Best of 2014: TV – Best Character

Another year is in the books, and we here at Hush Comics couldn’t pass at the chance to rank our favorites of this year’s releases in all types of mediums. Some of the winners will surprise you; heck, some of the results surprised  us. The results are completely subjective, and therefore were chosen with infallible logic. We would love to hear your opinions on what we have chosen, or if you thought we missed anything. This should be a fun review before we gear up for 2015.

hush best of 2014
Click on the link to take you to the “Best of 2014” homepage.

Best Characters on TV

  • Carol (The Walking Dead)
  • Felicity (Arrow)
  • The Inquisitor (Star Wars Rebels)
  • Jax (Sons of Anarchy)
  • Troy and Abed (Community)

WINNER – Troy and Abed (Community)

Yep, you read that correctly; Troy and Abed from Community are one. The connection these two have could send peanut butter and jelly to couples counseling. Before being canceled by the idiots at NBC, the same idiots that almost canceled Constantine not too long ago, Troy and Abed said goodbye to one another in one of the saddest moments of television I can remember. The series wasn’t over, but a part of the show’s spirit died a little when Troy boarded the Childish Tycoon with LeVar Burton and left Greendale. Gone are the pillow forts, Dreamatorium and tandem Halloween costumes. No one character is bigger than the show, but these two definitely were. – Sherif

Second Place – Carol (The Walking Dead)

Carol TWD Best of 2014 TV Series Character Runner Up 1

Carol Peletier on The Walking Dead is a one-woman arsenal.  She blew up Terminus by herself!  She gunned down Denise Crosby with no qualms!  She shot Lizzie with some qualms!  Carol has had the most character development in the series, and between the end of season four and the beginning of season five, it has become clear that this is not the same women whose husband beat her in season one.  But Carol also revealed her sensitive side (to Daryl, of course), proving that she is more than a machine, she is a human. – Adrian

Third Place – The Inquisitor (Star Wars Rebels)

The Inquisitor Best of 2014 TV Series Character Runner Up

So everyone is making a big deal about the three pronged broadsword-lightsaber wielded by the mysterious dark figure in the recently released Episode VII teaser trailer.  That’s fine and all, but if anyone should be making a big deal about any lightsaber it should be The Inquisitor’s lightsaber.  Have you seen that thing?!  No?!  Google it right now!  DO IT!  Better yet, watch Rebels and tape your eyelids open during any moment The Inquisitor is on screen.  Talk about a lethal and lovable character.  Here’s a list of words and phrases that describe The Inquisitor: awesome, scary, charming, charismatic, powerful, limber, has really cool outfits/gear, deep understanding of the force, cunning, has really sharp teeth, good posture, and deadly with a lightsaber.  In many fewer words The Inquisitor is bad-ass.  His actions in just a few short episode of Rebels has firmly placed him as one of the coolest force-sensitive bad guys among the stars.  That’s why we nominated him for best character of the year.  Be afraid rebels.  Be very afraid. – Taylor

RUNNER UP – Jax (Sons of Anarchy)

Jax Teller Best of 2014 TV Series Character Runner Up

From day one, Jackson “Jax” Teller has stay true to two things and two things only, his family, and his club. Although, he has constantly struggled with the angels and demons climbing up his shoulders, he would sooner meet the Reaper before allowing harm to come his “sons.” It has been poetic in nature to see Jax mature and grow through the years. Balancing between who he wants to be and who he truly is, regardless of where his character finished, his love was unwavering. No one through out the series has loved as hard as Jax, and it’s hard to believe anyone could ever match his level of love.  Jax was a bad man who loved hard, and followed his truths though thick and thin. – Evan

RUNNER UP – Felicity (Arrow)

Felicity Smoak Best of 2014 TV Series Character Runner Up 4

Everyone loves Felicity. Sometimes I think fans like her more than they do Oliver. Hell, if it was just Felicity with her own show I would be all over that. Sometimes I fantasize she’s the Oracle and I get my Birds of Prey show. I mean, the show keeps highlighting the clock tower, Laurel is becoming Black Canary, so maybe we can redeem the Huntress and have a fucking awesome kickass female fronted superhero show.Also, I’m sorry but I have to talk about her fashion. Her dresses… I want them! Or rather I want her tailor. Anyway, I digress. I think the other aspect that so many fans are drawn too is the alternative to a strong female character. I like a woman who can kick ass along with everyone else, but that’s not me. I am the woman behind a computer who uses my words to fight, which is just as valuable if more than a pair of fists. For Felicity, her power is not what’s under her dress, nor in the shape of her fist but rather her mind and her intelligence. And that’s why so many of us want her with Oliver, because she the sidekick the one who saves him through her ingenuity. Not to mention she’s a role model for all the girl programmers out there who want to do what she does. The more we see these smart savvy women in media the more women will feel comfortable pursuing their dreams.  – Jené

