moron!
    -And doing it hilariously well!

    • A few friends of mine have recommended Black Adder. They say it’s hilarious.

      The idea of him playing a dimwit is too intriguing to pass up. I’ll definitely have to add the series to my gargantuan list of must see shows.

      • Bit of warning though:
        The first Black Adder-season is VERY different from the rest of the series. So if you decide to see it, and feel the need to start at the beginning – and then find you don’t like it… Do give it one more try with season 2. And if you like that – rejoice! It only gets better from there.
        Season four (Black Adder goes forth) contains some of the funniest television ever produced!

  77. All three are spot on! However I would like to make the case for a one Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother. I mean the Wikipedia page for this character is longer than the actor, Neil Patrick Harris, who plays him.
    He is legen . . . wait for it . . . dary!!

  78. This is an absolutely fantastic list! Though I’ve never seen Breaking Bad, I totally agree with the other two. Spending an afternoon with House and Jack Sparrow would be quite an experience, and certainly one I would kill to be a part of. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  79. I’m with you on House and Jack Sparrow but haven’t seen Breaking Bad. Like others, I’d add Heath Ledger’s Joker to the mix. And, I’m growing kind of fond of Temperance Brennan on TV’s Bones — she’s the most brilliant forensic anthropologist in the world and tells you so. She lacks tack and makes me cringe AND laugh at how anyone can be so obtuse and still likable.

      • I can totally respect if you see him that way; plenty of people see him as pretty 2D.

        As for me, it’s a subjective interest that I have in him. He’s a fascinating person who has more depth than he gets credit for.

        Plenty of great characters are archetypes: it’s the framework they exist in. The lone gunman, the wise mentor, the crook with a heart of gold. It’s how the writer and director build upon the character that makes them unique, deep, and interesting.

        To me, Jack Sparrow has conflicting morals, motivations,and philosophies. It makes him fascinating to watch.

        Again, it’s all pretty much objective: where one man sees depth, another sees a shallow caricature. Hence the beauty of the list. 🙂

        Who are some of your favorite characters, the ones who find most interesting and who have the most depth?

  80. Very interesting concept! Have not seen “Breaking Bad”, will have to check it out! Love “House” and Captain Jack is, well Captain Jack! Thanks for sharing!

  81. love this list! i have mildly creepy crushes on both dr house and jack sparrow. there’s something charming but oh so wrong about them. i dig it. i share some preferences and opinions you might find entertaining…www.icouldntmakethisshitup.wordpress.com

  82. Love this post! Really interesting comments too. Personally, Lester Burnham from American Beauty for me. I love his transformation from meek, clumsy weakling to someone who regains control of his life. I thought American Beauty was a really powerful film.

  83. On the comedy side, I like the character of Sheldon Cooper. Just think how many psychiatrist he would keep busy if he was in therapy (even if his mother had him tested when he was young)? Playing such an idiosynchriatic (!!) man would be tough.

  84. House is on the top of my list (I really do have to watch Breaking Bad). He has the kind of personality usually reserved for the villain, and yet you can’t help but root for him. His is a seriously difficult character to pull off, but the writing and acting are done so well. Compelling stuff.

  85. i think an easily overlooked character is dr. spencer reid from “criminal minds.” the son of a schizophrenic, he fears that with age, he will become one himself, which dictates a large part of his life. he graduated high school at age 12 and quickly earned a handful of PhDs (which he jokes in one episode was to “get back” at his father). he is emotionally and socially stunted by his extreme intelligence and what is hinted at as asperger’s, which keeps him from understanding the most basic of human connections and emotions. he can only view life on a scientific and psychological level. he has the ability to read 20,000 words per minute (something that is reminded to the audience when he often mentions that he read multiple books on their airplane) and an eidetic memory that applies to what he sees and reads and is able to solve even the most complex of puzzles. he fears memories that he has suppressed from childhood (such as the implication that his father was involved in a murder of a childhood friend and the subsequent implication that he was molested by that friend’s father). however, he is unable to enjoy his life not only due to the fear that, with age, he will succumb to mental illness, but also because of his inability to understand the beauty and simplicity of life. as complex of a character as he is, he holds a child-like innocence that is rarely seen in adults.

  86. I have not watched Breaking Bad but I definitely agree with the last two especially since Johnny Depp is one of my favorite characters and House one of the first tv shows I actually cared about.

