I was raised on Star Trek original series, but when I was 7 and this show started it was cool because I felt like I was on the ground floor of a new Trek. I was also just getting old enough to really enjoy it and understand some of what was going on.
My favorite characters? I mean I love them all, but if I was going to choose it would be Riker, Picard, Q, and Data.
I've always been drawn to Riker though, as he is a no-BS kicker of arses. (trying to keep it somewhat PG lol). Also the dude gets all the ladies in the 24th century. He is the natural extension of Kirk in that way I feel.