Never mind the best books, comics, movies or TV shows of the last ten years, which new character made the biggest impact in your hearts and minds? We want to know what you think, and I have my own suggestions...
In this era of franchises based on pre-existing... well, franchises, really, it should be tough for brand new characters to make any significant impression, but I feel like we've been spoiled for choice in some ways; beyond the five mentioned below, I could've also gone for Y The Last Man's Yorick Brown, Scott Pilgrim's Kim Pine (Because, really, it's all about Kim. Admit it), Fringe's Walter Bishop or Dollhouse's Adelle DeWitt, to name just a few more. I'm not talking about the most important characters of the last ten years, or even the most popular, please understand; this is purely a (selfish and subjective) question of quality, for once. These, however, are my top 5:
Color me one of those people who drifted in and out of Lost throughout the first two seasons of the show... Well, until Ben entered the picture. Michael Emerson's smarmy, knowing performance as "Henry Gale" brought something that the show had needed since the beginning: A Bad Guy. Or, at least, someone who we didn't know much about, but were pretty sure we shouldn't be trusting nonetheless. As we've learned more about the character since then, it's been Emerson's performance that's led the way, convincing us about a control freak who likes to think that he's one step ahead of everyone even though he's lost sight of the bigger picture. In a show filled with great characters - Locke was so close to making my top 5 - Ben stands apart as the best of them all.
Thaddeus S. "Rusty" Venture
Cynical, selfish and entirely delusional when it comes to his importance in the world, The Venture Bros.'s patriarchal figure may be one of the most oddly complex, nuanced character on television these days. On the surface, he's a self-centered coward emotionally scarred from a childhood as a Boy Adventurer who resents his life, his family and pretty much the rest of the world, but the longer the show goes on, the more we see a different Rusty: The father who's grooming Dean in his image - because there's no way that could go wrong - excited about sharing his passion for prog rock and science (and, surprisingly, offering support and advice in times of need), for one thing, or the man who's so pissed off by trouble ruining his plans that he ends up doing heroic deeds just to make his own life easier. Never mind that he's also genius enough to successfully clone his kids for years, replacing them if and when they died... Rusty Venture isn't the kind of man you could rely on, but he certainly makes for entertaining viewing.
And talking of people you can't rely on, Battlestar Galactica's Baltar may have been chosen by God/The Gods/Some Higher Power/Ronald D. Moore to lead humanity towards its new home, along the way discovering a spiritual side, falling in love and growing as a human being, but that wasn't why we loved him so much. No, with Baltar, it was all about the weasel. Whether he was trying to maneuver himself into even greater positions of power, trying to stay alive after surrendering the colonies to the cylons on New Caprica or just trying to seduce whatever character had caught his attentions that week, Baltar was never better than when he was being weak and giving in to his worst impulses. James Callis' performance was one of the best things throughout the entire series, giving us a character that we Loved To Hate To Love, as well as some of the few moments of genuine comedy throughout the entire run. You just know that he'd have given up that whole farming thing within a month of the finale, don't you?
She didn't fall in love with the Doctor. It's worth repeating: She didn't fall in love with the Doctor. After Rose and Martha, that fact alone made this particular Doctor Who companion feel like a breath of fresh air, but there was so much more to her than that: Her enthusiasm, and heart. Her ability to say the wrong thing in almost any occasion. Her self-confidence, misplacing in many ways, but making her feel like the Doctor's peer and friend instead of someone who believes everything he says and puts him on a pedestal (Catherine Tate deserves all credit for making that charming and irritating at once). Given her (intentionally) annoying first appearance in "The Runaway Bride," it's surprising that Donna turned into the companion I'll miss most from this new run, but it's definitely true; her exit was heartbreaking, entirely fitting and proof that Russell T. Davies loved her too much to kill her off. I'm selfishly hoping she survives "The End Of Time," too.
Still relatively new, there's something fascinating about DC Comics' latest Batman spin-off. Under writer Greg Rucka's control - and, given her few appearances elsewhere, only under Rucka's control - Kate Kane is at once a reminder of, and refusal of, Bat-cliches. Yes, she was born of family tragedy, but her response wasn't to focus her entire life towards justice, but instead run off the rails in self-destructive behavior. Like Batman, she sees herself as a soldier, but she actually approaches her missions in that mindset, no doubt helped by her father and their shared military background. Most refreshingly, Batwoman is wonderfully fallible - Misunderstanding a prophecy to be about her own death in the recent "Elegy" storyline - and, at times, unlikable. Given her relatively few appearances since her debut in 2006's 52, it's surprising that she comes across as so rounded and real a character, but she does - and we hope her career is as long-lived as her male counterpart.
But enough about our love of Dr. Zachary Smith updates and redheaded women - What're your choices for the character who's made the greatest impression on you after appearing for the first time at some point during the last ten years? The comments are there for a purpose, after all...