We've already covered the most villainous TV characters of 2011. Now, it's time to debate their sworn enemies.
In the latest edition of an end-of-the-year Round Table discussion, TV Fanatic staff members were asked to weigh in on their favorite fictional protagonist of the past 12 months, along with the reason why they found him or her so inspiring. Read their responses below and then cast a vote on the following question:
WHO WAS THE MOST HEROIC CHARACTER OF 2011?
Matt Richenthal: Clark Kent. The guy turned into Superman this year on Smallville.
Carissa Pavlica: Oh geez. This is where all the Fringe fans think I don't absolutely adore Olivia Dunham (which I do), because I'm going to say Peter Bishop. He gave his life to try to save everyone he loves in two universes. He had no idea what the outcome might be, only that it must be done. That spells hero to me!
Leigh Raines: Coach Eric Taylor, Friday Night Lights. He helped mold a team of lost kids in East Dillon and gave faith and pride back to a town that was overshadowed for some many years. But, in the end, he puts his family above all. My definition of a hero: amazing character, sense of community, family values. Coach Taylor for MVP.
Eric Hochberger: Ned Stark. On a show where the distinction between good and evil was a grey area, Eddard remained true to himself and the House Stark at all times.
Arlene Gonzalez: Jax Teller from Sons of Anarchy. Only wanting to do good for Tara and his two boys, he finally wrested control of the club from Clay's maniacal hands and took his rightful place on the throne.
Jim Garner: Fiona Glenanne on Burn Notice. She turned herself in for something she didn't do to keep Michael from being blackmailed into burning other agents.
Christine Orlando: I've got to go with my favorite show, Castle. At the end of last season Rick Castle didn't hesitate to jump in front of a bullet to save Kate Beckett's life. And even though she's not yet ready to take the romantic plunge with him, he stands by her side and never wavers, coffee in hand every morning. Add to it that he is one of the most loving fathers (to daughter Alexis) and devoted sons (to mom Martha) on TV and I think Rick Castle deserves a nod as one of the 2011 TV heroes.
Dan Forcella: He may not have had the correct motives all the time, but Walter White was mighty heroic towards the end of Breaking Bad's fourth season. For maybe the first time in series history, his plan came together from beginning to end, and Walter took out one of the most powerful villains on television in Gustavo Fring.
Steve Marsi: Leroy Jethro Gibbs. I would elaborate, but in deference to the man himself, shall not waste valuable seconds on trivialities. Gibbs is not interested in made-up accolades, only in doing his job while using the minimum number of words required for survival.
Carla Day: She may be crazy, but Carrie Mathison (Homeland) was able to see the truth when no one else could and did what she thought was necessary to protect her country. Unfortunately, she will probably never know that she was right and that her talk with Dana prevented Brody's suicide attack against the Vice President and a bunker of government officials.
Your turn, readers: Who was the biggest hero of 2011?