Friday, December 30, 2005

MY TOOBITS OF 2005: THE CHARACTERS

IT'S THE END OF THE YEAR [AS WE VIEW IT]

Now that we've reached the end of the calendar year, but not the end of the TV season, I'd like to salute those shows and characters who made the best contributions to the TV Universe.

They aren't necessarily recognized for expanding the universe through the means of spin-offs and crossovers, but because they enriched - or as they say in 'The Simpsons', embiggened - the possibilities and various aspects of Toobworld.

This year, I wanted to give this li'l tribute a catchy name, like the Oscars, the Grammys, the Emmys, etc.

I considered the Toobies, but I didn't want to get the twoppers in a snit. And the Toobins were pushed aside since I didn't want to give CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin a swelled head. You take one look at that guy and you can see his head is already of an odd shape.

So I settled on Toobits, and here's what I like about it - I'm giving out my two bits. See? I amaze even myself!

As you'll see, there was one show that dominated my interests in 2005....

I've divided this into two parts - one for for the shows themselves, and this one for the characters.......

BEST NEW MALE CHARACTER
CAPTAIN JACK HARKNESS, 'Doctor Who'
Joining the new Doctor and Rose for the last five episodes of 'Doctor Who', this omnisexual adventurer from the 52nd Century broke down barriers, sure. But more importantly, he broke the restraints that chained space-faring characters in to a picardesque propriety.

There was only one way to keep this um.... man's man from completely taking over the show, and that was to kill him..... Only to resurretct him and then reward him with his own series - 'Torchwood' which will premiere sometime next year.

BEST NEW FEMALE CHARACTER
ROSE TYLER, 'Doctor Who'
The tradition of the Doctor's Companions is a long one of characters who provide the normality of the audience's point of view, and who could be potential victims before the Doctor's last-minute rescue. At best they serve as the sounding boards for the Doctor a la Watson to Holmes. At worst, they are gnat-like annoyances who should be jettisoned from the TARDIS like so much refuse.

But there's never been one like Rose, who time and again not only saved the Doctor's life for a change, but ultimately saved the entire planet.

Not too shabby for a chip-loving shopgirl. And being named "Tyler", it's easy to theorize familial relationships with characters from other shows.

BEST NEW MALE SUPPORTING CHARACTER
BARNEY, 'How I Met Your Mother'
Toobworld is more than just the crossovers and spin-offs which link shows together. It is the characters, locations, props, and other trivial effluvia which can enrich the TV Universe. And that includes the litany of the catch-phrase. And no one brought more to the tele-lingo than Barney.

I knew he was the right call when I learned that my dear dear friend Ivy hated him. He was obviously doing something right.

BEST NEW SUPPORTING FEMALE CHARACTER
MAGGIE JACOBS, 'Extras'
She's cute, perky, sweet, and as daft as Gracie Allen could be. And as much of a will o' the wisp as she can be, Maggie is an anchor in the life of her friend Andy Millman. (Here's hoping that by the end of this series, they finally realize they belong with each other.)

And by working in the movie business as an extra, she has the opportunity to interact with plenty of famous people caught in the act of being themselves.

BEST NEW CAST ENSEMBLE
'How I Met Your Mother'
Hopefully by next season, this show will no longer be pegged as a copy of 'Friends'. I remember when 'Friends' used to be unfairly compared as 'Seinfeld' with two extra people. (So does that make 'HIMYM' a 'Friends' with one less?)

But this is a great, refreshing spin on established character types

BEST NEW GUEST APPEARANCE
JABE, 'Doctor Who'
In her one appearance, Jabe proved to be entertaining, enticing, and - Dare I say it? I dare! - "entriguing" and "entoxicating".

Why such words to describe her? She was the 'Doctor Who' version of Tolkien's tree-folk, the Ents, only several millennia into the Future.

Jabe and her people from the Forests of Cheem were descended from the trees of Earth. (Her particular ancestors came from the great rain forest of South America.)

These tree-folk held all the promise of evolution for the Ents if there ever would be a Toobworld version of Middle-Earth. Middle-Earth does exist in the Tooniverse; we can only hope it does in the pre-history of Earth Prime-Time as well. At the very least, there are the sentient trees of Narnia in the live-action universe of Toobworld.

