Introducing… Robert Lackie!

As a way to let you get to know each of our contributors off the bat, we’ll be posting a little bit about each of us and our television preferences over the next week or so. Enjoy! ~ R. Lackie, ed.

A second-year university student at Ryerson University in Toronto, Lackie is working towards a career writing for television, and is a dedicated student of the medium. Spending tens of hours each week watching and critically thinking about the shows within his reach, while studying it in the Radio and Television Arts program, Lackie has a lot to say about these overlooked pieces of literature. In his own words…

Top 5 Television Characters (of the Moment)

5) Henry Pollard, Party Down: There’s something infinitely likeable about Adam Scott’s portrayal of the laidback/hopeless lead of this cater-waiter comedy set in Hollywood.

4) Jaye Tyler, Wonderfalls: One of my undying crushes is Jaye Tyler, the overeducated and overqualified slacker at the head of Wonderfalls. The utter apathy and acid wit that Jaye approaches the world with was addictive to watch, as was her slow development into a person who might care about those around her more than she’d ever let on.

3) Kara “Starbuck” Thrace, Battlestar Galactica: Badass, self-destructive fighter pilot with a dark past and several complex, intriguing relationships, Kara Thrace was a force of nature, and Katee Sackhoff’s portrayal of her was rightly lauded by all who got sucked in. Even in periods wherein Galactica fell flat, Starbuck was always worth watching.

2) Walter White, Breaking Bad: Deep, deceptive, and powerful, Walter White is a beautiful symbol of the darker side we all have and will likely never ever bear witness to. Watching this once-mild man slowly sink to depths typically reserved for villains is astonishing.

1) Tami Taylor, Friday Night Lights: An extraordinary mother, principal and wife without ever devolving into a one-note character, Tami Taylor is often the best in a fantastic cast. When the town is football-crazy, it almost always falls to the pragmatic Tami to bring a logical perspective, and it breaks your heart to see football win over education every single time.

Top 5 Shows of the Last Decade

5) In Treatment (2008-present): A one-act play mixed with a daily soap and the kind of deep psychological drama that supports HBO’s reputation for telling powerful, intricate stories. Running for 7-9 weeks, a half-hour per weekday, it tells the story of psychotherapist Dr. Paul Weston and his varied patients. A testament to both the flaws and power of therapy.

4) Chuck (2007-present): Hilarious, charming and occasionally a bit of a heartbreaker, this little spy show makes me ridiculously happy. Loosely plotted but the characters are wonderful, and change in beliveable ways.

3) The Wire (2002-2008): Epic in scope, epic in feeling, and utterly real. I devoured the last three seasons of this epic about Baltimore, Maryland in a matter of weeks.

2) Arrested Development (2003-2006): Hilarious, wonderfully written, with the best ensemble cast for a comedy I’ve ever seen. As a writer, always impressed by the sophistication of their humour, playing with time, narration, synonyms, censored words… a smörgåsbord of joy.

1) Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003): Whedon has this compelling ability to combine enjoyable standalone plots with overall character and thematic arcs, and that made this show really strong even at its weakest. Delightful characters that you could get deeply invested in.

Biggest Guilty Pleasure

The Big Bang Theory: Some would class this a regular old pleasure, but my feelings for BBT are unique: It’s pretty much the only show I watch where I don’t bother to do so every week or even in order, a rare sentiment for me.

Character I’d Most Like to See Get Hit By a Bus

Mrs. Gloria Akalitus, Nurse Jackie. The hospital administrator whose job is usually wrangling the nurses, including the title character, she tends to spend most of her time wandering the hospital and pratfalling while those around her laugh nastily. I’d feel bad for her if she weren’t a noxious presence in the hospital, lightened by only a few moments of genuine depth. The character was largely used for weak comedic effect throughout season one, carrying very little weight or purpose beyond being a cartoon villain. Her misadventures also rarely had any significance to our antihero, making her contributions both rarely rewarding and a distraction. Also, a really, really irritating character wasting Anna Deveare Smith, who I’m told is an extraordinary actress. Sadly, with this role, it rarely shows.

TV Character You’d Most Like to Hang Out With

Christina Yang, Grey’s Anatomy. Yang is darkly hilarious, snide, sarcastic and takes great pleasure in the discomfort of her friends without ever crossing the line into an asshole. She could easily come off as bitchy or cold, but Sandra Oh imbues her with such a sense of enjoying life, especially when pushed to compete. I don’t know if we’d get along, but if we got to know each other I’d definitely enjoy being in her orbit.

Coming Up Soon…

I’ll be doing episodic reviews of seasons 1 and 2 of Durham County, as well as weekly reactions to season two of United States of Tara, starting with a post tonight!

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