Next Category: Best Anime

Star Wars Rebels – “Gathering Forces” S1E9

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Rebels faced another big test this week in delivering the second half of its very first two part episode.  For me, this episode would make or break the rest of the season.  Well fan boys & girls let me say… Star Wars Rebels has unequivocally been “made.”  I loved, loved, loved “Gathering Forces!!”  I’ll tell you all the reasons why.

We picked up right where we left off.  The rebels are running from Imperial forces in The Ghost, attempting to get their new ally and Imperial defector, Tseebo, to safety.  I have to give it up the Imperials this time.  Not only did they send way more than the standard FOUR TIE fighters after their quarry, they dropped two Star Destroyers on the fleeing heroes.  A-plus effort troopers!  Lucky for Hera, Tseebo’s more than just baggage; he helps the rebels make a narrow getaway.

Always calm and collected, the Inquisitor chases the rebels across the galaxy
Always calm and collected, the Inquisitor chases the rebels across the galaxy

In the midst of the commotion we get more background on Tseebo’s relationship with Ezra.  After Ezra’s parents were abducted, he was left in the care of Tseebo who (apparently) abandoned him and did nothing to try and save his parents.  Ezra is convinced that his parents are dead.  This aspect is left lingering at the end of the episode, which is a guarantee that this will come up again in a big way.

Speeding through hyperspace, Kanan senses a disturbance in The Force – he doesn’t feel like they’ve made a clean escape.  Tseebo confirms as much and shares the specs of a new tracking device developed by the Empire.  It can actively track a ship through hyperspace – so cool!!!  And yes, you guessed it, the rebels have been hit with one all thanks to The Inquisitor.  Kanan devises a plan to draw the pursuing Inquisitor and Imperials away with Ezra, so that the others can get Tseebo into safe hands.  I really applaud the use of sweet sci-fi tech here.  It’s not forced and it weaves very seamlessly into the story.  It kept me engaged and anxious.

He man not look it, but Tseebo has got it together!
He man not look it, but Tseebo has got it together!

Kana and Ezra take the tracking device and use The Ghost’s dropship, The Phantom, to peel off from the main ship in mid hyperspace flight.  The following scene of The Phantom perilously and uncontrollably exiting hyperspace was sweeeeet!!!  I’m a little confused about how a faster-than-light object naturally decelerates in the presence of a frictionless vacuum, but then again, I don’t really understand faster-than-light travel in the first place, so I’ll let this slide.  Kanan and Ezra are headed back to the abandoned asteroid base that we first witnessed in episode 7.  I’ll lay on more applause for Weisman and his team for tying past episodes together in a meaningful way.  It’s apparent that the Rebels creative team is (and has been) deliberate and strategic with the happenings of prior episodes.  Practically ALL my grievances with continuity and random events of this season were addressed this episode; even the situation with Fulcrum!

If this is what the dark side is all about, then sign me up!
If this is what the dark side is all about, then sign me up!

More than just creating a diversion for the main mission, Kanan intends to use his time on the planet to teach Ezra more about The Force.  Instead of avoiding the “shadow-beasts” that nearly killed Hera and Sabine, Kanan wants Ezra to connect with these creatures.  A touching and masterfully delivered Master-Padawan moment ensues.  This sequence is the second best one of the entire show thus far.  The single best sequence (so far) happens right afterward!  The Inquisitor and his troops take the bait and follow Kanan to the base.  Inquisitor vs. Kanan round 2 takes place, with The Inquisitor taking the upper hand.  The Inquisitor is so flippin’ stylish and menacing that I can hardly stand it.  Consider me an Inquisitor groupie at this point.  With Kanan unable to hang, Ezra is left as the last line of defense.  In quintessential Star Wars fashion, The Inquisitor goads Ezra into harnessing his dark potential.  This plays out in the most stark and impressive show of Ezra’s untapped abilities.  We witness firsthand how powerful Ezra can be and what’s possible if his abilities are left unchecked and subject to the dark side!  This moment was defining for Rebels and has really boosted my confidence (and enjoyment) of the show.

