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Ten Best Television Characters of the Century(So Far)

Updated on April 20, 2019
Haydn Norton profile image

Passionate, Committed, Diligent, Creative, Eager, Aspirational, Articulate.

Of all the most intriguing and endearing virtues that television furnishes in abundance to the world(such luxuries include immersive and engrossing parabolic progressive arcs, bodacious realisations of both pristine and disastrous locations and environments, thematic pervasive threads with edifying applicable teachings of enlightened tutelage available for extrapolation, and even the ancillary supplementary compliments of merchandise to indulge the whimsical leisures of expanding the imaginative head-canon with), perhaps the most definitively dignified and adored are the conduits of the vicarious experience of all the on-screen eventuations-the characters. They instil the essential element of vital sympathetic or empathetic investment from the audiences toward the amazing machinations of the producers and creators of the divine developments that transpire, and are mandatorily invaluable for the perpetuation and preserving maintenance of that.


As is the necessity within the collective paragon of the encircling fanatical swarm, the most elite alums benefitting from the exceedingly exquisite narrative portrayal of their respective progressions must be organised into a hierarchy of the prioritised status of their own dominant awesomeness and compelling appeal. So the subjective succession of the Top Ten Best Television Characters appearing throughout the century thus far will be the feature for this frivolous foray.

10. Rick(Rick & Morty)

Rick is irreverent, mordacious, contemptuous and repulsive, but just so invigoratingly driven, ambitious and masterfully intelligent, that he's become so irresistible-A guilty pleasure of sorts. Everything about the fully initiated, but almost completely detached and apathetic grandfather of the frequently timid and impotent Morty is constructed to be the total dichotomy to the persona of his daughter's progeny, so that the aspects of his personality that are perhaps the more courageous and inspiring in their subtlety shrouded eminence are nurtured and encouraged to finally emerge; Though inadvertently through the general negligence of Rick, who is entirely preoccupied with his prioritized experimentations-Both with the conventional expectations of his unorthodox designs, and the manipulative provocations of those around him.


Whether deliberately or unintentionally, he encapsulates the hallmark traits of his peers of Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin for instance. But in a more subversive nature. Where the two overweight drunkards of Springfield and Quahog may be negligent in their blundering gross misconduct through the earnest naivety of their genuine incompetence, Rick is more reckless in his abandon of his duties due to his lack of compassion and brutally insensitive deduction of any particular situation(by dissembling it down to its most primitive components, and then pontificating about them in condescension). And also of course in a disregard for the consideration of the derision he instinctively and compulsively harrassed all of those around him with.


This somehow provides the paradoxical endearment to the character as the obnoxious execrableness is so hysterical, that resistance to laughing out loud is futile-Fulfilling his purpose within the show perfectly. Wubba Lubba Dub Dub!

9. Dr. Sheldon Cooper, PhD(The Big Bang Theory)

A discombobulated, yet meticulously arranged amalgamation of obsessive compulsion; Quirks of the most eccentric nature, in insane pursuit of the uppermost prioritized and crucially imperative scientific endeavors, and the trivialities which of those fictional comic book fables cautious stubbornness that can jarringly alternate to impulsive impotence when provoked by acts and contests to his personal self-serving preferences and fluency in Klingon.


He purports a life of egotistical estrangement from the entirety of the remainder of his own species-Predicated upon his enslavement to his own steadfast eccentric vices, which he prides himself upon. The ability to reclusively introvert himself, and supplementing subsequent leads into an inherent basal trait of pure pragmatism that he extends the extremity of his devotion to is only contradicted by the irrationality of his suppressed dependencies on the aforementioned vices and proclivities. And his friends as well; Whom he is initially to display over affection for. He's very apprehensive about compassion or ingratiation toward them, but ultimately needs Leonard, Penny, Amy, Raj, Howard, Bernadette, and even Stewart. And he does concede to his deep varied compassionate affinities, when being serviced and pandered to, or exploiting the sensitivities and mercies of the morally superior companions of his.