  87. Agree with your intro so well… just cannot help it to share about my enthusiasm of tha actress ~ Angelina Jolie!! The original Sin was superb about love… being a loser in the name of love.. lost evertyhing for love… lost in the perfect world of bonnie and clyde syndrome… lost in the name of injustice or justice cant defeat love… love love love…. and after that… the interrupted girl… together with winona ryder and her undefine act of stealing… erm…. and the word pitt and jolie… the love that he maneg to get while jenn is struggle or maybe been struggled by media to help her… then… the humanitarian mission of adopting kisd…. race and colour in one family but not yet idol’ed’.. ermmm… purely originally sin. i just lost in the world of true but alloable!!!!!!!!!!! and yet so dramatic and fantastic like bombastic.. and just or maybe if i am able to stae all the “-tic’…. hmm… its really hectic!!! hmm… a really wonder woman she is!! of forget to mention about snake mother to the great alexender… erm… ermm fuh… what a luth… society… arrrrr to good to mention all about her untolerated act!!!!!!!!! superb!!!!!! to make understand well about beautiful her!! what not to follow? right? 😛

  88. Ahhh Dr. House. We are often taken a back by things he says, but only because we think those things and never have the …… (fill in the blank)…… to verbalize it. No, not that every thing need be uttered that one thinks, sure. But truth be told, we fall way too much on the other side. The side where we are conditioned to be polite and be liked in exchange for seldom expressing how we really feel. This is why I love House!
    Ps: My comment is way too long!

  89. Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister on the HBO series “Game of Thrones”.

    He’s probably one of the most complex, interesting, and funny characters I’ve seen on television.

  90. As a film major, I’m definitely failing at not knowing Breaking Bad, but I hear good things about it all the time. Along with a handful of other, similar shows. But that said, I am with you on House and Captain Jack Sparrow. I can’t figure them out, the way we shouldn’t like them but do, but it’s a testament to the writing and producing and acting and executing, I’m sure. And they’re real, so real we almost forget – or do forget – that we’re watching people who don’t actually exist. That’s pretty magical. That’s what the writer in me wants to read and watch and experience.

  91. Congrats on your FP status! 🙂 Never watched Breaking Bad.. but I do admit to really liking House. Captain Jack Sparrow is a great character and I do agree about Michael from the Godfather. I just wish there were female characters to add to that list.

  92. Just to add a unique choice: Beatrix from Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2. Uma Thurman did an excellent job to me in displaying this assassin who’s been wronged and is out to get her revenge by following a simple list in a notebook. I don’t usually like Quentin Tarantino but this film was great and Thurman pulled it off.

  93. A nice list…..

    Try Dexter Morgan from Dexter and Cal lightman from lie to me….

    Michael Schofield from Prison break is also a great character…..

  94. Great list and sure, I’ll share a few –

    Andrew (Bicentennial Man) – Cheesy? Sure, but the message and character progression are very compelling. I love his innocence and purity.

    Aragorn (Lord of the Rings) – It’s really hard for me to pick a favorite character from Middle Earth, but I list Aragorn because of his moral strength and virtue. He’s fearless, honest, and selfless – a great hero.

    Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) – I loved her journey. I think it was an incredibly brave one on which to embark.

    • Sir, Andrew from Bicentennial Man is a fantastic character. I’m fascinated by how much he grows throughout the film, and the way the world progresses around him constantly forces him to learn and adjust.

      Aragorn is like the standard for fantasy, medieval heroes. You pinpointed exactly why.

      I’ve never read or seen the movie Eat, Pray, Love, but I’m familiar with the overall journey she takes to find herself, and I may just have to add the movie to my bulging collection of films. 🙂

      Thanks for commenting.

  95. For me,the fascination lies in the way the actor/actress plays out their part. I have seen greatly scripted movies and T.V shows get axed because the actors and/or actresses bored the crap outta most viewers. I like Sheldon Cooper because he never disappoints.
    Jack Bauer,because he knows how to evoke feelings hence keep me glued to 24!
    Not forgetting Richard Castle! I have a loo…ooong list of awesome characters that giving only three does not do me justice. 🙂

  96. I haven’t yet seen Breaking Bad, although a friend of mine asks me daily if i’ve bought it yet as she loves it so much. Jack Sparrow is a great character, despite how much people may not like the films, and Depp plays it perfectly.

    Omar from The Wire is one of my favourite characters of all time. Terry Malloy from On the Waterfront (and the inspiration for my blog!) is a superb character too. In terms of going on a journey throughout a film, i think Bill from Eyes Wide Shut deserves a mention. I also agree with those above who said Dexter Morgan from Dexter and Michael from The Godfather films.