Ezra's dark side potential personified - a shocking representation
Ezra’s dark side potential personified – a shocking representation.

It’s no surprise that Kanan and Ezra are able to elude capture from the clutches of the evil Empire yet again – they’re top class escape artists after all!  As the episode wraps up, viewers are left with just the right amount of questions and intrigue.  What will happen to Tseebo?  What really happened to Ezra’s parents?  What does Ezra’s brush with the dark side mean for his future?  I’ve doubted the Rebel’s production team’s ability to deliver continuity – this is mostly the fault of their predecessor series, The Clone Wars – but after “Gathering Forces” I’m convinced that this band of Disney TV makers knows what they’re doing.

We're sad too Ezra.  We have to wait a whole month for more Rebels
We’re sad too Ezra. We have to wait a whole month for more Rebels.

Star Wars Rebels gets a Hutt-sized A+ this week.  “Gathering Forces” is hands-down, the best episode of the series so far.  It wasn’t just great compared to the other episodes, it was great relative to some of the best moments of classic Star Wars.  It was super-cool, believable (for sci-fi) and most importantly, it felt like Star Wars.  The only bad thing about any of this is that the series will be taking a break for the holidays.  We’ll all have to wait until January for the adventure to continue.  Until then we’ll all have to practice Master Yoda’s timeless lesson of patience… Patience young Padawan…

Star Wars Rebels – “Empire Day” S1E8

Sabotage

Star Wars Rebels has reached a pivotal point.  All the basics have been covered.  Who are the rebels?  How do they work as a team?  What are their biggest strengths and weaknesses?  What challenges lie ahead?  We now know the answer to those questions.  So, now begins the true test for Rebels.  Where will Weisman and his team take this series from here?  It’s a defining time for Rebels.  This week’s episode, “Empire Day,” did a lot to give me confidence that the direction this show is headed is a good one.

The Empire may be evil, but they've got style!
The Empire may be evil, but they’ve got style! 

Before the beginning of the episode I thought to myself, “I wonder how Ezra’s Jedi training is progressing?”  Almost as if bending to my exact desires, the opening sequence brought us Kanan instructing Ezra in the ways of The Force.  This scene was well done.  Kanan is turning out to be an excellent mentor.  His insight to The Force is impressive and watching him use that insight in action is consistently cool.

As the training continues it’s obvious that Ezra is struggling and distracted.  We learn that this day in particular is “Empire Day.”  Empire Day is an Imperial celebratory occasion that marks the day the Imperial Empire was established throughout the galaxy.  It is the 15th Empire Day on record, meaning (finally) we have a bit of time-reference.  15 years have passed since Order 66 and the downfall of the Old Republic – a good amount of time has passed since Episode III!

Empire Day is a tough day for Ezra
Empire Day is a tough day for Ezra

What better day to rebel than Empire Day?!  Our heroes feel the same way.  They’ve picked up a new mission to sabotage a brand new type of TIE fighter to be presented at the Empire Day parade on Lothal.  This new line of TIE is similar to Darth Vader’s TIE Advanced X1 – it looks sweet!  It’s almost a shame that the rebels have to blow it to bits.  Watching Kanan and crew carry out their mission jogged my memory of the plot in the episode prior – who is giving the rebels their missions?  The name we got last episode was Fulcrum.  I held out all episode long hoping there would be some mention of what happened to him.  I’m very frustrated to say that I did not get my wish.  I’ve said it before and I’ll continue saying it until it’s fixed: The primary hurdle in making Rebels great (as opposed to just “good”) is continuity!!!  So far the continuity has been decent, though verging on mediocre.  So much is to be gained by simply stringing these episodes together in a clear and simple fashion.

The rebels have a new ally - Tseebo!
The rebels have a new ally – Tseebo!

In the midst of the rebel’s destructive scheming both Agent Kallus and The Inquisitor are on Lothal working an assignment.  Surprisingly enough, their mission has nothing to do with Ezra, Zeb or any of the rebels.  They’re looking for a Rodian named Tseebo.  What’s so important about a single Rodian that would warrant the attention of BOTH Kallus and The Inquisitor?!  More on that in a bit.

