Today’s TV Of The Day is another Top 10 list (it is Top 10 Tuesday, after all). This time it is Top 10 Male TV Characters. I’ve done this list a few times, and while some characters seem laminated in their Top spots (i.e. James “Sawyer” Ford), there are some shifts in the list and some new names among the pack. Lists always evolve, which is part of the fun of compiling (and sharing) them.
10 is a hard number to narrow down to, thus like with the Road Trip Movies, I’ve included some well-deserved honorable mentions at the bottom.
I’d love to know who would make it on your list. Feel free to share in the comments below.
Grabbing my remote control…here are my Top 10 Male TV Characters for Today’s TV Of The Day.
Oh, and as a warning, there are TV spoilers about character traits, story arcs, and finales (on shows that are no longer airing). Read at your own risk.
Top 10 Male TV Characters
TV Of The Day
Top 10 Tuesday
1. James “Sawyer” Ford (Josh Holloway)
from the TV Series, “Lost” (2004-2010)
Its a pretty safe bet that James “Sawyer” Ford will always be my number 1 Male TV Character, his spot laminated forever. He stole my heart completely from the first season of Lost, and on through to the very last episode. It is no shock to anyone who knows me that Sawyer would be my number 1 as he reminds me so much of my first fictional/on-screen Male character love, Han Solo. Like Han, Sawyer is sarcastic, witty, a “scoundrel”, who also possesses a deep well of emotions, heartbreak, pain, and a need to love and be loved. His character grows exponentially through a tremendous story arc, one which crosses time and realities. Sawyer finds a light through his journey and overcomes (for the most part) the pain of his past while still surviving the traumas of “now”. I always hoped his “happy ending” by the vending machine was a real one.
2. Rickie Vasquez (Wilson Cruz)
from the TV Series,”My So-Called Life” (1994-1995)
Groundbreaking and TV-life changing, Rickie Vasquez was the first gay teenage character on TV, at least to my knowledge, and memory. He gave a face and a story to so many young people who had little to no representation on-screen. He was the heart of the show, as well. The kindest and most genuine of the group. A loyal friend to both Rayanne and Angela, open-hearted and generous and kind to Brian, Jordan, Sharon, and even Patty and Graham (Angela’s parents). Rickie lives in my heart for always. He is the character I’d most like to give a hug to of any TV character I’ve ever known. He is one of the many reasons “My So-Called Life” was such an amazing work of television, one that still stands up today.
3. Crosby Braverman (Dax Shepard)
From the TV Series, “Parenthood” (2010-2015)
It was during a re-watch of “Parenthood” that I realized how much I loved the character of Crosby. The youngest in the family, he is almost always underestimated and seen as immature, selfish, and often irrelevant among the Braverman clan. But, in so many ways, Crosby is the heart of the Braverman family, and the show itself. He is the most realistic (tied for me with Amber), the most hopeful and loving, and the one who exhibits the most flaws. Crosby makes mistakes, but he always takes responsibility for them, even if there are high personal stakes to doing so. He has the biggest growth throughout the seasons and story, and not only follows his own dream (owning a music studio, The Luncheonette), but also helps his sibling, and niece, follow theirs. His one-on-one moments with his brother and sisters, nieces and nephew, and son are some of my forever favorites in the series. He is one of the characters I most often find myself wondering what happened to him next. What is Crosby doing now?
4. Nate Fisher (Peter Krause)
From the Cable Series, “Six Feet Under” (2001-2005)
The character I most relate to, from one of my all-time favorite TV Series (“Six Feet Under”) is Nate Fisher. The way he feels about his family, the good and the bad, the need to be away and to escape versus the need to be close and wanting to be back/being pulled back, the push and pulls in all of it, is so relatable and real to me. All of Nate’s inner turmoil, vulnerabilities, and missteps aways get to me in such a deep and personal way. The way he loved does, too. His character’s death was very hard on me, and even in the glorious finale (the best TV finale ever, in my opinion), when we see him – in his “after death” presence – I still feel broken by it.
5. Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles)
from the TV Series, “Supernatural” (2005-current)
Flawed, loyal, loving, broken, sarcastic (like Han Solo and Sawyer), with a pop-culture-infused wit, trust issues, and a survivor’s way of being, Dean has always been my Winchester of choice. Dean has so much pain inside of him, yet he keeps fighting, cherishing and defending family and those he loves (and humans, in general), and despite his pessimism and seemingly endless series of tragedies, he keeps carrying on. He can make me cry and he can make me laugh, sometimes in the span of a single episode of “Supernatural”. Sometimes within the same scene. Oh, and he carries around a shoebox of cassettes in “Baby” (his Impala). How can I not love that?
6. Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman)
from the Cable and Netflix Series, “The Killing” (2011-2014)
Oh my stars, Stephen “Holder” is so broken, and often so self-destructive, that I found myself often watching his character while holding my breath, and half-covering my eyes. That said, Holder is also so strong and has such a huge heart.
