Time for a silly blog list, yes? Here are my 25 favorite TV characters ever (originated by James Gunn, via Whedonesque, including a list from Joss!). I've broken some of Gunn's rules (whaddya mean no cartoons?), and arranged these somewhat chronologically:
1. Morticia Addams (Carolyn Jones), The Addams Family. Wife, mother, gardener...who says you can't have it all?
2. Chet Kincaid (Bill Cosby), The Bill Cosby Show. Noteworthy ep: "A Christmas Ballad." First season just released on DVD(!).
3. Dr. Bombay (Bernard Fox), Bewitched. The cranky quack was the only thing that saved this show from the switch from B&W to color and from York to Sargent.
4. Arnold Ziffel ("Arnold the piggy"), Green Acres. Some pig!
5. "Nanny" Phoebe Figalilly (Juliet Mills), Nanny and the Professor. Noteworthy ep: "A Letter for Nanny"...the one where Nanny cries.
6. Lt. Columbo (Peter Falk), Columbo. Noteworthy ep: "Try and Catch Me" with Ruth Gordon.
7. Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin), The Night Stalker. Goofy, scary, perfect.
8. Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper), The Mary Tyler Moore Show. At her best before she got skinny. Noteworthy ep: "Love Blooms at Hemple's."
9. Fred Sanford (Redd Foxx), Sanford and Son. Favorite mixed drink: Cranberry juice and Ripple: 'Cripple'.
10. Sergeant Foley (Bruce Solomon), Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. The inexplicably irresistible almost-love interest of the pigtailed Louise Lasser.
11. Assistant Crown Attorney Heather Redfern (Janet-Laine Greene), Seeing Things. The buttoned-up lawyer whose teenage crush was not Paul McCartney, but Glenn Gould.
12. Detective Ron Harris (Ron Glass), Barney Miller. Dapper and literary...I'd always hoped to be set up on a blind date with someone just like him.
13. Bradley Raines (James Rebhorn), Guiding Light. The indelible soap opera role. (District Attorney Norwalk in Carlito's Way? That's evil stepfather Bradley! Dr. Bowman the psychiatrist in Far From Heaven? That's evil stepfather Bradley!)
14. 'Coach' Ernie Pantusso (Nick Colasanto), Cheers. To whom thanks are owed for teaching us that Albania's chief export is chrome, and for (as director Nick Colasanto) the two best episodes of Columbo ever, "Etude in Black" and "Swan Song".
15. David Addison (Bruce Willis), Moonlighting. If you ignore the smirking, the "singing" and the bogus final chase scenes, there's actually something to see here. Noteworthy ep: "Knowing Her," with Dana Delany and the Isley Brothers' "This Old Heart of Mine.".
16. Dana Scully (Gilllian Anderson), The X-Files. Held her own even after this show jumped the shark and skidded down to the bowels of hell. Noteworthy ep: "Beyond the Sea."
17. Sheriff Lucas Buck (Gary Cole), American Gothic. The perfect role for the always awesome Jeffrey MacDonald-Mike Brady-Bill Lundbergh-Cotton McKnight Gary Cole.
18. Executive Assistant DA Benjamin Stone (Michael Moriarty), Law and Order. The first and the best.
19. "Sideshow Bob" Terwilliger (Kelsey Grammer), The Simpsons. Noteworthy ep: "Cape Feare".
20. The Chief (Lynne Thigpen), Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Authoritative and soothing, she was the first talking head that got a smile out of my colicky first born.
21. Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Noteworthy ep: "Once More, With Feeling."
22. Hal (Bryan Cranston), Malcolm in the Middle. Noteworthy ep: "Rollerskates". Please tell me that was not a stunt man skating to "Funky Town".
23. Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard), 24. Let me get this straight: Tony is dead, and Audrey is alive? 24 writers got some 'splaining to do...
24. Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), Firefly. Coming back to TV in reruns next month, in high-definition (!), if you get Universal HD on cable.
25. The Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston), Doctor Who. My other car is The TARDIS.