Best Of 2009: Our Favorite TV Characters

By Blend Television Staff 2010-01-10 20:01:34 discussion comments
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From serial killers to gleefully ambitious aspiring singers, the range of characters in television in 2009 was extremely vast. The staff here at Blend Television put together a list of our favorite characters from 2009. Check it out and see if your favorites made the cut!

Walter Bishop - Fringe (Fox)

Fringe is one of those shows that leaves viewers scratching their heads in confusion. But they'll never be as confused as Walter Bishop, the "mad" scientist with the heart of a child and a penchant for snack foods. Whether he's getting giddy over a bizarrely dismembered body, or sucking on a licorice stick while poking at a mutated parasite, he's one of the most tragically beautiful characters on television.

Walter has so many secrets that even he doesn't know all of them, while those that do come to light raise even more questions, like the revelation that his son, Peter, is actually the Peter from an alternate dimension. The reason the character resonates so strongly is the beautiful performance by John Noble. He manages to portray the tragedy and frustration of his memory loss perfectly with the euphoric joy he experiences at the simplest things, and the genius that drives him.

Gemma Morrow - Sons of Anarchy (FX)

Nobody really knows Gemma Morrow, but if you're from any kind of a small town, you know someone like her. Her will is strong, her spine is straight, and her eye contact chills to the bones. Through the thinnest and thickest, she is her husband's tentpole, and a mother who would crawl through hell and back for her son. Not to mention her role as unquestioned matriarch for a large group of testosterone-oozing bikers. Particularly in this season, her identity as a woman is challenged and defiled, and it's never far from her mind as she faces the day to day troubles. Her character isn't afforded any niceties or rewarding situations, so Katey Sagal doesn't have much to utilize but her eyes and spoken inflection to display the tumultuous circumstances of being married to Clay Morrow. Though sometimes, she doesn't even need to speak.

Dexter Morgan - Dexter (Showtime)

It’s likely that when people watched Dexter settle down and start a family with his girlfriend Rita at the end of season three, they had their reservations as to whether or not his character would be able to maintain its awesomeness now that he’s a family man. After all, it can’t be easy balancing a job as a blood analyst, the responsibilities of being newly married and having a baby, and the hobby of serial-killing. Dexter not only managed to find a balance between work, play and murder in season four, but he also came to learn a few things about himself through his new, almost-mentor the Trinity Killer. In many respects, John Lithgow’s character was a reflection of who Dexter could be, if not for the code. Trinity was a family man, with a wife and kids and on the surface, a perfectly simple life. As Dexter comes to know him, he begins to see the differences between himself and Trinity, not only in the way he chooses his victims but also in the way he treats his family. And once again, a new layer is added to Dexter’s persona, making it even harder to dislike him (despite the fact that he kills people).

Juliet Burke - Lost (ABC)

When she first showed up on Lost, Juliet Burke was a mysterious, suspiciously placid Other, with unclear motivations but some kind of deep sadness lurking behind her. She was fascinating when we never knew which side she was on, but in season 5 of Lost, when she helped everyone else survive the time-shifting island and fell into happy domesticity with Sawyer, she truly came into her own. Her death might not have been expected, and disappointed those of us who felt we'd just gotten to know her, but it was a noble move for a woman who had finally figured out what she was fighting for. For someone who started as just another point in a love quadrangle, it's surprising how much we'll miss her.

Seeley Booth - Bones (Fox)

FBI Agent Seeley Booth is the epitome of “All American.” He’s a fan of arena rock, he’s athletic, he has an easy charm and confidence that is always apparent, and while he doesn’t fit in with the “squints” at the lab he is still able to integrate himself within their academic community. Just as capable of throwing a knife with deadly accuracy as he is unable to see his love for Dr. Brennan, Seeley Booth finally came into his own at the end of last season. When Booth was diagnosed with a brain tumor it became immediately apparent how much “Bones” cares for him as she worried so much about the guy, even if it was in her own way. During a post-op coma Booth fantasizes about a world in which he and Brennan are married with a baby on the way. Booth as a character would remain the clichéd “All American” on a lesser show, but season four of Bones made sure that fans knew this alpha male was actually quite at home working with the “squints.” And they respect and care for him in return.

