Top 20: Most Iconic Television Characters

andy_griffith_blog1Top 20: Most Iconic Television Characters

Television has been around for a long time, and we have seen some great television shows. From sitcoms, to dramas, to cartoons. But who are the most iconic characters? Who comes to mind when you think of great television personalities?

We have compiled our Top 20 here: (Click “Continue Reading”)

TV Breaking Bad Gallery1. Walter White – “Breaking Bad”

Breaking Bad’s chemistry teacher turned meth cook Walter White has to be one of the most complex characters in television history. The story behind “Breaking Bad” can be found in its title – it is about Walter and his journey breaking bad, a man’s journey to the dark side.

Our jaws fall closer and closer to the ground with each morally ambiguous decision made by Walter. One of the greatest television series about one of the most despicable, yet emotionally human characters. Portrayed with perfection by Bryan Cranston.

James-Gandolfini2. Tony Soprano – “The Sopranos”

Tony Soprano laid the groundwork for many more anti-heroes to come, including Walter White. Tony is put in charge of organized crime while juggling trips to a psychiatrist to discuss his trouble with panic attacks. Through the arc and relationship with his psychiatrist we see the cinematic sociopath dragged out and brought down to a human level. We don’t see the rise of bad like we do with Walter White, but we see the lingering humanity in the already converted.

spock3. Mr. Spock – “Star Trek

“Star Trek” was revolutionary home entertainment. Not all of the 60’s effects hold up, but having heart is what put the franchise above and beyond the average science fiction. Not all of the Enterprise crew could be human in this world, so we were introduced to one of the many alien species – Vulcans.

A Vulcan’s lack of emotion is a characteristic that contrasted the humanity of each installment as the Enterprise crew explores and discovers different cultures and species on different worlds. What makes Mr. Spock even more intriguing is that he isn’t completely Vulcan. With a human mother he displays the occasional burst of emotion. Spock was a window into what we would be like always thinking logically, and how, at times, our emotions can be a valuable asset.

hqdefault4. Fred Flintstone – “The Flintstones”

Many television shows, both cartoons and live action, would go on to follow the Fred Flintstone design for their characters. The stubborn, yet well-meaning, family-man whose personal traits often lure him into out-of-the-box situations. Providing for a family, dealing with a klutzy neighbor, we all laugh at Fred Flintstone, because to some degree he reminds us of ourselves.

lucy-ricardo5. Lucy Ricardo – “I Love Lucy”

It’s hard to ignore the title character of one of the most popular early sitcoms. Lucy Ricardo, married to her wife Ricky, would always find herself getting into trouble and falling into some wild escapades before being caught by her husband Ricky. The combination of spunk and charisma made Lucy an iconic name in television, it was also nice to see a 50’s sitcom driven so well by a female lead in Lucille Ball.

archie-bunker6. Archie Bunker – “All in the Family”

Blue-collar worker Archie Bunker of All in the Family became so iconic in his forms of bigotry and stubbornness, similar to Fred Flintstone only on a wider scale. Although he is stubborn, ignorant, ill-tempered and can even at times appear to be racist or sexist, he can also be seen as hard-working and a product of the times. You can almost say that Archie Bunker was one of the original anti-heroes. Unlike Fred Flintstone, when we laugh at Archie Bunker we aren’t laughing at ourselves, but rather who we use to be or something we know from that time era.

la-et-cm-dan-castellaneta-homer-simpson-to-sta-001

7. Homer Simpson – “The Simpsons”

You can’t have the longest running television series, and not have one of the most iconic television characters. Homer Simpson may have the stubborn traits of an Archie Bunker or a Fred Flintstone, but they are minuscule compared to his downright dimwittedness.

Homer Simpson took the “dumb dad” routine to a whole other level, while maintaining the warmth and determination of being a good family-man. Homer often becomes a product of his own determination which leads him into bizarre and sometimes looney situations expanded by the wide non-limitations of a cartoon world.

Eric-cartman-Steals-the-Election8. Eric Cartman – “South Park”

Many television producers have often used “Cartman” to describe a character trait. Eric Cartman can be painted the hero of one episode of South Park and then the villain of the next one, but the one thing that remains constant is that he is utterly despicable.

He is loudest and most fowl character in the South Park universe, but Parker and Stone have found a tolerable balance between friend and villain with this character. Always in the game for his own selfish neediness, but, in South Park fashion, sometimes takes it to a whole other, dark level.

thecityontheedgeofforeverhd0329. Captain James T. Kirk – “Star Trek”

The handsome, bold captain of the USS Enterprise. There wouldn’t be a Spock without a Kirk. On the exterior James Tiberius Kirk is designed to look like your stereotypical hero, he is strong, cocky, handsome, and he is a leader. But what Roddenberry was best at was keeping his characters human.

You can find many differences in leadership between Kirk and “Star Trek: The Next Generation’s” Captain Picard. Picard is stern and poised in the face of danger whereas Kirk is bold and passionate. Kirk won’t second guess violating the prime directive, if it means doing what is humanly right.

bugs-bunnyreclining-499x367

10. Bugs Bunny – “The Looney Tunes”

Some would call Bugs Bunny’s mannerisms – annoying. There are instances of him being approached, but he often targets the other toons and relentlessly harasses them. And we laugh hysterically while he does it.

Since Bugs Bunny we’ve seen this mannerism in many other cartoon characters – Spongebob, Jerry from “Tom & Jerry”, and many others. They are all painted as the hero, and we love watching the antics that ensue during Bugs Bunny’s destruction.

Alternates: 

11. The Doctor – “Doctor Who”
12. Hawkeye Pierce – “MASH”
13. Kermit the Frog – “The Muppet Show”
14. Mary Richards – “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”
15. Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarellie – “Happy Days”
16. Gilligan – “Gilligan’s Island”
17. Jean-Luc Picard – “Star Trek: The Next Generation”
18. Ralph Kamden – “The Honeymooners”
19. Al Bundy – “Married with Children”
20. Andy Taylor – “The Andy Griffith Show”

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About Matthew Durham

Passionate about Film, TV and Video Games. BS in Film. Post-Production Editor for The Golf Channel and Writer for TheMedia10.com

2 thoughts on “Top 20: Most Iconic Television Characters

  1. I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the page layout of your site?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of
    content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 pictures.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

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