Side note: Yes, I have a pattern of fictional male character traits I love, don’t I?
Holder is beyond complicated, yet also he is so much exactly what he shows in that “what you see is what you get” way, with no pretense or fake surface disguises. He is loyal, emotional, raw, rash, real, smart, and sarcastic. He wears his heart so out in the open that it often hurts to watch, but it is also something I related to so much when watching “The Killing”. I always hoped for the best for Holder because of all he has gone through and goes through as a character. I’m going to hope that Linden and Holder are partners, solving cases and maybe each other, forever and always.
7. Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle McLachlan)
from the TV Series, “Twin Peaks” (1990-1991, 2017)
“Harry, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it; don’t wait for it; just let it happen. It could be a new shirt in a men’s store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot, black, coffee.”
That quote is one of the reasons I love Special Agent Dale Cooper. I love the way he sees the world: his vulnerability, his courage, his curiosity, his wit and wisdom, and all of his many complexities. Special Agent Cooper often makes me smile. His character, in many ways, is us – the viewer – a stranger to the town, to the complexities and supernatural aspects, to the darkness, and to the light. We enter the town, and the world, of “Twin Peaks” with him, enjoying the coffee and pie, his tapes to Diane, and feel his pains and joys, too. We enter the black lodge, too.
He takes us all on quite a journey. Thankfully there’s coffee along the way.
8. Spike (James Marsters)
from the TV Series, “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” (1996-2003)
Heroic and brave, with a dark side, and a huge heart. Spike is an anti-hero who starts his story arc as a villain but ends it all as the ultimate hero, making a huge and ultimate sacrifice. He loves big and is often misunderstood and underestimated, even by himself. Spike is dark and complicated, flawed, funny, and intuitive – especially when it comes to Buffy. Both with and without his soul, Spike loves big and possesses a fragility that is buried (not so deep) under all his sarcasm and fierceness. It is the most human part of him, to me, his fragile heart.
Bonus points to me that he’s a vampire, the one supernatural “character” genre that I’ve been obsessed with since I was about 4 or 5 years old. Spike is definitely one of my favorite vampires.
9. The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant)
from the BBC/BBCA Series, “Doctor Who” (1963-1989, 2005-current)
They say that your “first” doctor is always your favorite, but for me it is my second (and the series Tenth) doctor that stole my heart. Though I do love Nine (my first doctor), it is David Tennant’s Ten that captured everything I love about the “Doctor Who” series. The anti-hero, the saver of worlds, the knower of everything and maybe of nothing, the tragedy and romance of it all – and of him. Oh and the unrequited love between Ten and Rose – a story arc that still kills me. Ten’s humor and childlike nature that runs in juxtaposition to the weight of worlds, and all his wisdom and sadness, makes his character unforgettable, and em
They say that your first doctor is always your favorite, but for me, it was my second (and the series Tenth Doctor) that stole my heart. Though I do love Nine, it is David Tennant’s Ten that captured everything I’d come to love about the series. The anti-hero, the saver of words, the knower of everything and maybe nothing, the tragedy and romance of it all, the unrequited love between him and Rose (which still kills me), his humor and childlike nature that runs in correlation with the weight of his wisdom and sadness.
10. David Rose (Dan Levy)
from the Cable Series, “Schitt’s Creek” (2015-Current)
Last, but never least, David Rose is both hard and very easy to love. His character can seem shallow and overly-privileged (two things he’s been for most of his life, just like his sister and his parents have), but beneath his overly-fashionized exterior, David is vulnerable and insecure. He craves love and affection and acceptance, but most of the time has no clue how to ask for any of it, much less give and receive it. Once he loves though, whether it is familial love, friendship love, or romantic love, he is loyal and steadfast and true. David makes me laugh so much, and I’ve grown so very fond of him throughout the Series of “Schitt’s Creek”. I will miss him – a lot – when the show ends this year. David is my favorite.
As with Rickie Vasquez on the ’90s series, “My So-Called Life”, David is a ground-breaking character, as well. The first Pansexual character that I know of on a TV sitcom. It is just a part of David, not something that is over-dramatized (beyond his own “drama”-ness) or treated like a “cause” or “issue”. It’s just a part of who he is, and that is refreshing and another great example of representation – yay David Rose.
A few honorable mention/runner’s up…Shane Walsh (“The Walking Dead”), Jess Mariano and Christopher Hayden (“Gilmore Girls”), Lincoln Lee (“Fringe”), Ben Covington (“Felicity”), Pacey Witter (“Dawson’s Creek”), Mark Sloane (“Grey’s Anatomy”), Castiel (“Supernatural”), Seth Cohen (“The OC”), Eliot (“The Magicians”), Eric Northman (“True Blood”), Dylan McKay (“Beverly Hills 90210), Don Draper (“Mad Men”), Chandler Bing (“Friends”), and Rupert Giles (“Buffy The Vampire Slayer”).