I’m quite taken with a character in a TV show these days — “quite taken” meaning I kinda have a crush on her. The character is Caroline, played by Sarah Lancashire, in the British series Last Tango in Halifax.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t have any sort of crush on Sarah, because I don’t know Sarah; I’m infatuated with Caroline, the creation of a fine writer as interpreted and presented by an excellent actress. That seems to be such an obvious statement, right — something you would think wouldn’t need to be said.

But lots of people idolize and adore actors beyond the roles they play — without ever personally knowing the actors. How many people believe they have a crush on, say, Benedict Cumberbatch when, in fact, they really love a character he has portrayed?

Kwai Chang Caine
Kwai Chang Caine

The TV character who had the biggest impact on me, and who still has a big impact on me, was Kwai Chang Caine in the old series Kung Fu. His transcendental philosophy on life fit perfectly with mine: I see all of us as embodied spiritual entities who have set out from the peaceful oasis of the figurative temple to experience life in the material world — perhaps a playground of the gods, yes? Some of you may have noticed by now that I have a particular metaphysical bent, which manifested itself early in my childhood.

So, when Kwai Chang appeared on the scene during my later teenage years, I recognized his journey as my journey, and not long afterward I was reacquainted with works by transcendental Theosophists like Annie Besant and, of course, H.P.B. I say “reacquainted” because I felt like they were old friends, especially Annie. (But there I go getting metaphysical again.)

But my love for Kwai Chang did not transfer to the man who portrayed him so well: David Carradine. I would have gladly shook his hand, hugged him and thanked him for doing such a fine job with the Kwai Chang character (OK, maybe shared a joint or two with him), but I wouldn’t have developed any sort of crush on him unless I got to know him well.

Incidentally: I think it is important to applaud writers of TV shows we like — perhaps drop them a line on Twitter — because they are often the unsung heroes.  I’ve done that, on occasion, and usually get a reply thanking me. As a writer of sorts myself, I know feedback is important.

So, how about you: Which TV characters have struck a chord in your life?

— Jillian