After successfully carrying out their mission the rebels search for a place to lay low.  Ezra offers to take them all to a location where they’ll be safe for a while.  We come to find that this place is Ezra’s old home.  We get major insight to Ezra’s past this episode.  He used to live here with both his parents who were outspoken anti-Imperialists.  “Used to” being the key words.  Ezra’s parents were abducted by the Empire for hosting a secret, rebel radio show on Lothal.  We also learn that Empire Day is Ezra’s birthday!  By way of chance (or perhaps The Force!!), on-the-run Tseebo has also chosen to hide in Ezra’s old home.  We learn that Tseebo was a good family friend of the Bridgers and that he has joined the intelligence branch of the Empire.  Only now he is on the run.  It’s unclear why he’s running, but that’s mostly because he’s a little unstable and incoherent due to the faulty cybernetic headpiece attached to his skull.  All this could be the lead into the defining event of Rebels.

Kanan defending his team from the persistent Agent Kallus
Kanan defending his team from the persistent Agent Kallus

With historic ties to Ezra and potential for obtaining valuable Imperial secrets, the rebels opt to help Tseebo escape off world.  An exciting chase takes place as Kallus, The Inquisitor and numerous Imperial troops team up to try and thwart the getaway.  I can’t get over how awesome The Inquisitor looks.  This week he dons a flight suit with a bad ass helmet and it took all I had to not drool all over the remote.

Darth Vader could pick up a few style tips from The Inquisitor!
Darth Vader could pick up a few style tips from The Inquisitor!

The extraction is just barely successful and the rebels shoot out into space.  But not before Tseebo encounters a brief moment of lucidity and realizes where he and who he is with.  He recognizes Ezra and excitedly exclaims that he knows what’s happened to his parents!  That’s where the episode ends – a true-blue cliffhanger!  What I like most about this is now Weisman is forced to deliver continuity.  Maybe this is a statement from the Rebels production team that they understand what this series needs and that they plan to deliver.  In any case the trajectory is positive.

“Empire Day” scores an A this week.  The entire episode felt deeply rooted in the themes of the original trilogy.  This was an episode that focused on a story and an upcoming journey.  It was accentuated with action and suspense and it left me wanting more.  We’re getting close to the home stretch for season 1 – fingers crossed for a worthy buildup and conclusion!

Star Wars Rebels – “Rise of the Masters of Old” S1E5

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Last week’s episode of Rebels was a fairly disappointing experience.  In many ways it reminded me of The Clone Wars animated series (which I was not very fond of).  My expectations were tempered this week.  I’m happy to report that those expectations were blown to space dust!  Every single grievance I had last week was addressed in this episode; it’s almost like the producers read Hush’s “Fighter Flight” review and decided to shape up!  “Rise of the Old Masters” took Rebels to a new level.  Let’s dive into the details!

Yep!  That's Ezra upside-down on top of the FLYING Ghost!
Yep! That’s Ezra upside-down on top of the FLYING Ghost!

An aspect that has been continuously neglected thus far is Ezra’s Jedi training.  The opening sequence did a lot to squash that neglect.  We enter with Ezra practicing his Jedi skills as instructed by Kanan.  Ezra uses one hand to balance his upside-down body on top of The Ghost while it’s in flight!!!  The scene is mesmerizing and it’s impossible not to draw a connection to Luke’s training on Dagobah in Episode V.  There’s even a Yoda quote thrown into this scene!  I really bought into Kanan’s method and instruction.  The added distraction from Chopper and Zeb was comedic, but also relevant to Ezra’s training.  Altogether, it was the perfect way to start the episode.

After a little misstep in Ezra’s training, the crew takes a break to check the underground Holo-news to see what’s bubbling in the galaxy.  What they find is their next mission.  Luminara Unduli is alive and an Imperial prisoner!  Die-hard fans will draw an immediate connection with the Jedi Master of the Old Republic.  She was thought to have died in the events of Order 66.  After witnessing a brief holo-clip of Luminara being transported to an Imperial prison facility Kanan urges his team to help him orchestrate a rescue.  The team agrees and gets to work.

