Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Top Eleven Best Fictional Characters

Hey there, this is Eric. If I had a catchy phrase, I would say it. Now I’m sure everyone’s got their favourite fictional characters. I mean who doesn’t? Wonderfully created and portrayed, these guys and girls provide a lovely break from reality or allow us to take another look at our world and our life or just simply entertain us. And I’m here to show you my top eleven favourite ones. Why top eleven? Because just like the Nostalgia Critic, I like to go one step further. This is my top eleven fictional characters. Mind, this was meant to be a video but I got lazy.

Number eleven. Cal Lightman from "Lie to Me". Something has to be said about this guy. He's an absolute bastard. An absolute complete utter bastard. He takes great pleasure manipulating and tricking people all around him, making sure they recognise his superior intellect. Which he has. Plenty of. He's basically a human lie detector, looking for microexpressions in your face and body as well as wording to tell if someone's lying or telling the truth. And while he acts like an arse with everyone around him, he has some soft spots. With his co-worker, Foster, or his daughter, Emily, but also with the colleagues that he was just abusing in the previous scene. This wild swings between his behaviour makes us wondering just what exactly he's going to do. The actor, Tim Roth, while short in stature, easily compensates this shortcoming with his constant invasion of personal space and intimidating nature. One particularly awesome (or chilling) episode involved a serial rapist with a wit to match Lightman's and to see the mental chess game playing out between them is just amazing. Lightman, the way to start off the list

Number ten. Topher Brink from Dollhouse. Topher was a very interesting character. Extremely arrogant and intelligent and amoral (this will be a pattern), he is the one who imprints the Dolls with their personalities based on whatever purpose they need to serve. As a result, he has somewhat of a God complex from his work. He generally treats everyone with a significant lack of respect, with the exception of the domineering Adelle DeWitt. But as the episodes went on, we delve deeper into Topher's character, discovering the loneliness and childish nature inside him. It's shown that he does have a conscience buried deep inside him and isn't as self-absorbed as we might think. Particularly when he tries to save Priya from a life long service with the man who deliberately drugged her that led her to the Dollhouse to begin with. This ended with him covering up the man's murder and a blow to his mental health. His mental health only deteriorates as his intelligence is used in a malevolent attempt to control the world. He finally gets a sense of peace when he dies undoing what the Rossum Corporation has done. Not only is the character interesting but the interaction with the other people. Although his attempts at flirting with Bennett Halverson, who is played by the gorgeous Summer Glau, is amusing and sweet, the dynamics between him and Adelle was what took me away, going from the employee-employer interaction to a child-mother relationship that is quite heart warming. This list wouldn't just be complete without Topher, I think.

Number nine. The Ninth Doctor from Doctor Who. Okay, okay, I know there were eight more before him and one more after him and yes, I do love David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor. But it was the Ninth who revived the series after dying out in the 80s and brought back the old British sci-fi icon. Clever, sarcastic, and always with something brilliant in mind, the Ninth Doctor is a terribly interesting character. Armed with only a sonic screwdriver and getting around with his ever-so reliable TARDIS, the Doctor finds himself battling against Daleks, rampaging mannequins, and this….

Yeah I’m not quite sure what that is either. While he has a fondness for humans, he never hesitates to insult them for their stupidity. And despite the fact that he’s an alien and the last of a species that he himself had wiped out in a war, he remains quite human in his emotions, showing anger, regret, and even happiness. One of my favourite moments with him is when he saves London and the world from one of the scariest monsters ever. And all without anyone having to die. As always, the interaction with people is what I really like and the Ninth Doctor had Rose and Captain Jack Harkness. While the friendship (and then some) with Rose was extremely well done, I have to go with the interaction with Jack and it's not because I think John Barrowman is a sexy man. They really couldn't push the sexual tension between the two of them any further. And I know I wasn't the only one loving the kiss between them. I’m sure after watching him running about, we all wanted the Doctor to show up in his magical blue box to take us in through time and space.

