Great TV Character Names


Shakespeare famously wrote that “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, implying that it isn’t what you name something that’s important, but the actual character of what’s behind the name. That’s all well and good when we’re debating inner beauty versus actual beauty, but sometimes a name says a lot about a person or thing. Sometimes a name gives you insight into where a person is from, or maybe some of their family history. Also, sometimes names are just awesome. Here are some of the best names ever to be attached to a TV character.

Sterling Archer

Sterling Malory Archer, codename “Duchess”, is the lead character of the show Archer on F/X. A spy for Isis by trade, he’s equally bumbling and brilliant, all while drinking too much and womanizing to a degree that makes you pretty sure he has some type of STD. What makes the name so great is that it screams spy. It’s James Bond (though Sterling hates to make those comparisons), but animated.

Cosmo Kramer

Seinfeld was one of the most successful television shows of all time, and the character played by Michael Richards was for the longest time known only by his last name, partly because nobody knew if that was his first or last name. That name alone would probably help him make the list, but the fact that in season six we learn that his real first name is Cosmo only adds to it. Looking at the picture I think it’s fair to say that he looks like a Cosmo Kramer.

Token Black

You can argue with me all day long, but you’ll never convince me that South Park isn’t the smartest show on television. Appearing regularly since Season 4, Token’s family is the only black family in South Park, but in a move that probably made Trey Parker and Matt Stone giggle when they thought it up, is also the richest family in the town. His run-ins with Cartman are usually racially insensitive, and typically revolve around Cartman assuming racial stereotypes that Token finds offensive, though he can’t deny that the bass guitar was in his house and that he automatically knew how to lay down a smooth beat with it. Just sayin’.

Stringfellow Hawke

Some of you might not be old enough to remember the television show Airwolf, but trust me when I say that back in the 80’s, it was a thing. The main character was the helicopter, but a close second was the pilot, Stringfellow Hawke – a cello playing, eagle loving, hermit that just happened to be the best fighter pilot TV had to offer. What makes this even better is that the actor’s name was Jan Michael Vincent, a name that were it attached to a fictional character might be on here too.

Leopold “Butters” Stotch

What started out as a side character evolved into a temporary replacement for Kenny when he died “permanently” for a while, and has been a series regular ever since, often providing an outlet for Cartman’s wrath and abuse. Butters and his little tuft of blonde hair is at once both naive and devious, being the butt of many jokes, but just as often turning them around on Cartman.

Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr

“But wait, I thought you said TV characters.” That’s correct, and if you search your memory, and Wikipedia, you’ll see that Indiana Jones did in fact have a short-lived television series, though it focused on his youth long before the first film. We’d find out in The Last Crusade that Indiana was actually the dog’s name, but I don’t think anybody will ever disagree that Dr. Jones was never really a Henry.

Hiro Nakamura

Were he not on a show called Heroes this name wouldn’t be as good, but having a character that can travel time and space who’s name is pronounced as “hero” is just too perfect, especially when he’s the naive optimist on the show. Masi Oka is an all around great actor, and he really did a good job of bringing Hiro to life. It’s a shame the show spiraled out of control and was eventually cancelled.

Leroy Jethro Gibbs

Sure, just about everybody on the show calls him “Gibbs” or “Jethro” for those close to him, but what better name for the hard nosed, no nonsense character of Gibbs than Leroy Jethro Gibbs. A former Marine sniper, he’s heads up the team we watch every Tuesday on CBS’ NCIS.

Angus Macgyver

There were hints throughout the series that his first name was Angus, and we all knew that Macgyver was his last name and that he didn’t like his first name, but it was all confirmed in the series finale when we meet his son, calling himself Sam, only to find out that it’s an acronym with the “A” standing for Angus, just like his father. Macgyver is a part of pop culture, invading our way of speech and even inspiring a spoof this past year in the SNL “comedy” Macgruber.

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