70: Wonderfalls: Jaye Tyler (Caroline Dhavernas)
Wonderfalls was cancelled very early in America, which was a big shame because in Jaye Tyler, it had a genuinely brilliant and unpredictable central character – and one who was plagued by talking toy animals. Jaye was a grumpy angry young woman who worked at a retail outlet by Niagrara falls (sample grumpiness:
Young Girl: “You’re not supposed to steal from the wishing fountain”
Jaye: “You’re not supposed to talk to strangers. Piss off.”)
Then toy animals start talking to her, telling her what to do in life. Naturally she’s much too grumpy to follow their instructions, and that’s where the fun of the show was. As life went on, she became much more sympathetic but didn’t ever stop being grumpy. And for that, we’re forever grateful.
69: Life on Mars: Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister)
We all know that life nowadays if too PC, too regulated. The police force have been crippled by paperwork – if they ever make an arrest, they have to do it by the book, and the slightest slip could see them sued. And most of us hate the whole thing. That’s why when Life on Mars came out that it was so popular, because the police didn’t care about regulations as long as they made the streets of Manchester safer. And Gene Hunt, kingpin of the 1970’s force, was legendary in his rough treatment. It was brilliant fun to watch Glenister beat up nasty people and chase them with his car, all the while carrying a huge arm cannon and wearing a trenchcoat. It’s a shame that the police today aren’t allowed to be like him, because the way he did things got results, and that can’t be denied.
68: Xena: Warrior Princess: Xena (Lucy Lawless)
The feistiest of all superheroes, Xena started out life as a baddie, surprisingly, until Hercules made her good and sent her on her way, on his show. She was such a strong character though that they spun her off into her own series, which quickly became more famous than the one that spawned her. Xena had countless trademarks, from her revealing-yet-also-not outfit, to her dodgy yipping screams whenever she did a backflip, to the round disk thing she used to stun enemies. She kicked the ass of everyone who appeared on the show at least once, and died several times before she was eventually crucified. Oh, and she was a lesbian too. Did anyone see that coming?
67: Doctor Who: The 10th Doctor (David Tennant)
Tom Baker: apologies. Only David Tennant’s take on Dr Who is in this list, in what is possibly the most controversial absence. But Tennant has taken over Dr Who and made it his own. After being infected with radiation, Christopher Ecclestone imploded and the 10th Doctor was regenerated. Quirky and thrilled by everything, his infectious charm has won the series many fans, and the chemistry he’s shared with just about every person, location and inanimate object has made his character a joy to behold. When he’s in his element, playing around with junk, he’s funny. When he’s being confronted by yet MORE Daleks, he’s serious and dramatic, and you root for him, which is going to make it all the more upsetting when he finally dies.
66: Dexter: Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall)
Perhaps the trickiest character on the list to define, Dexter is a forensic detective who harbours a dark secret; he’s a serial killer. He only kills people who deserve it – drug dealers, rapists, etc – but he doesn’t do it for the sense of satisfaction of helping others. No, Dexter is much darker than that. He truly does have no humanity, and Michael C Hall plays him with a quiet malevolence that unsettles almost as much as it does intrigue. Smart, witty, but completely unable to feel anything, his callous attitude to humanity sets him apart and makes him completely fascinating to watch.