TV Madness: A New Tournament Begins

In March of last year, we held a Movie Madness tournament featuring a bracket of 64 film icons to identify cinema’s truest badass. In the end, Darth Vader kicked everyone else’s butt. Now that we know the baddest person in movies, let’s tackle the world of TV action stars to see who will win in that realm.

Here’s the thing, though. Movies are a tad different than television. There’s more turn-around in television. Shows and characters we may have forgotten might fit perfectly into our bracket. I won’t pretend to know each and every action star from television that deserves a spot. It was hard enough to pick 64 movie characters, and most of them were iconic or ingrained into our pop-culture DNA.

So I’m asking for your help here. I have a few obvious choices in mind like Jack Bauer, Vic Mackey, Sydney Bristow, and maybe even Fox Mulder. Still, I need more names. Suggestions from you, our readers, would be very helpful. Which characters would you like to see compete in the Television Tournament o’ Death?

Remember that this tournament is a fight to the death. No matter how great a show like ‘Seinfeld’ was, we’re not picking anyone from there (except maybe the Soup Nazi), because those characters would all get dismembered in the first round. What we’re looking for are TV’s resident badasses, grizzled characters who know how to take a punch, and better yet, know how to give one right back.

This tournament will feature another 64-character bracket broken down into quadrants. After we have a sufficient number of suggestions in the form of comments to this post, I’ll randomly pick the first round matches, and off we’ll go.

Thanks for helping out. I’m looking forward to finding what characters Bonus View readers come up with. Let’s make this a memorable tournament.


  1. Ed, Watertown MA

    Raylan Givens of “Justified” casts a pretty big shadow, especially at High Noon.

      • I’d like to see a face-off between Raylan Givens and Seth Bullock. It’d be meta-tastic!

        Other suggestions:

        Al Swearegen (Deadwood)
        Worf (Star Trek: TNG)
        Jayne Cobb (Firefly)
        B.A. Baracus (The A-Team)
        Robert McCall (The Equalizer)
        Bruce Banner (The Incredible Hulk)
        Clark Kent (any of the countless Superman/Superboy TV shows over the years – The Adventures of Superman, Lois & Clark, Smallville, etc.)

        Emma Peel (The Avengers)
        Cameron (Sarah Connor Chronicles)
        Sarah Walker (Chuck)
        Catwoman (Batman)

        I’m sure that I’ll think of more later.

        We should probably restrict this to live-action TV shows, huh? It wouldn’t be fair to throw someone like Optimus Prime into the mix. 🙂

  2. Vinnie

    I definitely agree with Raylan Givens.

    How bout the Man in Black from Lost?

    And are you guys including TV characters who later were in movies (Ethan Hunt, the A-Team, etc.) or are they excluded from this tourney?

    • Aaron Peck

      The only requirement is that they were in a television series.

      For example Captain Kirk was in the movie tourney, but will also appear in this one too.

    • Aaron Peck

      Also, those characters you’re talking about were played by different actors which creates a different character even though they have the same name. Does that make sense? That’s why in the movie tourney we had to narrow down the exact Batman and the exact Bond we were going to use in the tournament.

  3. Evan Withrow

    He wasn’t the main character in his series, but I think Benjamin Linus from LOST would put up a pretty good fight against (and defeat) a lot of different characters.

  4. StarMenace

    Cordell Walker – Walker Texas Ranger, it’s Chuck Norris, if he’s in the bracket then it’s an automatic win.

  5. JM

    Charlie from ‘The West Wing.’

    Ron Butterfield, secret service, and Mike Casper, FBI, were pretty badass too.

  6. Buffy
    Cameron (Sarah Connor Chronicles)
    Captain Malcolm Reynolds
    River Tam (Yes I’m a Whedon geek)
    The Doctor
    Captain Jack Harkness
    Walter White
    Darkwing Duck
    Agent Dale Cooper
    Bear Grylls

    Do made for TV movies/mini-series count? If so, Pennywise and Randal Flag.

  7. HuskerGuy

    Josh already nominated Sarah Walker from Chuck, but I think John Casey should be considered as well.

    I know Josh already put Adam Baldwin in as Jayne from Firefly, but I almost think his Chuck character would be a better as there is more history to draw off. That said, Jayne would likely get more fan support with the Firefly love.

    This brings up another questions, suggestion, why not Malcom Reynolds from Firefly. He was just as much a killer as anyone else on the show.

  8. JM

    Lucius Vorenus from ‘Rome.’

    Omar Little from ‘The Wire.’

    Timothy Olyphant from ‘Deadwood.’

    Maggie Q in Nikita.

    Donnie Yen as Chan Zan in ‘Fist of Fury.’

  9. JM

    Alan Tudyk as Alpha in ‘Dollhouse.’

    Mr. Eko in ‘Lost’

    Vern Schillinger in ‘Oz.’

    Walter White in ‘Breaking Bad.’

  10. EM

    To the Star Trek suggestions I would add Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct, Unimatrix Zero-One. Also Spock, at least in an emotional state.

    Forgive me if I overlooked any Babylon 5 suggestions, but here are mine: Michael Garibaldi, Kosh (“We are all Kosh”), Alfred Bester, and Neroon.

    I’d also like to suggest Anthony Fremont from the Twilight Zone episode “It’s a Good Life” (also its 2003 sequel “It’s Still a Good Life”), but maybe he’s too powerful for this format. But it’s good that he’s too powerful—it’s really, really good!!!

    And we should have Barnabas Collins, unless the matches take place by day.

  11. Aaron Peck

    Awesome suggestions everyone. You all really stepped up. I took a ton of characters from these suggestions, added in some of my own and now we have a bracket of 64 people who will battle for ultimate supremacy.

    Next week you’ll see the bracket along with the first matches. Stay tuned.

  12. Jared Chamberlain

    Duncan MacLeod(Highlander)
    Harley Quinn(Batman the Animated Series)
    Gomez Addams (Addams Family)
    Indiana Jones(young)
    Starbuck (new Battlestar)
    Sherlock Holmes(Sherlock)
    Herman Munster(The Munsters)

  13. Dr Smith (Lost In Space),
    Gal Du Kaut (DS9),
    The Borg Queen (multiple Star Trek series),
    The Duke Boys (Dukes of Hazard),
    Simon Cowell (nuff said),
    Que (multiple Star Trek series),
    The Terminator (Sarah Connor Chronicles),
    Majin Buu / Goku / Gohan / Trunks / Freeza / Piccilo / (Dragonball, Dragonball Z, Dragonball GT),
    Sailor Moon (and the other Sailor Scouts)
    Piers Morgan
    Jesus (South Park)
    Satan (South Park)
    Saddam Hussain (South Park)
    Mel Gibson / George Lucas / Steven Spilburg (South Park)
    The White Ranger (Power Rangers)
    Pikachu (Pokemon)
    Captain Kirk / Captain Janeway / Captain Archer / Captain Picard / Commander Sysco
    Syler (or whatever his name is from Heros)
    Stewie Griffin (Family Guy)
    Stan Smith (American Dad)

  14. The Mexican Space Ship

    Stringfellow Hawk from Airwolf
    Conan O’Brien
    Cody from Step by Step
    Horatio Caine from CSI Miami
    Cookie Monster
    Betty White’s character from Golden Girls