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Fandom Friday: Go on a ride-along with your favorite TV action hero

It’s another Fandom Friday!

As a child of the ’80s, I loved the no-nonsense action hero who usually shot first, asked questions later, and always managed to take down the bad guys at the end. But in the ’90s, the world was no longer so black and white. Hollywood followed suit, and the action heroes became more contemplative, more flawed, and less inclined to pull the trigger before asking some tough questions.

Thankfully, television has come in to save the day. While the real world still provides drama tinted in shades of gray, TV gives us a way to escape and go on a journey with the heroes we wish existed in real life.

Now imagine that you have won the golden ticket, a once-in-a-lifetime chance to shadow one of your favorite TV action heroes. Whom would you choose?

Would you go with charming U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens from FX’s Justified? (The show returns on January 20 for its final season.) Or jump on the Team Machine bandwagon and tag along with the mysterious John Reese from CBS’s Person of Interest? Maybe you like your excitement on a grander scale. If geopolitics is your game, how about Jack Bauer from Fox’s 24 or Carrie Mathison from Showtime’s Homeland?

Luckily, you have EW Community to guide you. Remember, as you have chosen to accept this mission, you’re already a winner. We’re here to help you decide what brand of excitement best fits your needs. Enjoy!

Jack Bauer, 24

Why Jack: You want no-nonsense? Jack is your man … and then some. This former CTU agent is the ultimate patriot, who will stop at nothing to prevent a terrorist from harming our country—even if it means sacrificing himself. A day with Jack would consist of gun battles, car chases, explosions … and absolutely no time for romance. If you’re lucky, you might meet his sidekick, Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub), or even the president of the United States! Rule of thumb when going with Jack: Only adrenaline junkies need apply.

Why not: If you go with Jack, be prepared to deal with the consequences, which may include getting shot and/or tortured. Also, don’t get attached to anyone. Jack never slows down for anything, so throw hygiene out the window—no more showers or bathroom breaks. Remember to pack yourself a sack lunch. Expect “Damn it!” to become part of your vernacular. Forever.

Carrie Mathison, Homeland

Why Carrie: Like Jack Bauer, Carrie is a loyal patriot who takes the security of our country very seriously. Working for the CIA, the headstrong and determined agent often finds herself in the most dangerous places in the world. Currently, she is knee-deep in a terrorist plot hatched in Pakistan, uncovering corruption not only in their government, but ours as well. Carrie’s world is one of secrets and lies—so if you like playing without a net, then Carrie Mathison is your woman.

Why not: Don’t expect a lot of love from Carrie—she has a way of pushing people out of her life, whether it is lifelong confidants such as Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) or family—including her own baby daughter. There is also that pesky elephant in the room: her bipolar disorder, for which she currently takes medication to keep it in check.

Raylan Givens, Justified

Why Raylan: For those looking for down-home Southern charm, complete with cowboy boots and hat, you can’t do better than Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens. This lawman takes down the bad guys while hardly breaking a sweat. Even when he’s chewed out by his superior, Art Mullen (Nick Searcy), he politely tips his hat and does it all over again. Raylan takes his job seriously; the criminals who keep him busy, not so much. He’s the perfect guy to have a cold beer with after a long day at the office.

Why not: Harlan County, Kentucky, may seem like a friendly place, but looks can be deceiving. There is a reason Raylan is constantly busy: Harlan County is home to drug dealers with a penchant for violence, as well as criminals just passing through from Detroit and Miami. Then there’s Raylan’s frenemy Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), who may charm you with his loquaciousness right before going in for the kill. If Crowder gets you under his spell, it may be too late for even Raylan to save you.

John Reese, Person of Interest, CBS

John Reese, Person of Interest

Why Reese: With Reese, you get a two-for-one special. By day, he is a senior member of Team Machine. When your number is called, expect Reese and the gang to be at your doorstep. By night, he is Detective John Riley of the NYPD. (Or it’s the other way around—I forget.) Reese’s tough exterior hides one big heart of gold, and he’s loyal to a fault to his team members. He may seem cold at first, but once you guys become friends, you’ll be friends for life.

Why not: To quote Steve Buscemi’s character in Fargo, don’t expect “a fountain of conversation” during your time with Reese. (Trust me, Kevin Chapman’s Det. Fusco will more than make up for it.) Also, if you happen to be around when a number is called, Reese might not be so inclined to babysit you. You may find yourself hanging out with Finch (Michael Emerson), or taking Bear the dog out for walks.


Which TV action hero would you go on a ride-along with? Vote now!

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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