Having so many new shows this year also means that there are so many more characters for me to love or hate (which is good, since I don’t like to repeat names on this list from year to year).
Characters I Love
Surprisingly, new TV shows haven’t added many new faves to my list. The monarch of my love-to-hate list is “Queen” Victoria Grayson from the new soap, Revenge. Everyone likes to compare her to Dynasty‘s Alexis Carrington, but I think she has her own brand of poisonous poise. As the reigning empress of the Hamptons, everyone scrapes at her feet while secretly plotting her downfall, yet she rarely loses composure (even when keeping her ex-best friend, who is also her husband’s mistress, a gilded-cage prisoner in her home). So far, newcomer Emily Thorne has had the upper hand most of the season, but I think Victoria’s going to spread her scheming wings soon, so everyone should watch out!
On the other end of the spectrum, John Reese is someone you don’t realize you can trust until he saves you from a bullet. The ex-assassin of Jonathan Nolan’s new series Person of Interest can disarm a gun-toting hit-man in the blink of an eye, yet he is surprisingly sensitive and likes to offer his soft-spoken wisdom while helping you escape your would-be murderers. That’s really what you want in a vigilante guardian angel.
Another guy who will stand by you is Parks and Recreation‘s Ben Wyatt. Not only does he take care of his clueless housemates Andy and April (you’d be hard-pressed to find a pair less-prepared for adulthood and married life), he seems to do all the work for his boss Chris, and still he has time to sacrifice himself to save Leslie’s job and career after their secret office-romance is discovered. I love that he’s a quiet, reliable guy and yet he’s also a super-nerd (there will never be too many of these characters in my books as long as they continue to bring positivity to geekdom) whose personal reward is a complete Batman costume.
If you’re not watching Lost Girl, you are missing out not only on the closest thing to a reincarnation of Buffy that I can think of. You are also missing the pleasure of characters such as Kenzi (from a previous TV Love list) and Trick, the bartender who provides supernatural detective Bo with Fae knowledge and advice. We’ve only scratched the surface of Trick’s background and now there’s a premonition about something (possibly bad) that happens between Bo and Trick in the coming conflict. I love any character who is secretly much more powerful than he lets on. Don’t let his diminutive size fool you.
Finally, as is becoming my tradition, I have to show some love and partiality to one of the Modern Family cast, all of whom I think are awesome, enjoyable characters. This year, I pick Gloria Delgado Pritchett. I love that she’s gone from a caliente Colombian trophy wife to a wonderful, fun character full of neuroses (like the rest of them/us), and I’m glad it’s not just about her looks. She’s got her love-hate of their dog, Stella (who she tried to coerce into eating her husband’s shoes), and her over-protectiveness of her son, Manny (who she defended when the principal ‘falsely’ accused him of stealing). One of my favourite Gloria-isms is when she shows that she’s smarter than she appears, that she’s figured it out all along (like when she called Claire on her insincere friendship or when she used her feminine wiles to win Jay a contract from a young hotshot).
Characters I Hate
Top of the newcomer list is Han Lee, the owner of the restaurant where Max and Caroline (of 2 Broke Girls) work. We get it: he’s an immigrant, so he’s culturally ignorant and always getting colloquialisms wrong. We’re familiar with the stereotype. But does he have to be such an annoying keener? And his accent is so artificial! Runner up is Declan Porter, from Revenge, the teen Romeo who follows his heart in pursuit of princess Grayson (i.e. Charlotte). Ugh! That entire teeny-bopper storyline should be eradicated, but Declan is the worst part. He’s so selfish: always whining about how they don’t have any money, yet acting like a spoiled brat. Plus, Like Han, his accent is some atrocious thing (possibly Boston-sounding), which makes no sense since no one else has the same accent as him. Another young whelp that I loathed (I’m starting to really sound my age) is the young king Joffrey Baratheon from A Game of Thrones. To be fair to the cherubic blond teen, author George R.R. Martin pretty much guaranteed that Joffrey would be hated just by the way he was written. Any spoiled whiny brat given ultimate socio-political power is going to be unliked. However, Joffrey’s sociopathic disregard for life and human value definitely makes him someone I hate to hate.
I realize that villains are supposed to be hated, but not because they are lame. Marnie Stonebrook, the head witch from this season of True Blood made a really wimpy villain. She had a lot of power, but she always seemed to be lashing out like a child throwing a tantrum. Even from beyond the grave she was so bitter that she just couldn’t move on. Who’d have thought that I’d actually miss the crazy, vibrating, heart-eating antics of Maryann the maenad? The other moustache-twirler of the year made only brief appearances, but still… Lucas Taylor the brilliant physicist son of Terra Nova‘s Commander Taylor was so bitter towards his father that he would sell him and the entire colony out to a blood-sucking corporation from the future. Plus, he threatens the adorable Skye that if she doesn’t comply with him, he’s going to throw her sick mother out of the treehouse to her death! From hating your father to a killer of mothers and destroyer of civilizations? Talk about overcompensation!
Finally, there are some average characters that I hated just because they were super-dull or wasted good actors. Case in point, Penny Johnson Jerald was great as the ruthless “Lady Macbeth” to President David Palmer in 24, but now she plays Castle‘s Captain Victoria Gates as the biggest wet blanket on TV. And while I hated almost everyone on Torchwood: Miracle Day, I’m going to lay the blame for my disappointment about that show on Rex Matheson, the category one, undead CIA agent who just grated on my last nerve. Way to ruin an amazing series! Despite these names on both lists, I think there are fewer stand-out characters this year (at least who stand out in my mind).