Category Archives: Character Review

Manifest Character Review: Michaela Stone

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series ManifestRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

When times are tough, belief is sometimes all we have to get by. On Manifest, Michaela Stone has just survived a very strange plane ride. Arriving back in New York City with her brother Ben (Josh Dallas) and nephew Cal (Jack Messina) five and a half years after getting on a flight home from vacation, she finds that her world has changed. Her mother is dead and her now ex-boyfriend Jared Vasquez (J.R. Ramirez) is married to Michaela’s best friend.

Things get complicated when Michaela has to go back to work as a police officer with Jared as her partner. Then the callings come, guiding her to do things that are not quite explainable. This leads her to Zeke Landon (Matt Long), bringing up Jared’s jealousy after they slept together. Eventually, Zeke and Michaela get married.

Through all of this, she follows the callings, believing in their message. While she goes on belief, her brother Ben goes on logic, looking for some sort of connection for what they have been through.

To sum it up: Some may think that believing is hokey or old fashioned. But it is has the power to give us hope when we have none. Michaela’s belief in following what she knows is right leads her to answer the questions in front of her and find the love of her life.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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Manifest Character Review: Ben Stone

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series ManifestRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

It is amazing how a single moment can forever change the course of our lives. At the point, who we are is divided in half: before that moment and after that moment.

On Manifest, Ben Stone’s (Josh Dallas) journey starts with an ordinary event. Coming home from vacation to his home in New York City with his family, they are greeted with the announcement that their flight is overbooked. Due to the financial concerns with his son Cal’s (Jack Messina) cancer treatment, Ben, Cal, and Ben sister’s Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh) agree to take a later flight.

While in the air, the plane hits turbulence. When it finally lands, the passengers are informed that they have been missing for over five years. But while the time has not passed for those on the plane, it has passed for everyone else.

Needless too say, getting back to their pre-flight normal is far from his easy. Ben’s wife, Grace (Athena Karkanis) is torn between her husband and a relationship that has developed in the years since they were separated. Their daughter, Olive (Luna Blaise) is still resentful that her father’s attention was on her brother and has gotten used to being father-less.

On top of that, Ben starts hearing voices (known as the callings), directing him to do things which he is not quite sure about. Pulled into the mystery of what happened on that plane and getting his son back to health, he is not the same man as he was before. He can also be very single minded at certain times, making it difficult to see the rest of the world around him.

To sum it up: Our lives are never static, as much as we would like them to be. Change is happening around us, whether we recognize it or not. It is how we react to that change that shapes us. Ben is one of those characters who is smart enough to recognize that his life is not the same. He knows that it would be foolish to deny what has happened to him, he can only play the cards that he has been dealt.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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All in the Family Character Review: Maude Finley

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series All in the FamilyRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

Our families, as much as we love them, can drive us crazy. The same goes for the families that we marry into. In an ideal world, we would get along with our in-laws. But we don’t live in an ideal world.

On All in the Family, Maude Findlay (the late Bea Arthur) is Edith Bunker’s (the late Jean Stapleton) cousin. Maude arrives when Edith is sick, seeing that she is needed. She gets along great with Mike and Gloria (Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers). But there is one person who she does not get along with: Edith’s husband, Archie (the late Carroll O’Connor).

Maude is an out and proud liberal. Archie firmly believes in the ideals of the political right. They get along like oil and water, knowing exactly how to push each other’s buttons. Edith tries to keep the peace, but to no avail.

To sum it up: Every great character needs someone to challenge them. Maude challenges Archie at his level, matching biting remark for biting remark. Neither tops the other, though they do try.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

This will be my last All in the Family Character Review post. The next group of characters I will be reviewing is…come back next week and find out.

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All in the Family Character Review: Gloria Stivic

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series All in the FamilyRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

Ideally, when we marry, the family we are born into and raised by will get along with our new spouse and their family. But that is not always the case. On All in the Family, Gloria Stivic (Sally Struthers) is the only child of Archie and Edith Bunker (the late Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton). Married to Michael “Meathead” Stivic (Rob Reiner), Gloria is the peace maker between her liberal husband and her conservative father who refers to her as “little girl”.

During the first few years of their marriage, Gloria supports her husband while he attends college. Working at a department store, she only has a high school education, which does not help during arguments with Mike. After Mike receives his degree, they move into the house next door to her parents and welcome their son into the world.

Unafraid to speak her mind, Gloria can verbally tussle with her father as no one else can. As a young woman in the 1970’s, she speaks for the feminists of that generation, who were just starting to ramp up the fight for equality.

After they move to California, Gloria and Mike’s marriage falls apart. She eventually returns to New York as a single mother, working in a veterinarians office.

To sum it up: It’s a tough place to be in, torn between between the person you married and the family who you have known your entire life. But Gloria is somehow able to figure out how to walk that very thin tightrope without ruining her relationship with her parents and her husband.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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All in the Family Character Review: Michael “Meathead” Stivic

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series All in the FamilyRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

Marriage, we are told is a compromise. It is also more than the coming together of two people making what will hopefully be a lifetime commitment. It is the coming together of two families. But whether or not these families learn to like or even love each other is another story.

Michael “Meathead” Stivic is the liberal son-in-law of Archie & Edith Bunker (the late Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton). Michael or Mike as he is called, initially lives with his wife, Gloria (Sally Struthers) and his in-laws while attending college. To say that Mike and Archie don’t get along is an understatement. Nicknamed “meathead” by Archie, their arguments can go from 0 to 60 in an instant.

But just because he leans politically to the left does not mean that he is perfect. He can be racist and chauvinistic at times, forcing a hard look in the mirror. He is also not the perfect husband. When his son was a baby, Mike got a job in California. This was unfortunately the beginning of the end of the marriage. More than a decade after Mike and Gloria married, their divorce was finalized.