  97. I think Walter White is one of the most compelling TV characters in a long time. His development has been epic and I’m continually surprised and never bored by him! Excellent choice there 😀

  98. I enjoyed reading your article. I like House and Jack Sparrow, but since I don’t know Breaking Bad, I can’t judge Walter.
    One of my favorite movies is “Invictus”, especially the way Morgan Freeman played Nelson Mandela. One of my favorite french movies is “Intouchables” — I laughed through the whole movie. Driss is really funny – especially hiss laughter in the french version.
    But I like most of the movies in which Matthew Macfadyen takes part.

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  100. I’ve never watched Breaking Bad but I love the other two characters! House is not a show I’ve watched a lot of but I’ve always enjoyed it when I’ve gotten the chance to see it. Dr. House is definitely uber interesting. And Jack Sparrow, Oh Captain Jack. I love him, everything about him. He’s the perfect character. Great post! 🙂

  101. Dr. Gregory House is one of my favourite characters too.His choice of words,his intelligence,his excellent judge of character makes him stand out.I always wonder how Hugh Laurie would be in person.Does he actually identify with his character or is he a completely different person!!!…

  102. Reblogged this on nshivm and commented:
    actually , my ‘most interesting characters’ would be :
    1. Barney Stinson
    2. Dr. House
    3. The Joker ( Ledger’s Joker)
    4. Captain Jack Sparrow

  103. Loved House for a long time….finally gave him up this past season. I still adore the character but the plot suffers so.

    I was trying to think what my favorite tv character and I came to a toss up: Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens and Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder both from Justified. Such a rich depthful show although I wish Raylan would draw down on someone again.

    Johnny Depp as almost anyone rocks but his Jack Sparrow is pretty special.

    My all time favorite character is probably Kim from Ruyard Kipling’s book of the same name. There is just something so special about that kid…we need a modern remake!

    Cheers! Great post. Gratz on being freshly pressed!

    • Yep, I also loved watching House and watched pretty religiously for years… then they started gutting the cast (Lisa Edelstein’s (Cuddy) departure was a huge loss, and the plots have suffered tremendously.

      As soon as they brought that young asian woman with the bowl haircut and glasses on … I couldn’t understand her when she spoke her dialogue, she tends to garble her words and she has NO accent whatsoever. As an actress she does not seem at all ready to be on a show like House and doesn’t keep up with her cast-mates.

      Unfortunately, House either needs to be re-vamped, OR they need to (gasp, I can’t even believe I’m saying this…) let it go.
      .
      .
      As as aside… Mike, it’s FANTASTIC that you got Freshly Pressed after only blogging for a few months!! Enjoy the ride my friend!!

      Carol

      • I know what you mean about the Asian girl. She’s so out of place there. She’s almost as bad as Masters, the redhead who was all morally superior to everyone else.

        I also really miss Cuddy. She was a great character and created a good amount of resistance for Hosue.

        Not sure if you’ve heard, but this is the show’s last season. It ends sometime during the summer, so you’ll pretty much get your wish. 😛

        Thanks so much for congratulations. I wouldn’t have been as motivated to write without great blogging buddies like you. 🙂

  104. Maybe this doesn’t count because it’s a book (well it’s now been made into a movie actually but I haven’t seen any of the movie adaptations yet) but when I first read the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I was so fascinated by the Lisbeth Salander character. She is such an unusual person and just so different from any character I’ve come across in books. So maybe she is just as intriguing on screen? If you’ve seen the movie maybe you can let me know!

  105. could you take the time to criticize my work? i like the way you write and i would like some feedback if you have the time : )
    thank you in advance

  106. House is certainly one of those characters that are hard to forget. I don’t know though but I can’t ever picture House played by any other actor but Hugh Lurie. Hugh Lurie is like Jackie Chan. You look at his face and that’s it-you’ll forever remember Dr. House.

    Now speaking of Jackie Chan, the characters that he played on the big screen have also become memorable and believe it or not, his face too, not only his martial arts moves, plays a great part in that.

  107. I like Dr. House and Jack Sparrow! Other favorites: Dr. Cox from Scrubs, Sue Sylvester on Glee, Walter Bishop on Fringe, Emma Stone’s father in Easy A (basically, that actor in everything- Stanley Tucci?), Robert Downy Jr.’s Sherlock Holmes, and Alan from The Hangover.

