We had some trouble compiling this list. It’s not that good men are hard to find in TV—we thought of plenty—it’s that goodness on the small screen is so often a caricature. Good cop versus bad cop. Lovable geek versus douchebag jock.
We found ourselves asking, is this character really good, or do we just not know enough about him? Do we omit characters from AMC’s wonderfully nuanced Mad Men, for example, just because they’re more complicated (or say “what?” way too often)? Then we thought, hey, we’re evaluating the relative virtue of fictional characters—let’s not overthink this thing.
In the end we tried to choose men we relate to and respect, however caricatured they might be at times. We also chose men who struggle toward goodness—and succeed most of the time. Oh, and we limited ourselves to characters who are currently on air (sadly, MacGyver wasn’t in the running).
Love our list? Hate our list? Don’t be shy—let us know. But whatever you do, don’t sit too close to the screen. That’s definitely bad. [Continued.]