Ep 240: The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

kbell.jpgYes, the rumours are true. Boxcutters has been around for five years. You’d think we’d have quit by now but no, we are very bad at learning lessons.

To celebrate our podcast longevity we give you a gift. In fact we give you the greatest gift. We reveal to you, in this very episode, the Greatest TV Characters of All Time. We go through the official and final, no correspondence will be entered into, top 10 with its pros and cons and put in our two cents’ worth.

To everybody who came to the Boxcutters vs Dr Who writers panel at AussieCon, you all get a special mention.

There’s a bunch of news, we read out some letters and mix it up with some pork.

Episode 240: my brain hurts a lot.

Send us an email about all the things we asked you to this week.

This episode is supported by IceTV, giving Boxcutters listeners three special offers, including 30% off a 12 month subscription. Find out more at icetv.com.au/boxcutters

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The Top 10

10. David Brent, The Office
9. Buffy Summers, Buffy The Vampire Slayer
8. Tony Soprano, The Sopranos
7. Veronica Mars, Veronica Mars
6. Homer Simpson, The Simpsons
5. Basil Fawlty, Fawlty Towers
4. Al Swearengen, Deadwood
3. Hawkeye Pierce, M*A*S*H
2. Omar Little, The Wire
1. The Doctor, Doctor Who

Here’s some extra news we didn’t get to cover, because you’ve been so good:

It’s Joan Cusack!

I’m sure people were excited to see Alison Janney play the role of the mother in the US remake of Shameless. No doubt those same people would also have been upset to hear that Janney was, instead, taking a role in the upcoming comedy series, Mr Sunshine.

Well, fret no more, good people, because the one and only Joan Freakin’ Cusack is taking the role instead.

As much as I love Janney, I think Cusack will manage to perform the role with a little less scenery chewing and a little more sad reality. Now I’m looking forward to it.

source: Variety

Syfy goes to Neverland

The Syfy channel in the US does some great work in getting people to watch genre television. However, they do some bad work in original drama.

There’s a new 4-hour miniseries they’ve just announced called Neverland which is going to be a prequel to Peter Pan. They’ve previously done a prequel of Alice in Wonderland and a reimagining of Wizard of Oz.

It makes me want to sigh.

source: Variety


  1. John Richards says:

    Sorry I missed coming in, I collapsed after being at Aussiecon for 5 days – again, thanks to everyone who came to watch us talk to Paul Cornell and Rob Shearman, and to Paul and Rob for being top guests!

  2. David Boxcutter says:

    Buffy? Really?

    Has Brett been sharing his crack pipe around? She’s just awful. As Josh says – great concept, very poorly executed. If you want to vote for a strong independent female character, Emma Peel kicks so much more butt. Hell, Dora the Explorer beats Buffy in the female character stakes.

    If you have to vote for a Buffy character, surely it would be Willow.

  3. Just a quick note to say I really enjoyed your live “Born and Bred” special at AussieCon 4.

    I have now discovered Boxcutters and my have to put iTunes on danger money πŸ™‚

  4. Joe boxcutter says:

    Josh, I’m getting concerned. We had this whole sync thing going where I agreed with all the shows you guys liked and recommended until the last few weeks. Actually finding something in that awful awful show Louie to laugh at was one thing now having a go at the syfy originals! Dude I just don’t know where this whole podcaster / happy listener thing we have is going….

  5. Buffy’s a great character but she’s definitely not one of the more likeable ones on the show, and definitely not the one I’d predict to be on the list considering the tone of the other characters. I’d expect more boxcutter listeners to follow Josh and vote for geeky Willow to be there ahead of Buffy, who’s has a lot more of that stereotypical femme ‘valley girl’ characterisation, especially in the earlier eps.

    That’s actually kind of what I love about her and I’d take issue with the idea that her character type is similar to Veronica Mars (aside from the blonde petite californian thing) because I think the two shows construct high school identity in different directions. Buffy actively longs to be ‘normal’ and popular and resents her ‘outsider’ status. I think this goes a long way in annoying the audience, because we watch for – and revel in – this underworld from which she wants to escape and it’s hard sometimes to stop yourself from thinking, ‘oh, stop whining about this ‘terrible’ fate of being a Slayer, Buffy’. Whereas Veronica draws strength from her ostracisation (to the point of occasionally being morally righteous?) and this enforces a much more positive, inclusive feeling in its audience. If anyone’s ever felt some alienation during high school, Veronica Mars’s main character’s stance essentially validates that experience in a way that Buffy’s doesn’t, which may be why VM feels like a better role model.

    Anyway, if this poll is indicative of any trends with us old, senile BTVS watchers, I’m glad to see that Buffy’s character is going through some form of rehabilitation, because although the things she wants are really at odds with my own values, she still manages to get a lot of the best fuckyeah! moments in the show and it’s good to see her recognised for it.