Number eight. Crowley from Good Omens. If Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy mated with the Book of Revelations, this would be their child. Witty and satiric, it never fails to entertain you with random mind trips and Crowley is just all too happy to provide that service. A demon of Hell, he allegedly only fell because he hung out with the wrong crowds and didn’t fall as much as saunter vaguely downwards. Right whatever. He has a healthy dose of cynicism inside him yet still finds humans to be fascinating. If only because they can think of wicked ways of doom far better than demons can. What does that say about humanity? He even found the warranty for a computer so fascinating that he sent it to Hell’s direction with the directions to learn from it. And while Crowley isn’t entirely evil, in fact he describes himself much like a tax collector, there’s no point saying he doesn’t enjoy his mischievous activities, which range from designing the M25 to a demonic sign to giving people with paintball guns actual guns to suggesting the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil to Eve. But still, he does defy his masters’ orders to proceed with the Apocalypse when he realises that the world and the humans in it will be lost in the crossfire. The homoerotic interaction with the angel, Aziraphale, left many fangirls swooning into their computers and fanfics but left me chuckling every other line. It’s terribly sad there isn’t a film adaptation of this because I'm positive it would do well and a film portrayal of Crowley would be interesting to say the least. Nevertheless Crowley, with his twisted personality and humour, rightfully deserves a spot in the top eleven.

Number seven. Hannibal Lecter from the Silence of the Lambs. Man, is this guy creepy or what? Watching this guy, I had no idea if I should be intrigued or repulsed...or both! I still wonder about that. Every second of Sir Anthony Hopkins’ 16 minutes on screen had you on edge, goosebumps raised, and teeth clattering and whatever you do when you’re meeting someone as slimy and magnificent as Hannibal Lecter. Now I didn’t see Hannibal the Movie and while I did see Red Dragon, I thought the Silence of the Lambs was the better of the two. It was edgier and darker, and we all love that, right? To say which scene with Hannibal is my favourite is really hard. Is it when we first see him with Agent Starling or when he’s making his escape or at the very end. I don’t know, personally, I loved all sixteen minutes of him on screen. You also have to love the build up to him. Between the FBI director and the head doctor, Hannibal is developed rather nicely as a mystery up until we finally see him. And instead of being relieved, we get pulled closer to him. I think police interrogators are forbidden from answering personal questions from suspects and after watching Hannibal, I can see why. One hour with him and you'll probably think eating babies dipped in curry sauce would be a good thing. The wonderful chemistry with Jodie Foster, the smooth silky voice, and the overall creepiness combined with classiness puts him at number seven in my list. Hannibal, America’s favourite cannibal.

Number six. Jean-Baptiste Grenouille from Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. Okay I promise this is the last serial killer to show up. While Hannibal kills people to eat them, Grenouille kills people to...capture their scent? Yeah, just as disturbing as it sounds. Grenouille has a unique supernatural sense of smell while possessing no scent of his own, which leads to a major identity crisis. He learns the arts of perfumery to create the perfect scent for his own. Which he does by murdering twenty five beautiful prepubescent girls, stripping them naked, covering them up in fat, and then using the fat to create a perfume. And we thought Hannibal's gourmet human pies were weird. What’s funny is that he’s supposed to be the protagonist in the story and everyone else in the story is obsessed with making money or exploiting people but we still thought he was creepy. Here is where I need to step out of my usual "grading" system that is I look at interactions with the character. Grenouille interacted with absolutely no one in the same sense Topher or Crowley did. But why is he higher than those two and others? Grenouille is special in that while Hannibal had some sense what they were doing was evil, he didn’t. Nor does he particularly relish his kills like them. It’s said repeatedly that Grenouille was truly amoral and emotionless, having his entire reality built on scents and of course, abstract ideals like morality and joy have no scents. I guess that’s what makes him beat the other killer. Sorry, Lecter, it’s not like I don’t love you too. But Grenouille just takes psychopaths to a whole new level.

