Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – What Makes for Good TV? Loving the Hero AND the Villain…

I know I mentioned last week that I would review NBC’s Hannibal today, but I’m taking a break from the regularly scheduled program.

For the sake of today’s Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday post, I’m sharing a few of the current TV programs I absolutely can’t miss (instead of reviewing just one).  Why?  Because after watching each of these shows, I can’t stop thinking about how much I enjoy these particular characters… mainly due to the relationships between the good and the evil—whatever those particular relationships might be, as they are different in each instance.  It’s very normal for someone to adore the hero of a story, but when viewers connect with the “big bad” as well , we know we have something powerful on our hands.

First up, Justified

When I think of the good guy versus the bad guy, I immediately think of FX’s Justified.  While Raylan Givens is the hero of this story, the series would not be the same without his childhood friend and current foe, Boyd Crowder.  I can’t actually think of another duo on TV that is as well developed as these two characters—and this, without a doubt, is the byproduct of the wonderful writings of Elmore Leonard.

Unfortunately, the two don’t share too many on-screen scenes together, but when they do it is absolute perfection.  The dialogue is fantastic and the tension is magic, and I root just as much for Boyd as I do for Raylan.  As a matter of fact, Boyd was only a recurring character the first season; but because the audiences responded the way that they did to him, he was added to the show as a permanent character in season two.

Next up, we have The Following

Another great protagonist/antagonist coupling has to be Ryan Hardy and Joe Carroll from Fox’s The Following.  Because he’s the hero, audiences find themselves hoping Hardy can finally catch his demented nemesis.  The Hardy character is a lot like another Fox character we loved for years—24‘s Jack Bauer.  Hardy doesn’t get much sleep and he definitely doesn’t follow the rules like other police officers and FBI agents.  He does what is necessary to capture the bad guy.

And in this case, the bad guy is none other than Joe Carroll.  Unlike Boyd Crowder, Joe Carroll isn’t nearly as likable.  However, the series would not be as popular or enjoyable if this character was likable… or if this character pairing was any less developed on either end—Hardy or Carroll… or if the show also focused on Hardy helping the FBI solve multiple cases each week like in a traditional police procedural, instead of focusing only on Carroll and his followers.  The Following is anything but “typical” TV, and I still can’t believe it has found its home on Fox (it seems more like an FX series if you ask me).

As a side note, rarely is there a portrayal of a television character that would cause me to pause on the street and potentially run the other way if I saw the actor or actress responsible for the role in real life, but James Purefoy is the exception.  He makes for one of the creepiest villains on TV that I can think of in recent years… and he spooks me… just a bit.  Okay, maybe more than just a bit… but I love it.

And finally, we have The Vampire Diaries

These two characters and the actors’ portrayals have stolen the attention of the female audiences of their respective show… who, you ask?  That would be Damon Salvatore and Niklaus “Klaus” Mikaelson of The Vampire Diaries.

I’m not sure what the creators had in mind, but I have a hard time believing they could have predicted how strongly the audience, particularly the women and girls, would feel about Damon or Klaus.  Stefan Salvatore is supposed to be the hero, but girls across the globe prefer his bad-boy brother Damon over him—I know I do.

Well, let’s be honest, girls are always attracted to the bad boys… but there’s more to Damon.  In almost every situation, he knows what he should do (what the right thing is) and he battles with his decision to turn the other cheek.  Whether he wants to admit it or not, he has a conscience and that to me is what makes his character work.  That and his smirk.

And similarly to the Boyd casting on Justified, TVD didn’t even plan for evil Klaus to survive much past the second season finale, but now he finds himself as a permanent character on the show.  Heck, he’s so popular, he has a chance at his very own spinoff later this month.  On one hand, I hope the backdoor pilot does well and we have another supernatural series to watch next year; but on the other hand, The Vampire Diaries will NOT be the same without him.  Not even with Damon remaining.  As much as I love him, Damon’s really got nothing on the conflicted and flawed Niklaus.

So, to make this a bit more like the traditional Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday post…

I would give each of these characters the GTV rating—they all have everything we want and more… even if a few of the villains are super creepy and each of the heroes mentioned are sometimes overly flawed.  They have what it takes to bring the viewers back for more… and more… and more, regardless of the particular storyline.

What do you think?  Do you like the character pairings of Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder, Ryan Hardy and Joe Carroll, and Damon Salvatore and Klaus?   Who would you add to this list… and why?  I’d love to hear from you!

Come back next week when I return to the regularly scheduled program and review a show that I’ve been anxiously awaiting since I heard of the project’s development… NBC’s Hannibal.

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV):It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (NyQuil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech
Inedible TV: Exactly how it sounds…



5 Replies to “Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – What Makes for Good TV? Loving the Hero AND the Villain…”

  1. I haven’t seen Justified, and it sounds like I need to give it a shot. I have multiple people talking about it. I love The Following and the way Ryan Harding and Joe Carroll play off each other. And I think you are “spot on” about Damon and Klaus. My wife adores Damon and is starting to feel the same way about Klaus. As for the difference between Stephan and Damon, you only have to look back a few years at the difference between Angel and Spike. Who was the most popular between them? I dare say it was Spike. Spike and Dru forever!!

  2. I don’t watch either Justified or Vampire Diaries but love The Following, largely because of the pairing of Ryan Hardy and Joe Carroll. (I do get a little frustrated about people going into buildings without waiting for backup, etc, though!!) It’s been fascinating to watch their characters develop through the series and to find out more about them both and I agree with you. James Purefoy’s portrayal of Joe Carroll is one of the most charismatic, yet creepy. A look can be withering or mesmerising.

  3. I haven’t watched much of TVD this season. I just don’t like it as well as I used to. I honestly can’t see why everyone seems to like Klaus. He’s TOO bad for me. And I don’t find him that appealing. But Elijah…now THAT’S an original I like! I’m still a Damon girl, though. Like you, I can see the good within the bad. Kind of like Spike on BTVS. Stefan and Damon always reminded me of Angel and Spike. 🙂

  4. I’ve seen Justified its fantastic
    Looking forward to seeing the Following. Will rent/buy from Amazon when its available
    Not keen on Vampire Diaries. To me vampires belong in scary movies not sexy teen dramas but thats just me

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