To sum it up: Politics and familial relationships do not always make easy bedfellows. That being said, that does mean that just because you are related to someone on the other side of the political aisle, that you are all good and they are all bad. It is about trying to see the other side and finding some sort of common ground. Unfortunately, as admirable as some audience members might think Mike he is, he might be too much like his father-in-law for his own comfort.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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All in the Family Character Review: Edith Bunker

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series All in the FamilyRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

For an untold number of generations, women have been told that the only acceptable role is that of a wife. She is expected to cook, clean, stay home to take care of her child(ren), and ensure that her husband is happy. But what few realize is that this woman (especially in a traditional hetero-normative family), is that she is her family’s backbone. Without her endless support and work, their lives would not be the same.

On All in the Family, Edith Bunker (the late Jean Stapleton) is not the brightest bulb in the box. Which causes endless irritation for her less than understanding husband, Archie (the late Carroll O’Connor). His favorite nickname for her is “dingbat”.

But what she does not have in traditional academic intelligence, she makes up for with a huge heart. Her willingness to be open to those who Archie derides proves that having an open mind is just an important as being smart.

One of the other things about intellect is that it is not limited to one way of thinking. When Edith is nearly raped, she has enough presence of mind to distract her rapist and get away to safety. She also has the ability from time to time to knock her husband down a peg or two as only she can.

To sum it up: Though Edith comes off as a ditz, there is much more to her than meets the eye. She is warm, caring, understanding, and tolerates her husband’s less than endearing quirks.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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All in the Family Character Review: Archie Bunker

The new characters I will be reviewing are from…All in the Family.

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series All in the FamilyRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

From a writer’s perspective, it would be too easy to create a one note character that is entirely predictable. It is much harder to create a fully rounded character who the audience can relate to in-spite of that person’s flaws and imperfect humanity.

Archie Bunker (the late Carroll O’Connor) is very much an every man. A veteran of World War II and a blue collar worker, Archie lives in Queens with his wife Edith (the late Jean Stapleton), his daughter Gloria (Sally Struthers), and his son-in-law Mike “Meathead” Stivic (Rob Reiner).

The world around Archie is changing. When change happens, there are two ways to respond. You can either accept it or entirely reject it. Archie is not shy in admitting that he would prefer that life went back to the way it was. He also is not shy about using not so politically correct terms that some might refer to as racist or sexist.

Archie is a dyed in the wool supporter of the Republican Party and then President Richard Nixon. Which often leads to clashes with Mike and Gloria, who politics are on the more liberal spectrum. He also refers to Edith as “dingbat” and loves to sit in his favorite chair while sharing his opinions about the world around him.

But underneath that gruff and bravado is a man who loves his family and at the end of the day, would do anything for them.

To sum it up: No one is just all good or all bad. It is that in between of good and bad that makes us human. Though Archie Bunker may appear to be a racist and sexist hard-ass, he is in reality a man trying to process the transformation of everything that is in front of him.

That is why he is a memorable character.

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New Amsterdam Character Review: Karen Brantley

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series New AmsterdamRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

Managing a large organization is not easy. It requires negotiation, patience, and the ability to make tough decisions. But that does not mean that those decisions will always go over well.

On New Amsterdam, Karen Brantley (Debra Monk) is a wealthy businesswoman and the Chair of the Board of Directors at New Amsterdam Medical Center. Her business perspective often clashes with Medical Director Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold). His point of view is that the patients come first and the business side of running the hospital comes second. Even if that means stepping out of the box. The problem with this is that Karen is often left cleaning up the mess of Max’s unorthodox choices.

But Karen is not all work and no play. When a impromptu memorial is put up in memory of those who were lost to drug abuse, Karen reveals a part of her life that no one knew up to that point. She includes an image of her daughter, who died from her addiction.

In a light-heartened moment that surprised both the audience and the characters, Karen receives a flirty text from Vijay Kapoor (Anupan Kher). She responds in kind.

To sum it up: A full character is one in which the audience sees the whole person and not just one aspect of their lives. A good writer knows how to slowly reveal who the character is outside of the initial introduction to the audience. The revelations of Karen Brantley outside of her role within the hospital gives both the audience and the other characters a chance to know her and have a complete understanding of her motivations.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

This will be the last New Amsterdam Character Review post. The next group of characters I will be reviewing are…will be revealed next week.

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New Amsterdam Character Review: Cassian Shin

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series New AmsterdamRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

On a long running series, a new character is akin to a newborn baby. The arc of this character is a mystery, making it fun for both the writer and the audience to discover who this person is.

On New Amsterdam, the newest doctor to join the team is Cassian Shin (Daniel Dae Kim). As talented as he is in the world of medicine, he came off to his new colleagues as arrogant and a know it all.

To sum it up: The exciting thing about Cassian is that he is full of possibilities. We have yet to discover who this man is, creating the desire to learn as much as we can about him.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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New Amsterdam Character Review: Rohan Kapoor

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series New AmsterdamRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

One of the core aspects of being an adult is taking responsibility for your actions, good or bad. However, not every adult is willing or able to do that.

On New Amsterdam, Rohan Kapoor (Vandit Bhatt) is the estranged son of Vijay Kapoor (Anupam Kher). Their attempt at a brief reunion is complicated by Rohan’s romance with Ella (Deirdre Friel). That relationship ends when Rohan runs away, leaving his father flabbergasted and Ella pregnant.

To sum it up: Unfortunately, Rohan’s choices are nothing new. There are many people who may appear to be grown, but whose reaction are far from grown. As a character, Rohan stands out because his actions force his father and Ella together in ways that are unexpected.

That is why he is a memorable character.

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