My Top 20 Film/TV Characters of the Past Decade

25 Jun

I have read a couple of lists in the last month that have tried to document the best Film/TV Characters of the past decade and while I haven’t seen some of the shows and couldn’t comment on that, there were some that just kind of confused me and some that I thought were left out. I am sure I will leave some out, but if I can’t remember them then they might not be that memorable. Also, again, this is just my personal preference and would love to see comments of who some of everyone’s favorite characters are (which might also jog my memory and I could modify my post with). So, without further ado here are my Top 20 Film/TV Characters of the Past Decade (non-animated)

#20 Omar (The Wire- Michael K Little)

#19 Sue Sylvester (Glee- Jane Lynch)


#18 Walter Kowalski (Gran Torino- Clint Eastwood)

#17 Ron Burgundy (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy)

#16 Michael Scott (The Office- Steve Carell)

#15 Dr. Cox (Scrubs- John C. McGinley)

#14 Tony Soprano (The Sopranos- James Gandolfini)

#13 Daniel Plainview (There Will Be Blood- Daniel Day Lewis)

Brick Tamland (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy- Steve Carell)

#11 Maximus (Gladiator- Russell Crowe)

#10 Anton Chigurgh (No Country For Old Men- Javier Bardem)

#9 Dr. House (House- Hugh Laurie)

#8 Ari Gold (Entourage- Jeremy Piven)

#7 Stringer Bell (The Wire- Idris Elba)

#6 Col Hans Landa (Inglorious Basterds- Christoph Waltz)

#5 GOB Bluth (Arrested Development- Will Arnett)

#4 Dexter Morgan (Dexter- Michael C Hall)

#3 Don Draper (Mad Men- Jon Hamm)

The Joker (The Dark Knight- Heath Ledger)

#1 Bill the Butcher (Gangs of New York- Daniel Day Lewis)

I look forward to everyone’s comments and this list is really more a springboard than something that I think is firm.  If someone posts someone that could rate this list, I will update accordingly. Enjoy!


13 Responses to “My Top 20 Film/TV Characters of the Past Decade”

  1. Megan L June 25, 2010 at 9:01 am #

    Damn it! You still left Buster Bluth off of the list!

    • Chris Petersen June 25, 2010 at 9:20 am #

      We talked about this! I didn’t think I could justify kicking anyone off in favor of him. Great character, but I just couldn’t do it.

  2. savorysisters June 25, 2010 at 9:28 am #

    I hope you meant to say Top 20 MALE Film/TV characters 😉

    • Chris Petersen June 25, 2010 at 9:35 am #

      Sorry, Amy, while there have been some great female performances in the last decade, I couldn’t think of any that rated higher than these. Portia De Rossi was the closest because she did a great job in both Arrested Development and Better Off Ted making memorable characters. Kate Winslet and Meryl Streep had some great performances, but none of them made for unforgettable characters. I am not knocking their performances though.

      • Megan L June 25, 2010 at 10:33 am #

        You’re such a sexist snob.

  3. Brian Sostak June 25, 2010 at 11:08 am #

    Good List, thought I’d try and make mine; some similarities (no women either, 1 animated character)

    1. Victor Mackey (The Shield – Michael Chiklis )
    2. Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington – Training Day)
    3. Eric Cartman (Trey Parker – South Park)
    4. Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris – How I Met Your Mother)
    5. Dexter Morgan (Michael C Hall – Dexter)
    6. Tony Soprano (The Sopranos – James Gandolfini)
    7. The Joker (The Dark Knight – Heath Ledger)
    8. Shane Vandrell (The Shield – Walton Googins)
    9. Ari Gold (Entourage – Jeremy Piven)
    10. James Bond (Casino Royale/Quantum of Solace – Daniel Craig)
    11. Jon Kavanaugh (The Shield – Forest Whitaker)
    12. Hank Moody (Californication – David Duchovny
    13. Col Hans Landa (Inglorious Basterds – Christoph Waltz)
    14. Omar Little (The Wire – Michael K Little)
    15. Daniel Plainview (There Will Be Blood – Daniel Day Lewis)
    16. Anton Chigurgh (No Country for Old Men – Javier Bardem)
    17. Andy Stizter (The 40 Year Old Virgin – Steve Carrell)
    18. Avon Barksdale (The Wire – Wood Harris)
    19. Walter Kowalski (Gran Torino – Clint Eastwood)
    20. Bill the Butcher (Gangs of New York – Daniel Day Lewis)

    • Megan L June 25, 2010 at 11:29 am #

      I take it back. Chris is ammending his list to include Sue Sylvester. You, sir, are the sexist snob.

    • Chris Petersen June 25, 2010 at 11:31 am #

      I like your list, Pac. I need to see the Shield. I have seen similar lists that have Victor Mackey on there, but I didn’t add him because I haven’t seen it. I thought about Andy from 40 Year old Virgin, but I think his most memorable roles are Brick (the role that really got him noticed) and Michael Scott. Andy is a great character as well though.
      I like Stringer better than Avon, I thought he had more depth and the way that he died was just perfect for the show.
      I like Walter Kowalski and I think I might replace The Dude for him. Also, I am definitely adding Tony Soprano. I don’t know how I forgot him.
      James Bond, awesome, but I didn’t pick him becuase he is really a character that was established over the last 40 years or so. Daniel Craig reinvented him, but he was also a pre-existing character.

  4. Brian Sostak June 25, 2010 at 11:40 am #

    I think Andy had the most depth of any of Steve Carell’s characters, that’s why I chose this role. I like Avon better simply because he was more calculated and cautious, but if it were based on how the characters went out I’d go with Wee-Bey from season 1; that was badass claiming all those bodies. What makes Daniel Craig’s James Bond different (and IMO superior) is that the character development is so much stronger than the Bond of previous films. So when you say that character was established, in this case I disagree. Also if you haven’t read this yet, it’s a theory on the Bond films that also disagrees with your comment.

    • Chris Petersen June 25, 2010 at 11:45 am #

      Good point, Pac, I did read that article, but I am still not sure I am going to add him to the list. Still, your list is pretty solid.

  5. Christina Cuchens July 9, 2010 at 1:38 pm #

    Chris can we get a top women’s list!!??

    • Megan L July 9, 2010 at 1:45 pm #

      I second that, but Christina could you really think of 20 women’s characters that are that memorable? I could think of maybe 10, but as much as I hate to admit it, I think there are more male characters that leave impressions on us.

      • Chris Petersen July 9, 2010 at 1:47 pm #

        If I did a list like that, Christina, it would be a list of the top female performances in the last 10 years (which I plan on doing soon).

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