  6. *stands up and applauds*

    Congratulations, Doctor. #1 of all time! Who woulda thunk it, just ten years ago…

    …of course, shouldn’t be a huge surprise; off the top of your head, how many characters have spent 40 years out of the last 50 on air in one form or another?

    As to the argument that’s it’s eleven characters rather than one, I say only this; no one complained when Guy Pearce swapped bodies with Claudia Karvan in ‘Dating the Enemy’. If the screen world has taught us nothing else, it’s this – hormones matter. Doctor #1 was in the body of an old man; Doctor #3 was a dapper late 40’s; Doctor #11 is barely out of high school. The bodies are different, and the way they relate to the world is affected by the shell they wear. Even when the core beliefs are the same, you have to accept that the hormones matter… If you’re tall you look down on the world. If you’re short, you look up and wonder. For all we know, Patrick Troughton’s Doctor would have been a fantastic action hero – if only he hadn’t got the job after his body was too old to follow through. The body you wear matters. Case in point #2 : was Tom Hanks in ‘Big’ a different character when he grew up? What about Lindsay Lohan and Jamie-Lee Curtis in ‘Freaky Friday’? Two characters? Or four?
    (I just made a deep philosophical point using La-Lohan. Go figure-?)

    Or to put it another way: a 1 litre of water in a jug is the same as 1 litre of water in a bucket is the same as one litre of water in a watering can. Even though the shapes are completely different…

    …aren’t they

  7. Paul Boxcutter says:

    Keiran’s letter on sport on FTA was spot-on. Perfect. Kudos to you sir, a great view that resonated with me more than anything I’ve heard or thought (and I like to think I’m pretty passionate about this topic.)

    Oh, and Happy Birthday… I can’t believe I’ve been on this for 5 years, great work guys, truly appreciated!

  8. Paul Boxcutter says:

    Oh yeah. Nelly’s ‘rap’ was from the song ‘Oh My God’ by Spearhead (or Michael Franti and Spearhead ;). FWIW, I recommend you get your ears into, Spearhead are great.

    My fav line from that song is:
    Politician got lipstick on his collar,
    The whole media is starting to holla,
    I don’t give a f**k who they screwing in private,
    I wanna know who they screwing in public.

    *holla and wanna – making me sound so hood πŸ˜‰

  9. Paul Boxcutter says:

    Doh. It’s from the album ‘Stay Human’. Sorry for the extra post. πŸ™

  10. John Richards says:

    Boxcutters is so educational!

  11. Nelly Thomas says:

    Thanks Paul – although why you needed to place my “rap” in “inverted commas” is beyond me. I did it so well (groan)! But yes, I love the lipstick line too. I’m thinking of inventing a drag0king character, just so I can sing that song.

    In other news, we’re on the back page of The Age today. Yay. For the record, it’s their mistake to list me as the solo host. Boo. Sorry fellas.

    I’ll end on my other fave line from that song:
    White collar criminal, McDonald Eatin’

    It’s my new description for corporate fat-cats.

    Have a good week y’all.

  12. Here’s a link to the age article (scroll down to the bottom):


  13. Paul Boxcutter says:

    I placed ‘rap’ in inverted commas as I *think* that was the term you used for it, and although I’m recalling it from when I listened yesterday, it sounded like you did air quotes when you said it. I’d check the video podcast, but only makes Josh angry (and maybe even kill a kitten. πŸ˜‰

    Also, I’m so middle-class, middle-age white, that I don’t know if it’s ‘rap’ or ‘hip-hop’ so I placed inverted commas there just in case …..

    Anyway… loved a Spearhead reference in my favourite Podcast, and Josh’s mention of the Disposable Heroes of HipHopcrisy was great too πŸ˜‰

  14. Lyndal Boxcutter says:

    Congrats on 5 years. That’s like 20 in Austereo years!

    Great list – pleased with it overall. Would love to know who got median position.

  15. Natalie Bc says:

    Re: Top 10 TV characters of all time…….. Who was number 5? You didn’t say number 5. H Simpson 6………. A Swearengen 4.

  16. Nathalie Boxcutter says:

    Thanks Natalie Bc. I was thinking that I was the only one missing number 5…

  17. John Richards says:

    Whoops! According to my emails, number 5 was Basil Fawlty from Fawlty Towers. Unless we’re meant to be keeping that secret and I’ve ruined everything…

  18. Josh Kinal says:

    Oh John. If you had been there you’d know all about why we left out Basil Fawlty!

    (It’s because we were too excited and forgot! Sorry.)

  19. Congrats on five years! Hard to believe I was right there at the first episode, listening in my lounge room. I didn’t even know what a podcast was until Brett explained, so you were my first.

    I’m with Josh on Buffy. One of my least favourite characters in the show.

  20. I think Basil deserves a special mention and expose this week, doesnt he? I didnt even think of him when going through my top characters but he definitely is up there.

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