Voting in the Lightbox People’s Choice Awards has started this week. Alex Casey and Duncan Greive argue the case for their favourite TV villains, heroes, sex symbols and so much more.
Lightbox have kicked off their first People’s Choice Awards this week, inviting you to vote for your favourite villains, heroes and sex symbols to win some choice prizes. We sifted through the nominees and made our initial picks, arguing a strong case for each of our chosen competitors. Click here to cast your votes in the competition, if you’re a Lightbox subscriber you could win a trip for two to the set of Vikings in Ireland, a 50” Panasonic Smart TV worth $2199, or one of 10 Google Chromecasts.
Alex’s Pick: Xena (Xena: Warrior Princess)
My hero of choice brings with her the most famous novelty bra since Madonna, which is almost an award enough in itself. Starting as a supporting character in Hercules, Xena’s warrior spirit raged forth into a spinoff series, which spanned a whopping 134 episodes and made Lucy Lawless a beacon of strength for women everywhere. Xena ran into telly land, weapons akimbo, screaming “ALALALALALA”, and stomped out a path for many more onscreen heroines to come. Without Xena, there is no Buffy or Alias, and that’s why she deserves to take out this category.
Duncan’s Pick: Moppa Pfefferman (Transparent)
Moppa, aka Maura, previously known as Mort is the transcendent star of Transparent. She floats through her transition to womanhood with a tranquilised grace, never once rising to the bait of the selfish hellions she raised, or letting society’s problems become her own. In doing so she shows the world how it should deal with difference from within or without, and has helped articulate the struggles of the trans community to the point where it feels like she played a meaningful role in the current, overdue global awakening lead by Caitlyn Jenner. Pretty good effort for a fictional character.
Alex’s Pick: Lizzie Borden (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
With her saucer eyes and rapidly-expanding puffy sleeves, Lizzie Borden is a true wolf in seductive sheep’s clothing. Based on the real life probably-murderer, actress Christina Ricci hasn’t been around this many dead people since her Casper days. Starting small, Lizzie Borden’s few misdemeanors spiral into a massacre as she desperately tries to avoid her ‘Black Widow’ accusations. I challenge anyone to raise the level of pure villainous bloodshed brought about by her mighty axe. Girls can do anything.
Duncan’s Pick: Patty Hewes (Damages)
Patty Hewes is a slippery fish. One minute she’s trying to have you killed, the next she’s helping steer your rise through the snakepit of New York City law. Her most impressively villainous characteristic is her ability to be utterly convincing in every situation, so you’re always half-tempted to buy what she’s selling, despite knowing full well she’s a natural born maniac. Full credit to Glenn Close, who plays her with a cool ruthlessness familiar to those who’ve been unnerved by her bunny boiling in Fatal Attraction.
Alex’s Pick: Jamie Fraser (Outlander)
I am half Scottish and therefore genetically pre-determined to choose Outlander‘s Jamie Fraser here. My Mum would bring out the bagpipes and cut the haggis with a sgian dubh if I brought him home, especially with his clothes all tattered and ginger hair all disheveled. Sure, Jamie’s nearly 300 years old – but so is Sean Connery. He has that rare combination of being old-fashioned, mostly shirtless, vulnerable and deeply Scottish all at once. Jamie Fraser is the stuff of urban folklore, the Loch Ness Monster of sexy.
Duncan’s Pick: John Luther (Luther)
Luther is to a ‘sexiest’ category what LeBron James is to basketball, Oprah is to talk shows or Suzanne Paul is to selling you great products: a force of nature defying natural laws and rendering our normal statistical measuring methods entirely futile. He’s emotional and wounded and vulnerable, and extremely devoted to his wife, even when she drops him for that dorky chap. He’s also brilliant and brave and clearly a crime-fighting savant. Plus well-dressed, handsome as all heck and has just the right portion of tortured genius and moody bad boy. Case closed.
Alex’s Pick: David Brent (The Office UK)
David Brent has made me cry with laughter for more than ten years now, from staplers in the jelly to yelling “I think there’s been a rape up there” and somehow getting away with it. David Brent is the king of all comedy, a chilled out entertainer who can rock an Austin Powers costume with the best of them. The Office US writer BJ Novak wrote in Mindy Kaling’s autobiography that David Brent “changed comedy forever.” I tend to agree, I still remember exactly where I was the moment he released this goddamn dove, and whipped out the defining impromptu dance of modern times. There’s no competition, you’ve got a better chance of catching a monkey than beating David Brent in this category.
