By Scott Brown
Updated August 03, 2020 at 07:42 PM EDT
Credit: Finola Hughes: ABC Archives

So here’s what happened: Slither director (and Jenna “Pam from The Office” Fischer husband) James Gunn wrote a list of his 25 favorite TV characters ever. (Yes, Pam was on it.) Now, Gunn is on the radar of Joss Whedon fans because he cast good old Nathan Fillion (Capt. Malcolm Reynolds of Firefly and Serenity) in Slither. So naturally, they took note of the list… and were shocked to find Captain Mal scandalously omitted.

This kicked up some dust on Whedonesque, and eventually resulted in Joss himself lightheartedly weighing in with a rival list. (He wisely disqualifies his own shows from consideration, but oddly includes General Hospital‘s Anna Devane, played by Finola Hughes, pictured.) And from there? A full-fledged outbreak of list-eria.

I’d like to note that The Wire‘s Stringer Bell (Idris Elba) does not appear on either list. (Though Gunn gets my love for including Omar Little (Michael K. Williams), hands down the most magnetic black gay gangsta gunslinger privateer on TV ever.)

I’d also like to start a rival list. (Because I’m a scamp that way, and I hope to spark a bloody Internet civil war, then loot the dead avatars of their e-jewels.) I’ll get things going, and y’all keep ’em going:

1. Stringer frickin’ Bell, obviously.

2. Yeah, Spike. Gotta give it up for James Marsters’ Spike. (And not to get in a Buffy rut, but I’d have to agree with the Whedon posters who’d vote for Harry Groener’s Mayor Wilkins.)

3. Kyle Secor’s quietly ambiguous Tim Bayliss on Homicide

4. Brisco County, Jr. (Bruce Campbell) You try saving the old west from aliens sometime.

5. Data. Next Generation. Forget the movies. Remember ol’ Yellow Eyes as he was in his prime.

6. I’d argue Johnny Carson, for the role of Johnny Carson.

Okay, that’s six. Who hates me so far?

Keep it going: Who’s on your list of the 25 best TV characters of all time?

addCredit(“Finola Hughes: ABC Archives”)