Luminara Unduli.  Jedi Master - Imperial Prisoner.
Luminara Unduli. Jedi Master – Imperial Prisoner.

The decision to rescue Luminara brings out a lot of enduring qualities of the rebels.  I won’t touch on them all, but overall, the decision alone speaks to why this band is destined for greatness.  Risking their lives to penetrate one of the most secure holding facilities of the Empire to rescue an ally, all on independent fruition and for no monetary gain, gives me faith that a strong and unified rebellion is possible under this team.

The next nod I’ll give to the Rebels creative team is their decision to place the Imperial prison on a different planet!  Lothal was getting really old.  Viewers got to experience a refreshing change of scenery.  But more than that, this new planet presented unique and unexpected challenges for the rebels.  Who knew that such a carefully planned rescue mission could be thrown askew by giant flying beasts looking for a little affection from The Ghost’s dropship?!  Hera does a superb job at not only overcoming this obstacle, but using it to her advantage at the best possible opportunity.  Visiting a new planet and giving Hera a meaningful role really amplified this episode’s greatness.

Hey baby... You come here often?
Hey baby… You come here often?

All this awesomeness and we still haven’t gotten to the best part!  Well, let’s not waste anymore time.  The Inquisitor finally makes his appearance!!  It took a premiere movie and three other episodes, but he’s finally here!  The Inquisitor’s introduction was probably the thing I was most excited for in this first season of Rebels.  Historically Star Wars has excelled in initial (key word here) crafting of their villains.  Vader, Palpatine, Maul, Boba Fett, Cad Bane, Mother Talzin, Count Dooku, Grand Moff Tarkin, General Grievous… I could go on, but I’ll spare the page.  My point is every Star Wars bad guy stepped onto the scene in a major way and each of them has some unique trait or quality that made our bones shake.  This usually doesn’t last because the franchise also has a strong history of bastardizing or otherwise ruining a villain and what we love most about them.  We won’t get into that right now – instead, let’s talk about why the Inquisitor holds true to that initial formula.  He is sinister.  He is clever.  He is powerful and dangerous.  He is BAD-ASS!

The Inquisitor vs. Kanan - Round 1
The Inquisitor vs. Kanan – Round 1

We come to find that the rescue mission is actually – queue Ackbar – A TRAP!  Let me be the first to say though – I didn’t see this one coming.  The trap part I could have guessed.  But the lure!!  Luminara was seen, actually seen, being transported by Imperial Stormtroopers to the prison complex.  So how is it that when our heroes arrive at her holding cell, all they find is her dried and withered remains along with The Inquisitor?!  Now, I’m pretty well versed in all things pertaining to The Force, but I’ve never seen a trick like the one The Inquisitor pulled off.  Kanan, a full-fledged Jedi Knight, SENSED Luminara’s presence, he SAW her.  What Kanan sensed and saw was actually something conjured and manipulated in The Force.  I don’t yet understand how this was possible, but the ultimate takeaway is that The Inquisitor’s understanding of The Force is impressive.

Oh, hey LuminarAHH!!
Oh, hey LuminarAHH!!

Reason number two why the Inquisitor is a badass: double-bladed, spinning lightsaber.  I vividly remember the goosebumps I had witnessing Darth Maul brandish a double-bladed lightsaber for the first time in Episode I.  I had the same goosebumps this week watching Rebels.  This weapon is sooo beautiful, all the way from hilt to blades.  The way The Inquisitor wields the weapon is stunning and terrifying.  I’m a sucker for new, futuristic weaponry regardless of how hokey they might be.  So let it go on record that I am completely enraptured with The Inquisitor’s choice of weapon and I can’t wait to see more of it.

This isn't your standard lightsaber  people.
This isn’t your standard lightsaber people.

The last thing I’ll say about The Inquisitor is that more than just being powerful in The Force and wielding the coolest weapon in the galaxy, his overall persona is on point for Star Wars villainy.  His sinister expression, the calm/confident demeanor and his regal attitude all serve to make him a believable and endearing character.  Having The Inquisitor on screen makes up for many of Rebel’s shortcomings thus far.

Hush Comics gives “Rise of the Old Masters” a resounding A for adding creative diversity, showcasing the most beloved aspects of the franchise and for finally giving us The Inquisitor!  The trajectory is upward at the end of the week.  Stay on course Weisman!

All Pictures belong to Disney.