I've thought about it of course, but I've tried to limit myself by giving myself just 15 mins to write the post. I've took a bit longer than than that (it took 7 songs on i-Tunes) but the longer I spend the more likely it was to take over my day.
Anyway, I get to include reference to the Whedonverse - a freedom available to me as I didn't write them. I've also stuck with those created for TV (so no Casanova folks as MUCH as we loved that!), even though that left off a lot of well-portrayed characters who came from elsewhere (Andy Dalziel, for example, or Edward Petherbridge's Lord Peter Wimsey [I'm re-reading some Sayers at the mo which is why that's in my mind]). And although obviously The Doctor is one of THE best TV figures ever created, since the character changes somewhat with every regeneration I've left that one off the list. I also gave considerable thought to disentangling characters from actors: so as much as I have loved performances by people such as Dougie Henshall (Psychos, Kid in the Corner), David Tennant (Blackpool) and Ken Stott(Messiah, The Vice, Takin' Over the Asylum), Christopher Eccleston (Our Friends in the North, The Second Coming), and David Morrissey (Holding On, Blackpool), I've come to the reluctant conclusion that in most instances I was attracted by the performance and the actor's inhabitation and not just the character.
So in thinking out this list I've gone for characters that perhaps anyone else might have played (because the writing was so good) but which had the good fortune of great casting to be given to the best person for the job.
- Willow Rosenberg from Buffy the Vampire Slayer - because, well pretty obvious really
- Josh Lyman from The West Wing - for being a volatile heart on his sleeve guy
- Dr. Dana Scully from The X-Files - for being able to keep a straight face even when the plot went utterly bonkers and her Carter-penned soliloquies became unbearably portentious (you should see her as a double act with Mulder really I guess as a great character)
- Brian Topp from Spaced - for anger, pain and painting
- Lisa Simpson from the Simpsons - for being smart and surviving
- Munch from Homocide: Life on the Street / Law & Order: Special Victims Unit / X-Files 100th episode - for being so fantastically conspiratorial
- Gregory House from House - because I just never got Jeeves & Wooster so I have NO problem with the accent and love smart characters
- Det. Robert Goren from Law & Order: Criminal Intent - because again, smart guys
- CJ Cregg from The West Wing - because she was just so incredible
- Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel - for having such a great character arc and huge numbers of great lines
- Dr. McCartney from Green Wing - for being quick-witted, but stupid in love
- Dr. Joel Fleishman from Northern Exposure - for being sweet (though its a tough call against DJ Chris...)
- (Ale)Xander Lavelle Harris from Buffy - because for all his faults he and his humour remained adorable
- Bernard Black from Black Books - wickedly funny
- Edmund Blackadder - for sustained historical wit and ingenuity
- Sue White from Green Wing - for being surreal
- Abby from NCIS - goth girl geek!
- Dr. Perry Cox from Scrubs - for being sarky and soft-hearted
- Father Dougal McGuire from Father Ted - for managing to make confusion so appealing
- Mal Reynolds from Firefly - for courage and stupidity
- Dharma Finkelstein Montgomery from Dharma and Greg - because whilst the actress may be a scary kook, Dharma was a great kook character (especially when having eaten lots of sugar)
- Jane Tennison from Prime Suspect - for really taking 'cop shows' to another level
- Gil Grissom from CSI - for just being ineffably cool
- Niles Crane from Frasier - for being wimpish to the extreme
- Lois from Malcolm in the Middle - for somehow holding it together
I could have gone for any number of others instead or as well as these. Any number of great characters from the Whedonverse, or The West Wing, let alone all the random residual memory characters from my TV viewings (Ilya Kuryakin! Burnside from Sandbaggers! Tom and Ruth from Spooks! Marty Hopkirk - the first TV programme I remember watching! Joy Merryweather from Drop the Dead Donkey! Earl Hickey! Francis Urquart!).
It's no good, this list would change in a minute. And excuse the lack of links but I wanted it posted.
UPDATE: MediumRob has his own list which only serves to highlight how partial my list was and how incomplete and how I managed to omit so many great characters. Sheesh, I mean, I doubt my mother will ever forgive me for forgetting Avon from Blake's 7. She's gonna start haunting me I tell ya...