Rachel Berry - Glee (Fox)

Rachel Berry’s introduction in Glee truly sums up the brilliance of her character. She signs up for Glee club, sticking a gold-star sticker next to her name, just to let everyone know she’s a star and a moment later, Puck throws a cup-full of icy-red slushee at her face. She’s gorgeous, talented and ambitious… and she knows it. What makes Rachel such a joy to watch isn’t just her amazing voice or how amusing it is to see her boast confidently about her own abilities. It’s seeing the soft-chewy-center of her character, which comes out most when she’s pining over Finn. While all of the Glee kids are growing as characters, Rachel’s biggest stride has been her recognition that friendship is just as important as achieving ones goals and that sometimes it’s ok to step out of the spotlight and give someone else a shot.

Larry David - Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)

In case Larry David is reading this, Larry David is the best male character on television ever, but particularly in 2009. Are you kidding me? He created a moment so meta (Larry David as Larry David as Larry David/George Costanza), that one must rub their own head bald in awe. To get Cheryl back, he conceived a Seinfeld reunion, and come hell or low tipping (lots of low tipping), he made it happen, at least for HBO viewers. Regardless of the show's details, a grander "rekindle the romance" plot has never been attempted, and Cheryl should be so lucky such lengths were taken. He wasn't as good to mentally retarded people, doctors, chubby girls, or Christian Slater, but those people all had it coming to them. He wore a pair of panties; not because it necessarily added anything to the episode in which it occurred, but because the awful image will still be burned into our minds after he's dead. That's the sign of a true comedian.

Kara Thrace - Battlestar Galactica (Scifi)

Up until the final season of Battlestar Galactica Kara “Starbuck” Thrace had been on a rollercoaster ride. She became a little lame for awhile, she died but came back inexplicably, and she just kicked ass in all the right ways. But when the final moments of BSG approached the character finally fulfilled her destiny, and in doing so left viewers simultaneously confounded and awed by the power of the woman who led the vestiges of humanity to Earth. A blind jump to Earth using coordinates subconsciously obtained from “All Along the Watchtower” was only the first remarkable moment for Kara’s finale. Just when we thought we understood her role in the series she said her goodbyes to Apollo and vanished into thin air. Was the Kara that came back after dying the “real” Starbuck? It doesn’t really matter because the loud mouthed pilot finally fulfilled her purpose in life and death.

Cal Lightman - Lie to Me (Fox)

Lie To Me is about as predictable a show as you can find on television these days. Each episode plays out almost exactly like every other one. And what you can always count on is Dr. Cal Lightman. A psychologist, genius, and master of understanding microexpressions Lightman uses any tactics he deems necessary to find out the truth. It’s not just knowing what to look for in a face, but how to get people to react how he wants that makes the man so damn good at his job. Add to this the potential that Lightman was once British Intelligence and you have a potent mix of genius, keen awareness, and the ability to psychologically outplay anyone who dares to come up against him. Cal Lightman takes Lie To Me from a mediocre and predictable series into something far more complex. Now we just have to wait and see what kind of person could possibly beat him at the game he essentially created. It’ll likely be a long wait.

Sue Sylvester - Glee (Fox)

It's not easy to play a villain that's pure evil and yet so deliciously fun to watch. Jane Lynch dives into her role as Sue Sylvester on Glee with such ... well, glee that her performance has become one of the breakout debuts of the fall season. Even though the show has only had half a season thus far, the character of Sue has been given enough layers to seem almost understandable, yet filled with such conviction that she believes fully in the righteousness of the most horrible acts.

She has some of the most outrageous ideas and beliefs about everything, as seen on her local news segment, "Sue's Corner," but showed a vulnerable side both when in love and when relating to her special needs sister. But it's when she's in Will's face, pushing his buttons, insulting him and everything he does, that she makes bad so very good.


CLICK HERE to check out Cinema Blend's other Best of 2009 Lists.
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