Number five. Lelouch vi Britannia from Code Geass. Definitely one of the most compelling characters I know, he's (once again) brilliant, arrogant, and presumably amoral. Although he has the ability to control people, he can manipulate people's minds even without his Geass. After receiving said ability, he decides to use it to help him to, you guess it, take over the world (Of course!). Okay, that's not fair. He only does that near the end. AT first, he wants to kill his Hitler-like father, the Emperor of Britannia and create a new world, so his dear lovely little sister can have a place to live in peacefully. Aww, isn't that sweet? Of course it means numerous acts of murder, terrorism, intimidation, deception, social engineering, assassination, and manipulation. Which doesn't leave much time for romance, even though the writers can't help shoving sexual tension after sexual tension between him and practically everyone. Seriously, you even have sexual tension between his sister (who happens to be blind and handicapped) and his half-siblings. Then again, this is the Britannian Royal Family.. Sexual tension aside, his interactions with the other characters vary dramatically. He dotes on his little sister, acts amicably with his friends in school, if somewhat aloof, and alternates between the stern commander and the compassionate leader with his followers.

Number four. Castiel from Supernatural. Aside from having one of the coolest entrances ever, Castiel is something of a mysterious character like Hannibal. Only Castiel didn’t kill and eat anyone. He just puts them into a deep sleep or burns their eyes out. He starts out as an assertive and apathetic angel with a mission and commands but as the show goes on, he becomes more curious about the humans around and even takes a particular interest in Dean. How much of an interest? Well... He stalks him in his dreams, constantly violates his personal space, and at one point, pins him against the wall. Yeah no sexual tension there, right? The humanisation of Castiel starts off slow but it gradually progresses as he wonders whether the strong faith he has is placed in good hands or not. One episode where Castiel truly shines is when Castiel the angel is banished from his “vessel”, leaving Jimmy the human. For a newcomer and a relative unknown, Misha Collins certainly does a splendid job acting. Going from Castiel to Jimmy faster than you can say “Amen”, only a skilled actor can pull something like this off. And it’s not just me who likes him. Apparently the fan base for this show loved him so much that he’s been promoted as a main character along with the two brothers. Damn! Castiel, the one guardian angel you’ll be praying to have on your side.

Number three. Captain Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly. Like Good Omens, this guy is the offspring of two different stories, this time the son of Captain Jack Harkness and Han Solo. Just look at this guy and tell me you can’t see Jack or Han in him. Hell, probably both! He’s got the roguish grin, the dashing looks, a smuggling ship, and even his own Chewie! Okay, just Adam Baldwin but I’m pretty sure he can rip the arms out of your sockets. He starts out as a bitter disillusioned soldier fighting in the losing side of a war and decides to make his own criminal living rather than follow the Alliance’s way of life. Bold and a bit reckless, Mal is good to be with but at the same time someone you don’t want to mess with. Because if you do, this is what happens...Unless of course, when he’s fighting fair in which case, well he doesn’t do so well. Still he does make poking injured people with a sword hilarious. Playing the hardened criminal, he still retains a sense of honour like when he takes in the known fugitives, Simon and River Tam. What really makes him and this show really interesting is his interactions with the crew. The first mate, the pilot, the doctor, the engineer, and the...professional prostitute? Only someone like Joss Whedon can think of this kind of stuff and only someone like Nathan Fillion can pull off the complexities and mysteries of this character in the show’s tragic short run. Cool and confident, Mal Reynolds is just one more person you want to whisk you away to space.

