Best television president: Frank Underwood or Laura Roslin? | The Tylt

Best television president: Frank Underwood or Laura Roslin?

Frank Underwood (played by Kevin Spacey on "House of Cards") will go down in television history as one of the darkest and greatest political characters of all time. Bribery, blackmail, murder—he will stop at nothing in his quest for power. Laura Roslin (played by Mary McDonnell on "Battlestar Galactica") fights heroically to preserve democracy during a vicious dystopian war with the Cylons—but she's not afraid to blow people out of an airlock either. Who is the best television president? 

FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Best television president: Frank Underwood or Laura Roslin?
#Underwood4President
A festive crown for the winner
#Roslin4President
Dataviz
Real-time Voting
Best television president: Frank Underwood or Laura Roslin?
#Underwood4President
#Roslin4President

Who is the greatest TV president of all time? We're down to the Final Four!

In these troubled political times, debating who played the best small-screen Commander-in-Chief is a welcome exercise in escapism. These fictional characters faced scheming staff members, terrorism, assassination attempts, and Cylon attacks; they've had affairs, murdered people, and been driven from office by electoral college ties.

So who wins your vote for TV's best American president?

imageSupportingMedia
#Underwood4President

Underwood stopped at nothing to reach the nation's highest office. He strangled a dog and pushed a reporter in front of a train. His crimes are legion, but like Hannibal Lector in "The Silence Of The Lambs," he's so nakedly evil and charismatically brilliant that audiences secretly root for him to succeed. And he claims to love his Lady Macbeth-like wife (played to icy perfection by Robin Wright) "like sharks love blood." 

imageSupportingMedia
#Roslin4President

But could Frank Underwood hang onto power during an interstellar holocaust that destroys the Twelve Colonies and nearly all of their human inhabitants? President Roslin has become a feminist icon, and for good reason:

"In 'Battlestar Galactica,' a woman is president—and she’s the best president ever. Laura Roslin is a ruthless protector of civil rights and the only person who has the guts to go toe-to-toe with the military commander, Bill Adama. She’s pragmatic but not unemotional. And while she’s making all the hard decisions, she’s also battling recurring breast cancer."
imageSupportingMedia
#Roslin4President

This former schoolteacher is noble, intelligent, and strong, but she also doesn't hesitate to eliminate those who threaten the surviving remnants of the human race. She was ruthless when she had to be. You gotta give it up for a president who makes "airlock" into a verb.

#Underwood4President

But is there anything better than Underwood breaking the fourth wall to deliver sarcasm-laden Machiavellian wisdom in his southern drawl?

#Underwood4President

Despite his ruthlessness, or perhaps because of it, there are plenty of people who would love to see Underwood be our president.

#Underwood4President
#Roslin4President

Like Frank, Laura Roslin bent the law and sometimes engaged in decidedly undemocratic behavior. But her goal wasn't domination: it was saving the 50,000 surviving members of humanity from extinction. Here's Mary McDonnell's take on President Roslin's use (and occasional abuse) of power:

Laura Roslin's presidency was unique in that she became president during war and cataclysm without the energy of ambition fueling her decisions.This made her very different from the women in power that we see on TV. Her story was one of a woman grappling with untapped, literally unrecognized, qualities, classically male, in order to achieve one paramount goal: the survival of the human race.
#Roslin4President
#Roslin4President

Legions of "Battlestar Galactica" fans long for a President Roslyn IRL. In fact, McDonnell was recently introduced as "the president wish we had" at a BSG reunion.

#Roslin4President
#Roslin4President
FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Best television president: Frank Underwood or Laura Roslin?
#Underwood4President
A festive crown for the winner
#Roslin4President