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Monday, 29 November 2010

Top Blokes

I thought I'd do some lists. Top 5 type things, you know, because everyone likes lists right? So I put on the old thinking cap, and came up with some of my favourite shows, favourite actors/actresses, favourite characters, favourite episodes, etc. etc.

It made me stop and think. If anyone asks me what my favourite genre is, I tell them that it's science-fiction/fantasy. Always has been, always will be. Hence the Quest and this here blog. Yet the majority of my individual faves that I came up with are from other genres. How does that work? So while cumulatively, sci-fi remains my first love, and the primary focus of the Quest and these ramblings, I will be posting a few bits and pieces about other genres when doing my lists. Which I'm thinking will be roughly once a month. Or whenever I'm at a loss for a show to waffle about come Tuesday night.

First things first. Favourite (recent/active) Actor. Which means I'll probably struggle to crowbar in any pictures of luvverly ladies this week. Or will I?

5. JD Williams.

Whether it be naive and perennially in over his head Kenny 'Bricks' (bless) Wangler, the tragic Bodie or the (I'm guessing, cos, I aint seen the whole thing yet) doomed Mr Cat, Williams has the enviable ability of being able to make flawed, even downright unpleasant, characters likable. So likable in fact that when Kenny and then Bodie suffered the inevitable fate of the drug dealing murderer, you felt genuine grief at their passing. Good writing played it's part, no doubt, but it would have been much more difficult with a lesser talent in the roles, to get the viewers so passionately on-side with these flawed individuals.

4. Bruce Campbell

Now, he of the chin may be known, primarily, for his B movie roles but he's far from quiet on the small screen either. Pick pretty much any genre series and he'll have made a guest appearance at some time or another and I can think of but one (Charmed) that managed to drag him down rather than him elevating the material. Plus of course, his recurring and starring roles in any number of classic (if not always successful) shows. He basically plays the same role over and over again; the cocky but charming hero, never short of a quip or a sarcastic put down, but also actually capable of backing up his words with deeds.

Witness Autolycus, king of thieves, from the Hercules/Xena franchise,

or Brisco County Jr. from the rather wonderful show of the same name.

Most recently of course, he has managed to steal the show from the supposed lead in his current gig; Burn Notice. Bruce Campbell playing Bruce Campbell, long may it continue.

3. Mark Valley.

Currently to be seen as the lead in Human Target, but a veteran of many a cracking show like Fringe and Boston Legal, Valley actually came to my attention first in a little show called Keen Eddie. Destined for early cancellation Eddie was, for a brief shining moment, my favourite show in the whole wide world. It was funny, it was charming, it had a (then relatively unknown) Sienna Miller being very foxy and it had one of my favourite 'buddy' partnerships since Starsky & Hutch. The idea was that a New York cop (Valley) was 'loaned' to Scotland Yard and partnered up with a British copper (Julian Rhind-Tutt) to investigate crimes in London. It remains, to this day, the closest an American show has ever come to an accurate depiction of England. Not perfect, mind you, but very close.

Valley was a revelation, because to look at him, he's a bland meathead (sorry), but he has a charisma about him that major movie stars would kill for. Quite why he isn't a household name by now is a mystery to me.

Not an actor...

...but in a show with vampires, just like this guy.

2. Chris Bauer.

A God among actors. Simple as that. Put upon husband in Third Watch, tragic victim of circumstance and poor judgement in The Wire and bumbling but lovable cop in True Blood, Bauer invariably steals every scene he's in. In fact, it was only the quality of his performance in Third Watch that allowed me to forgive the way that family pretty much hijacked the show for a long time.

I'm a season behind on True Blood, having only just seen the finale of S2 (which saw Bauer play a much more prominent role than he did in S1) and I'm always keen to avoid spoilers but I've been getting the impression that Andy could be getting an even higher profile role to play in S3. This can only be good for the show, in my opinion. In particular, the Andy/Jason partnership is pure gold and needs to be explored.

1. Bradley Whitford.

The West Wing and Studio 60. Two of the greatest TV shows ever made and this guy was a huge piece of the puzzle in both of them.

It's hard to say just what makes him so great. He's not especially good looking, insofar as I can tell and he doesn't do anything anyone else doesn't do. It's just that, well, he does it with such seeming effortlessness. It's like he oozes sincerity and class from every pore and you just can't help but like the guy.

Oh, I don't know, I just watch the shows, no-ones paying me to analyse them. It's not like I went to film school or anything. All I know is, when he is on screen, you aren't watching anyone else, and with ensemble casts of the the quality West Wing and Studio 60 had, to command the screen like that you'd have to be pretty bloody special. I could watch him all day. And I often have.

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