It appears that television has hit its stride. With a multitude of channels and various formats for presentation, including watching programs on demand or online, shows now have a range and quality that is unmatched in previous times.

In recent years, there have been hour-long dramas such as Lost, 24, The Shield, Nip/Tuck, The Wire, and The Sopranos that captivated audiences and left them wanting more. Furthermore, there are several half-hour sitcoms that are undeniably hilarious. Shows like The Office, 30 Rock, South Park and Scrubs provide many laughs for an eager audience. Even programs like The Colbert Report, Late Night with Conan O'Brien and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart provide a much-needed dose of satire and absurdity.

But which character created by this stellar crew of programming is the coolest? Who would you most want to be? The criteria for such a decision is obviously subjective; however, there are some characteristics that are necessary and usually only found in T.V. show characters.

First, they've got to be funny. There is no sense in being cool unless you can make people laugh. As much as most guys look up to the Clint Eastwoods of the world, when it comes down to it, one would rather be funny than tough and menacing.

Second, they've got to get the girl. Once again, how can someone be cool unless they get the girl or guy? (However, it is rare on television, or in real life for that matter, for the guy to be the prey and the girl the hunter.) The chief cause of envy in men is often the wooing power of another being greater than their own.

Third, they've got to have some intangible attribute. This one is rather vague, but their needs to be some quality that they have that separates them from everyone else on the show or television at large. (This attribute was described as "Carl-ness" in the film You, Me and Dupree.) Usually it is represented in some kind act of integrity or honor.

With that in mind, we present the three coolest characters on television, in no particular order.

Stan Marsh in South Park

But he's not even a real person, you might say. Be that as it may, Stan Marsh combines all of the listed attributes in such a way that distinguishes himself from the rest of the town of South Park. (Although, to be fair, he does have Randy Marsh as a father.) Stan is usually the moral center of most "South Park" episodes and as such serves as the leader. For instance, in the most recent episode Stan, with Kyle's help, tries to save Britney Spears from the harvest-crazed South Parkers. Moreover, he is the only fourth grader to have a love interest, the beautiful Wendy Testaburger. While he has been known to vomit on Wendy when things get too emotional, Stan still maintains his coolness in the process.

Dr. Christopher Turk in Scrubs

Turk, as he is known on the show, contains without a doubt the most "cool" ability in all of television. While displaying an acumen for saving lives with the help of a scalpel, Turk is married to a sexy, albeit sometimes annoying Latina wife. He is also the best dancer/lip-syncing doctor in the world and is unstoppable on the basketball court. In one episode he took the hospital air-band, Cool Cats, to unforeseen heights with his unquestioned ability as a dancing lead singer. Even though J.D. is the show's protagonist and "Scrubs" is mainly shown through his eyes, Turk is by far the most accomplished cool physician in television history.

Jim Halpert in The Office

We dare you to find a more endearing character trait than Jim looking into the camera and shrugging when something strange is afoot in "The Office." Despite being part of one of the best sales teams of all time, with partner Dwight, Jim has managed to prove his excellence on the basketball court, pulling elaborate pranks and getting the girl despite her engagement to another man. When one thinks of cool, one instinctively recollects how Jim once fooled Dwight that it was Thursday when it was in fact Friday so that he'd miss the next day. Or what about when he kissed Pam Beasley on Casino Night or when he made Dwight shove his phone into his face by slowly filling it with nickels and then taking them out? Jim has all those qualities necessary to be cool in spades, and we are lucky to be able to watch him operate.

Who do you think are the coolest characters on television? Make a comment!

Story by Taylor Tepper
Starpulse contributing writer