On his Bad Signal mailing list, Warren Ellis mentioned that someone had pointed him at the American TV show House for an example of a "bastard" protagonist. Warren, predictably, appreciated the effort but found it lacking. This is because in American TV, "bastards" are mean to little children. In Warren Ellis' world, "bastards" beat little children to death, with parts of other little children.
I have a positively girlish fan-love for Hugh Laurie, so much so I passed up the chance to visit the set of the show when a friend was directing. I knew that if I met him I'd wind up making an ass of myself. I'm still enough of a geek fanboy to find some people cooler than the rest of us, and to choke accordingly. My voice cracked like a 12-year-old's on my first phone call to Michelle Forbes.
My appreciation of Laurie is not, however, becasue of his acting. Or his stellar writing on A Bit of Fry and Laurie, the sketch show he and Stephen Fry did back in the late '80's.
No, he wrote The Gun Seller. You haven't read it. Find it. Get it. Read the best spy-spoof-NOT-a-spoof written since the 60's. The violence crackles, the action scenes are incredibly well choreographed, the political insights are insightful (particularly for the time it was written), the dialogue -- both internal and external - laugh out loud funny. The back half of it winds up in an odd place, but by then you're far past caring. If I could craft a hero half as charming as Thomas Lang I'd claim the win, just bloody quit and go back to bartending.