Tuesday, March 11, 2008

TV's best cast of characters?

I've been watching the hit ABC series Lost as of late. Or maybe I should say plowing through. In the past nine days I've gone through season one and almost all of season two, with only four or so episodes remaining. Lost has always been one of those shows on my "need to watch" list and even rushing through it the show is a lot of fun. One of the best parts of the show is the incredably large and continually growing cast of characters, all of whom seem more interconnected than it originally seemed. Talking with friends who are big Lost aficionados made me wonder what tv show has the all-time greatest cast of characters.

Keep in mind that by greatest cast of characters I'm talking about numbers as well as quality. Plenty of shows have several unique characters, but I'm talking something a little more ambitious- More the character tapestry of Russian novel than the sitcom family of yesteryear.

Lost would certainly be up there on my list, but I don't think it would be number one. Not to go all geeky on you, but my number one all-time show for it's cast of characters would have to be Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The credited cast of nine was wonderful from top to bottom but the show thrived as the secondary characters developed and were fully integrated into the rest of the show. There was Gul Dukat, one of the most well-drawn villains I can remember in any genre and Garak, the simple tailor and former spy who saw subterfuge as an art form. There were the various Ferengi, cast aside as hopeless jokes on Star Trek: The Next Generation, but redeemed through Quark's pacifism, and Rom and Nog's evolving values. There was General Martok, a Klingon counterpart to Worf who rose above the typical Klingon caricature. There was the conflicted Kai Winn, committed to her Gods, but jealous of their relationship with Captain Sisko. And on and on. Plenty of shows have great characters, but Deep Space Nine's weren't just great- they furthered plots and themes all while following alongside one another. Like I said, Lost is very good, but itt'l take some doing for it to beat Deep Space Nine.


Blogger McMc said...

I'm assuming you mean live action cast of characters, because how could THE SIMPSONS not have one of the best casts ever?

But I agree with LOST being up there. LOST is in it's fourth season now and they still are finding ways to add new characters while not getting too crowdedl. One big advantage is the flashbacks, which allows for each castaway to have a few other recurring characters (Jack's dad and ex-wife, Locke's dad, Hurley's crazy friends, Charlie's brother, etc). But what's truly amazing is how many characters have been added just on the island. The creators have not only done a great job of adding extra elements to this mystery island, but also just using others from the 48? original survivors. In season three especially, two other survivors get a little more airtime and despite being hated by most LOST fans early on, they're the focal point of one of the best LOST episodes ever. In season four, we're introduced to even more new characters and once again we have to go through a "who are they/what are their intentions" phase. Of course, none of these characters could be added without trimming the fat here and there...

5:31 PM  

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