Duncan’s Pick: Lucille Bluth (Arrested Development)
In my mind Lucille is always squinting malevolently out from that handsome, sharp-boned face, readying a withering comment which will send one of her children into a paroxysm of anxiety. While she artfully destroys everyone around her for sport, it’s her work on Buster and her best friend Lucille Austero which is the most harrowing and hilarious – she functions as perhaps the best and most viciously funny caricature of the mother-in-law ever seen on our screens. Plus I’m a sucker for an older woman in a sharp suit with a strong drink in her hand, and that is Lucille Bluth 100% of the time.
Alex’s Pick: Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy (30 Rock)
He’s a shark-eyed CEO who won’t be caught dead without a tuxedo after 6pm (“what am I, a farmer?”) and she’s a swamped TV writer who wears togs as undies. These absolute opposites become soul mates throughout the six seasons of 30 Rock, making up for each other’s losses like only the best of friends can do. Where Liz wears everything (food included) on her sleeve, Jack retreats behind glasses of scotch. Together, she pokes through his problems and he savvies her up to the otherwise impenetrable worlds of business and relationships. Underneath all the jibes about cult-esque sneakers and third wave feminism, there’s a friendship founded on respect and recognition that is well-deserving of this coveted award.
Duncan’s Pick: Spongebob and Patrick (Spongebob Squarepants)
Certified, ring-wearing members of the ‘Best Friends Forever Club’, Spongebob and Patrick’s friendship is ageless and endless, thanks to the Groundhog day reality of life at Bikini Bottom. The dynamic is perfect – Spongebob’s the brains, Patrick the credulous brawn. The human friendships listed in competition are all well and good, but each will end with one member in the ground, whereas Sponge and Pat will float on eternally together.
Alex’s Pick: Moone Boy
Moone Boy combines several of my favourite things in the entire world: beanies, Chris O’Dowd and a wide-eyed nostalgia for childhood. I binged the whole series in one day, sitting cross-legged in wonder like a primary school student on the mat at story time (there’s that nostalgia). Made by and starring Chris O’Dowd, it’s a sweet, semi-autobiographical snapshot of rural life seen through one child’s wild imagination. A nuanced love letter to all boxed-in kids with minds more expansive than their small town borders, Moone Boy breathes a much-needed gust of whimsy and wonder into the often-surly TV climate.
Duncan’s Pick: The Thick of It
Watching The Thick of It is a revelatory experience – it feels so much more like how politics must be practised in reality than the aspirational dream weaving of The West Wing. Set in a minor ministerial outpost within the English governing party, it’s a movable shambles of tentative, ill-considered decisions lying in wait for Malcolm Tucker, the viciously profane director of communications for the Government, to discover and detonate. The Thick Of It never really got a good run in New Zealand, so now is a very good time to watch what might be the best, most raw and accurate show Armando Iannucci (I’m Alan Partridge, Veep) ever created.
Alex’s Pick: Breaking Bad
As obvious as a meth lab in a campervan, there’s no way Breaking Bad has any competition here. I binged the entire five seasons over the ‘14/’15 New Year period, even choosing to cram about four episodes into my CHRISTMAS DAY somehow. Things got so bad that I started seeing Breaking Bad iconography everywhere I looked, but I don’t regret my actions for a minute. Much like the clear blue drug at it’s core, try Breaking Bad once and it will consume your entire life until you can have another hit.
Duncan’s Pick: 24
Created almost entirely pre-binge culture, 24’s non-stop thunderclap adrenalin pace might have been invented to be binged. Every episode feels entirely composed of cliffhangers, exposing all characters, and often all humanity, to near constant peril from which only Jack Bauer can conjure a way out. In the old days we had no choice but to wait an agonising week before discovering how the terrorists were thwarted. Thankfully in 2015 we have the technology and the banked seasons to keep hitting ‘next episode’ and lurching from crisis invented to crisis averted in an constant, ridiculously compelling stream.
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