Sorry for the pun, but the seeds for the concept of the tree-folk of Cheem were planted in "The Mark Of The Rani", a 'Doctor Who' adventure featuring the Sixth Doctor. Through her meld of science and magic, the Rani transformed humans into trees. And that new strain of DNA jump-started the evolutionary process that (again, sorry) bloomed with the Forest World of Cheem.

In much the same way as Ensign Ro Laren sparked interest in the culture of Bajor on 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' (to the point where that world served as the backdrop for 'Deep Space Nine'), it could be that Jabe's brief time with the Time Lord might lead to an eventual visit to the Forests of Cheem in some upcoming episode.

And I would love to see Cheemi tree-person travel back in Time to become a member of the 'Torchwood' team someday, preferably female-ish. (Hey! I'm only human!) This would make for an interesting alien element to show's look in the "modern" world of Cardiff.

BEST HISTORICAL CHARACTER
CHARLES DICKENS, 'Doctor Who'
I had to drop the word "NEW", as this marked Simon Callow's third appearance in a Toobworld production as the Great Man. As such, he will be the face of the author in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame Gallery.

His performance was full of playful nuance that knocked the stuffiness out of any preconceived notion of Dickens, and made me interested in reentering the world of his writings without the forced high school command to do so.

BEST NEW COMMERCIAL CHARACTER
"THE VISA-GOTHS" of Capitol One
There was just something endearing about these unwashed, violent barbarians as they tried to adjust to the modern world when their pillaging skills are no longer needed. Now that so many people were switching to Capitol One (supposedly), they were no longer of any use to the remaining credit card companies to enforce their high rates. And so they had to find other means of employment.

I'm including the next category here because of the Dramatis Personae.....
BEST COMMERCIAL CROSSOVER
'MasterCard' - Gorton's, Count Chocula cereal, StarKist Tuna, Planter's Peanuts, Chef Boyardee, Vlasic Pickles, Morton's Salt, Pillsbury, Green Giant, and Mr. Clean.
With another credit card commercial, this time for MasterCard, some of the all-time great blipvert VIPs gathered for dinner: the Gorton's Fisherman, Count Chocula, Charlie the Tuna, Mr. Peanut, Chef Boyardee, the Vlasic Stork, and the Morton's Salt Girl.

On the table itself, and crossing over into his fourth blipvert (at least!) for another company, was the exemplary Pillsbury Doughboy.

Outside the window was the Jolly Green Peeping To- er, Giant. He had to be down on his hands and knees in order to peer into the window.

And in the kitchen? Mr. Clean was doing the dishes.

BEST BLEND OF TOOBWORLD AND REAL WORLD CELEBRITY
'EXTRAS'
It wasn't just the fact that as "background artistes" Andy Millman and Maggie fit into the world of these real-world celebrities, but that that these people playing themselves were not afraid to show themselves in the worst possible situations. Funniest of all was Patrick Stewart in the season finale, and Kate Winslet in the first episode was a close runner-up. But it was comic Les Dennis whom I found impressive, for laying bare his soul (literally) in a riff on his own real-world troubles. That took bravery!

BEST NEW MALE VILLAIN
TEDDY 'T-BAG' BAGLEY, 'Prison Break'
Whereas Captain Jack Harkness displays the liberating sunshine of 52nd Century omnisexuality in 'Doctor Who', T-Bag mires it in the repugnant slime of his soul and in prison society. He's repellent and yet you just can't look away; and until such time as he's removed from the break-out team (for which there will be no regrets), he remains a fascinating character.

BEST NEW FEMALE VILLAIN
LADY CASSANDRA O'BRIEN, 'Doctor Who'
The visual concept of the last human on Earth being no more than a stretched-out piece of skin with lips and eyes was striking enough; Zoe Wanamaker's evil purr of her condescending attitude put Cassandra over the top. She was so good, even Death couldn't keep her away from the TV screens for long - Cassandra will be back in the second season of 'Doctor Who'.

But best of all, of course..... she's an O'Brien. Family looks out for family.

BCnU Next Year!
Tele-Toby

2 comments:

Jaia said...

I've got a category idea for you for next year.

You got "best revival of a series", so why not best revival of a character? or just best return of....?

For last year, I'd have gone with Rick Springfield on General Hospital. But that's me. I'm still mad Port Charles is gone.

I'm not sure if Noah Drake was the only character to return to a show, but it's an idea anyway.

Toby said...

Sounds good to me!

And if the rumors about the end of this TV season in May are true, I already know who would win the category hands down.

But we play wait and see.....