We've all been there a million times: Flicking through Netflix or Amazon or Hulu with no idea what to commit to watching. Nothing immediately grabs your interest and the plot descriptions aren't selling any of them. Thankfully a newly-launched site called CharacTour offers a new way to think about movies, TV shows, books, and video games: Through their characters.
I got a chance to contribute to the site so admittedly I might be a tad biased. But it's a fun place to spend an afternoon and a potentially invaluable tool for actually deciding what to watch.
Basically CharacTour is an expansive online database for fictional characters. Like Facebook or a dating website, each character gets their own profile page. So far the site has over 4,500 spoiler-free profiles about characters' origins, interests, skills, and journeys. Not only can you search for your favorites, you can find new characters to love as well. For instance, fans of Spock can find other characters like him in the upper right hand corner of his profile:
But there are other ways to find new characters too: Take a simple Personalized Match quiz and instantly find characters who are similar to you (getting Liz Lemon as my number one match was a life highlight for me). The Character Designer platform allows you to select multiple traits and see which characters match them. (Who's "brainy," "romantically challenged," and "manipulative"? The Simpsons' Mr. Burns of course!) And you can also Mash Up two characters to see which third character would be their spiritual "love child" (Luke Skywalker + The Little Mermaid = Ray Kinsella from Field Of Dreams).
And for those who love algorithms, CharacTour has an impressive one that lets users Browse by factors including gender, profession, ethnicity, time period, genre, and more. Want to watch movies or TV shows featuring LGBTQ characters of color? Or perhaps ones featuring female scientists? Or maybe something set in the 19th century in which a character struggles with addiction? With a few clicks you can get a list of shows and movies that match your specifications and be well on your way to watching The Wire, Contact, or A Tale Of Two Cities. Plus you can even search specifically for movies and TV shows that are currently available via steaming services. So if I want to watch a female coming of age story on Netflix I can easily learn that Short Term 12, Mansfield Park, and Mean Girls are a few of my options.
The site also has interactive sections that let users voice their opinions about all sorts of different characters. Use Rankings to up- and down- vote Top 20 lists such as "Female Characters Who Would Get Our Vote for President," "Characters Who Picked the Wrong Side of a Love Triangle," and "Killers We Would Like to Have a Beer With."
Plus the Weigh In section lets users cast their vote on all kinds of different topics from the weirdest character Johnny Depp has ever played to the saddest death on Game Of Thrones. And as always, the comment sections around the site provide ample opportunity to talk (and/or argue) about your favorite characters.
Check out CharacTour right here.