  108. As for characters, I liked a few of the characters on LOST. You could pick a few of them…Jack, Sawyer, even Sun had a strange past. It was a case study of how people are bound by behaviors that they can not shake.

    Sadly, comedies never really delve to deep into what creates a character. I would love to know what created Lois, the mother from Malcom in the Middle. She was very interesting.

    • Dexter is no doubt an interesting character! I absolutely love the books and the TV series of Dexter, and as far as anti-heroes are concerned, he’s probably top of the heap. If I were to write a list of the Top 3 Best Modern Anti-Heroes…

      Well, maybe I should write a blog about it, and see where Dex comes out.

      • ❤ Dexter. Although to be fair, he's not a true sociopath like he says he is. He has too many feelings and consideration for others. But I imagine if he didn't, he would not be a "likeable" a character and the series would not be as popular. :/

      • An interesting viewpoint. If he’s not a sociopath, then what is he? I always thought he must be, killing so many people without remorse.

        I wonder where he would be then without Harry’s Code. Jail notwithstanding. I always wondered about the emotions, and I suspected there was something else going on, that maybe he’s not being entirely honest with himself.

        But considering his past… before the Code… Generally speaking, kids don’t kill dogs without something else going on in their minds…

      • I definitely agree that after a certain age, killing animals is not normal, but there are many shades of gray with people’s behavior. He does not have remorse for the bad people he kills, but the fact that he holds himself to a code at all could be an indicator of his not being necessarily sociopathic. He would not have been able to form caring attachments to people like Deb or Rita if he was truly without feelings. Among other things, a classic sign of sociopathology is narcissism and a general disregard for the rules of society. (I studied all this in college so I love to talk about this crap… LOL. I even have an essay on my blog about sociopathology and serial murder.)

      • It’s funny that you bring up narcissism, because I once read something someone wrote on the internet about how sometimes actual Narcissists call themselves Sociopaths to try and justify the lack of empathy they feel for other people. I don’t see Dex as a Narcissist, though, just because the animal cruelty thing doesn’t seem to be inclusive of it.

        And I certainly agree about the attachments to Deb and Rita (one of the factors that made me wonder about Dex), though I originally figured that he kept to the Code for security. But you’re right too, he does involve himself personally in it, and that suggests something else.

        But I maintain that, even if he’s not a sociopath, there has to be something else off about his brain chemistry… unless you’re suggesting that he is the way is because of his childhood trauma alone?

  109. Love this post!
    I never managed to get into Breaking Bad, but the other two are definitely two of my favourites!
    My hubby puts up with my Johnny Depp obsession (don’t worry, I’m not a stalker… but they all say that!) mainly because of Jack Sparrow. The Pirates films are my favourites after Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, I just love what my friend coined “the dirty parrot look” and the way Johnny Depp plays him is so unique that I couldn’t imagine anyone else being him!
    I’ve always liked House, I used to watch Hugh Laurie in Blackadder so when it first started I just wanted to see him do some serious acting and got hooked 🙂

  110. Oh, no, I’m not suggesting that, just that his behavior is not really exemplary of what I think of as a sociopath, because he has too many feelings, attachments, and commitments that he honors. The Code is about security, but the way he talks about it, it feels like it has evolved into something more. A set of morals he adopted in place of what he felt was his own lacking morals. But you can tell that even though killing satisfies his base urge to …well, kill…. he also feels it necessary for his victims to know WHY they are dying, and he feels a sort of righteous indignation at what they do (look at the whole Lumen debacle!)
    Even IF there was no underlying chemical imbalance (IF) than I would say it was not only childhood trauma that catalyzed his issues, but Harry’s reinforcement of them. Think about that episode where he actually addresses the fact that Harry never really gave Dexter the credit to try to change his behavior or see any other possible outcome for his life than as a sociopath. That could have been very damaging.

  111. House is a favorite which is why your post caught my eye!
    And then there are more – Dexter, Kiefer Sutherland in 24 and Mary Louise Parker in Weeds. I haven’t had a chance to watch Breaking Bad but it sounds a lot like Weeds or vice versa.

  112. I ❤ captain jack! he's so funny, and my mum can never understand what he's saying for some reason…I also love Dr Spencer Reid from criminal minds (might have been mentioned but there are too many comments for me to search through). Not in the pathetic "ahh, he's so cute" way, but in the "omg he is so smart" kind of way. How can you not love a cute character with three PHDs and terrible social skills?! x

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