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October 9, 2015

TV Squad Ten: The coolest characters on TV now

by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 9th 2009 2:28PM
MargWhat is cool? Can you define that thing, that quality that makes certain characters seem like they're more with it than everyone around them? Maybe cool is a state of being, not a thing you can pick up by wearing Armani or drinking Grey Goose or driving a BMW.

As I was looking around the current crop of television shows, I found ten characters who seem to capture the essence of cool -- whether they know it or not. After the jump, we count them down.

TV Squad: Coolest Characters on TV

    10. Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin), '30 Rock'

    Is there any question that Jack Donaghy is one cool cat? He's in with the in crowd, smarter than everyone else around and savvy enough to make it work for him in his rise up the corporate ladder. In fact, he would be even higher on the Top Ten if his ambition wasn't quite so overt and obvious. Occasionally, Jack's desperation to be CEO comes off as uncool. Still, even in many of the most heated situations, like any time his mother is invading his space or when facing off with a corporate adversary, Jack never lets on that he's anything but a cool customer.

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    9. Conner (Tom Cavanagh), 'Trust Me'

    Although he's a new character, Conner jumped off the TV screen in the first episodes for Trust Me as a very cool guy. He's so cool that he doesn't seem to have a last name! He so cool that he can be a complete flake and no-show at the office and still get away with it. When Conner went to Stu Hoffman's funeral and took the podium to speak the truth about the late creative director, what he said and did defined cool. He said simply, "He died angry and alone, and I'm not going to do that."

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    8. Sarah Walker (Yvonne Stravoski), 'Chuck'

    Sarah Walker is not only a kick-ass spy, she's the princess of cool. And that's not because her cover is working at a frozen yogurt shop. In every situation, Sarah has a grip on her emotions and never loses her cool. That's even more impressive since this past season we've gotten glimpses into her background, how she was recruited into the CIA, her father the con artist. Sarah could be a hot-head like Casey -- the anti-cool -- but she's not. She's also cool enough to appreciate Chuck despite his geekiness.

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    7. Patrick Jane (Simon Baker), 'The Mentalist'

    To those who don't pay attention, Patrick Jane and Shawn Spencer (Psych) might seem to have the same act. They don't. They do, however, share the cool gene. In Patrick Jane, though, it comes across in different ways. He won't refer to music and movies from his childhood, but he does know more than everybody else in the room. Jane's ultimate coolness is his complete and overt confidence. His super charming smile is a weapon that disarms those who meet him. If there's one chink in his cool armor, it's his fury over Red John.

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    6. Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger), 'CSI'

    Forensic science is cool? Well, yes, when Catherine is the investigator. How many crime scene scientists come from the world of Las Vegas show girls? Catherine's background, with her mother a casino girl and the father she never knew till she was grown up one of the top hotel kingpins, makes her an authentic Vegas character. She understands the mythology and magic of the city, but works on the dark side with the criminal underworld. Whether she's mingling with mobsters or peering over a microscope, Willows is at home, and that's why she's so cool.

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    5. Shawn Spencer (James Roday), 'Psych'

    Audacious punk? Snarky buttinsky? Whippersnapper who's too big for his britches? Shawn Spencer could be called all those things. He uses his psychic talent -- which he readily confides to best friend Gus is bogus -- for fun. You'll never see Shawn selling himself as a psychic to bilk widows or mislead people in need. He'd much rather get by living in the moment, picking his cases with the SBPD and reliving the '80s with arcane pop culture references that might be geeky if uttered by someone else. He's so cool that he watches The Mentalist. Shawn is ice, ice, baby.

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    4. Tony Dinozzo (Michael Weatherly), 'NCIS'

    You might think there's nobody at NCIS cooler than Leroy Jethro Gibbs, but for me, Tony takes the cool quotient because of his ability to socialize and schmooze, something that Gibbs simply doesn't do. (Perhaps that makes him uber-cool?) Anyway, Tony's pop culture knowledge, his way with a movie quote as well as cocky smile and raised eyebrow, makes him very much a cool dude. About the only time Tony is not cool is when he's out of his element, like the beginning of this season when he was sent out to sea and away from NCIS.

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    3. Don Draper (Jon Hamm), 'Mad Men'

    Don Draper is classic cool, like Cary Grant -- tall, dark and uncaring about convention. Don is so cool that he can take a business trip to L.A., then blow it off to hook up with a rich girl in Palm Springs without ever once calling in to the office or his home. Was Draper dropping out or just asserting is independence? He dropped back in as easily as he dropped out! Perhaps it's his Bohemian past or his leaving Dick Whitman behind in Korea to become Don Draper. Whatever, Don has achieved a level of cool that's ethereal.

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    2. Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris), 'How I Met Your Mother'

    It's not just that he knows the Bro Code inside out (his ancestors helped write it!). It's not just that he's got a top notch job with every perk imaginable but nobody knows exactly what he does. It's all that plus an attitude that's legen-(wait for it)-dary. Barney is Mr. Cool with a side order of awesome. The only thing that keeps Barney in the penultimate spot on the Top Ten is his soft spot, his love for Robin, which he cannot handle with the guile and grace that he does all other aspects of his life.

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    1. Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan), 'Burn Notice'

    If all it took to make someone cool were a pair of designer sunglasses, Horatio Cane might be numero uno. Instead it's that other Miami guy, Michael Westen. What makes Michael so cool? His unflappability. Michael has managed to roll with all the craziness thrust upon him, starting with getting burned. Add to that attempts on his life, being yanked around by a nefarious handler, and then there's his mother who wants to redress the sins of the past. Michael doesn't let the stress show, and you have to admire a cat that cool, and that's why he's number one.

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Can't stand Alec Balwin in real life, can't stand him on TV, unless it's his "Sveatty Balls" routine from SNL.
Where's Jack Bauer? NCIS rocks! Love Abbie and Officer David! BTW is this a left wing TV expose`? ;-)

May 01 2009 at 11:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have to agree that Dexter should be on that list! Exciting news for NCIS fans though- star Rocky Carroll (Director Vance) will be chatting live with fans on Fancast tomorrow (Thursday) at 12pm PST. Ask him anything! http://www.fancast.com/blogs/live-chat/live-chat-ncis-star-rocky-carroll/

March 11 2009 at 3:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Really, I must ask... where's Charlie Harper? (That's Charlie Sheen's character on Two and Half Men for those unfortunate enough to have never seen the show.)

February 27 2009 at 4:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Agree with you on Catherine Willows from CSI and Patrick Jane from the Mentalist (my new favourite show).

Should have added Nick Stokes from CSI as well, his character has grown tremendously over the seasons with all he went through.

But I agree with you on those two charcters. I love Catherine and really enjoy Patrick Jane's wittiness.

February 26 2009 at 8:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Two simple words. Chuck Bass.

February 11 2009 at 11:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to SB's comment
Malfoy Roark

I concur

February 14 2009 at 3:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

DiNozzo the 'coolest' on NCIS? I think not. That title should be reserved for Abby. Catherine Willows ROCKS! The rest of the list is blah!

February 10 2009 at 10:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Brock Samson

February 10 2009 at 6:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So glad that added James Roday from Psych -- he should be number 1, but i'll take number 5.

February 10 2009 at 4:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


February 10 2009 at 11:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would have put Chuck from Chuck, and Charlie from Life in there as well... Chuck has to be the coolest nerd ever...

February 10 2009 at 10:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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