Number two. Claire Fisher from Six Feet Under. She’s unique here in that she isn’t a supernatural being like Crowley or Cas, a serial killer like Hannibal or Grenouille, or a space traveller with his own fancy spaceship like Mal or the Doctor, or even have a special power. Instead she’s just plain ordinary Claire Fisher, the only daughter and the youngest child in a family of morticians. To be honest, if I could, I would have put the entire family here because never before have I see such a dysfunctional family portrayed so beautifully and wonderfully as the Fishers. But since I already made an exception for Tyler Durden, I didn’t have much a choice here. In the beginning, Claire strikes you as someone you really don’t want to be with. Driving in an old hearse, having some really sketchy boyfriends, and being rather anti-social, she comes off as a bit of a jerk. Then again, if your dad was a crazy eccentric funeral director and your mum was a crazy eccentric control freak and your house was always filled with sad and depressed people, I guess being a jerk is what happens. Eventually as the show goes on, Claire matures from the self-centred bitch to the loving member of the Fisher family, something done really well by Lauren Ambrose. Not only that, but she also has to play a lot of different people, just like there are a lot of different versions of us. There’s Claire the angsty teenager, Claire the social reject, Claire the art student, Claire the cubicle worker, and even Claire the lesbian. A lot of merit for this character is once again given to her interactions with her brothers and mother. She deals with them like a normal daughter would, playing both the gentle and nice sister to the annoying little brat. Her ties with her mother are particularly enjoyable to watch, seeing them fight all the time yet have these precious moments of bonding. And of course, the finale of the show where Claire leaves her family behind to go to New York is one of the best and saddest finales ever to hit the telly. Just watch it and tell me you’re not going to cry. Striving to make a mark in life, Claire will always leave a mark in our lives.

And our number one. Monkey D. Luffy from One Piece. I bet you’re all wondering why out of all the fictional characters in the world, would I put this guy here...and I guess you’re right. He’s not all that artistic, rather unintelligent, has the mentality of a ten year old, and his only special power is...he can stretch. Yeahhh, just not as cool as making perfumes from people or travelling through time and space. But with the help of an insane but brilliant artist, Luffy does some pretty badass things with his seemingly pathetic ability. From stretching his fist back to punch people to inflating himself to deflect bullets to pumping blood into his limbs to increase his power...yeah it’s an anime. Strange things happen like that. Really strange things. Get used to it. I guess the main reason why he’s on this list is the same reason why Mal is on the list, his interactions with his crew. And I know I have this loving for team interactions but it’s really nice. I don’t know, maybe I’m such a social deviant that social interactions just fascinate me. Anyway, if you were to be under someone, you better hope it’s Luffy because this guy will look out for you until the very end. All with a smile on his face. He went as far as to declare war on the World Government just to get back one of his nakama. That’s the real world equivalent of declaring war against both the United States AND China...oh right that’s already been done. And don’t think this little go-happy kid is someone you can take lightly. Hurt his crew or his hat, and it’s knives out. Or in this guy’s case, fists. What really makes me like this guy was how much he developed from the beginning, as a little simpleton who couldn’t do anything except, well, kick ass and wanted to find the One Piece. Of course, given the lifespan of the series, that’s to be expected. But I doubt anyone honestly expected him to develop a close bond with his nakama to the point the story is less about the legendary One Piece and more about the determination and spirit of the Straw Hat Pirates. Then again...he still is a bit of an idiot. But that’s why we love him! Plus his voice actor, sorry, actress, Mayumi Tanaka, is something made of win. She does an amazing job with Luffy, voicing all the stupid rubbish that he spews out with a childish tone. Yet, whenever Luffy says something inspiring or serious, she changes to where the voice speaks with such confidence, it’s almost like that of a president. Maybe better. And of course, the ever so frequent yells and battle cries he makes. And given her age, how she can manage that without her voice going is something of a miracle. Luffy, the little dork that you’ll be cheering on....for a really long time.

All right, that's it! If you want to see who just barely didn't make it, here's the list below:

Dexter Morgan - Dexter

Tyler Durden/The Narrator - Fight Club

Owen Harper - Torchwood

The Tenth Doctor - Doctor Who

Gregory House - House

Colonel Hans Landa - Inglourious Basterds

Norman Stansfield - The Professional