For a man that aspires to a complete disconnect from the lavish ostentatiousness and luxuries of mankind, as the only resort for the most efficient course of progression through life, he is remarkably juvenile and immature though those deemed "immature" frailties. He eventually gives an admission of them to his peers and eventual girlfriend and wife, Amy, who at long last use them to appeal to him. And his development of very gradual assimilation and acceptive embrace of his humanity was assured from that moment on providing the platform for the ornate comedic constructions of the big bang theory as it followed the sight of both an enigmatic super genius and a child trapped within a man's body

8. Peter Griffin(Family Guy)

The original lead of the groundbreaking the contumacious animated sitcom is an outright child in a completely different, yet veritably kindred way to his predecessor on this list. Both him and Sheldon are constructed upon the foundational function of of course being the comical dynamic within their respective shows, and stem from the turbulent formative years they were involuntarily subjected to. But the general external guise of how they are conveyed is usually absolutely antithetical. Juvenile and jovial, both due to and in spite of his degenerative delinquency with a subconscious ignorance.


Where Sheldon would willfully disregard anything he would deem unnecessarily detrimental to his prioritized pursuits-Peter is typically and simply the epitome of a person so ingrained in his immature fervencies and foolishly incompetent whimsies, that many of his responsibilities in the grandeur of the sophisticated complexities of the world simply just bypass him. Often without his cognizance of the transpirations. He's capable of sleaziness in his promiscuity with his severely underappreciated housewife, occasional bouts of fury when deterred from his activities of preference, and perpetual cycles of futility-Where he is always either unintentionally discovering, or premeditating the contrivance of the most banal mundanities; Only to misappropriate and blow out of proportion, and beyond the extents of their boundaries, in the blatant unrestrained lack of self-awareness that led to erroneous and felonious falacies.


What would otherwise be considered detestable and abhorrent, and is, is also very frequently the element of ingratiating intrigue and endearment to Peter within the inpenitent affection droves of fans that there have for him. And that is the most exact parallel which he shares with Sheldon too.

7. Rose Tyler(Doctor Who)

The intensive primary function of a television character is to serve as the interactive intermediary relay between the viewers and the show, and there is not a role within the delightful paragon more emblematic and all-encompassing than the onerous and honoured tasks of embodying the companion to the exalted Doctor. Always a position of naive inexperience with the peculiarities and undiscovered reaches of the obscure absurdities of the multiple environments suffusing the Earth, the Solar System, the galaxy and beyond. in any arbitrary time period that TARDIS transports the occupants to; To exponentially acclimatize to, along with the most dedicated and hyped fans in the universe.


The absence of the show during its hiatus impelled the most hotly anticipated, burdened and potentially thankless responsibility of revitalizing the familiarity of all the procedural tropes and precedents established in the previous era, but also reinvigorating and reinventing the very identifying definition of what is meant to be a companion and trusted confident of the also freshly introduced Doctor, and the show itself upon the 2005 resurrection. And Rose Tyler accomplished that spectacularly. Modernizing the show didn't come without its controversial reservations from the arguably earliest fans retaining such fidelity and preservative protection over the almost immaculately infallible path of the fantastical escapades, but Billie Piper ingratiated herself to the already invested fans and prospective initiates of the new breed of Whovians so proficiently, through the bold and audacious, but courteous and reverentially righteous personification of a figure of ethical virtue. All that, as well as Christopher Eccleston in his pristine role of the terrific Time Lord in addition.


She contributed to the cultivation and accentuation of all the benevolent beauties of her peer protector, and had fans revelling in the glorious ecstasy of laying the foundational groundwork for a very competent and proficient return to relevancy and aid to David Tennant in his equally arduous burden of taking the reigns of the time machines' control panel. He of course subsequently became one of, if not, the most admired and adored Doctor of the long lineage of the show, and it was in no small part on account of the courtesy of the coalition of the Doctor and Rose's combined efforts. There was also the additional advantage of developing confidence and self-belief as well as becoming the first truly acceptable ward for the conveyance of a romantic dynamic between the Doctor and their assistant in that ultimately spelt such a poignant and compelling arc; And that, of course, concluded in her heartbreaking departure from the show that remains so to this day.

6. Dr. John Watson(Sherlock)

Sherlock Holmes' benevolently mischevious accomplice is an ex-soldier afflicted with a tragically horrendous and all too prevalent disease that is infecting so many others of his breed, that fact that it has persisted from the very beginning of human civilization is horrendous and despicable. But Dr. John Watson is immediately allocated the licence for the riveting and compelling investment of sympathy through the introduction of the character-Right from the expeditious preliminary opening scene of the show that wasted no time and pulled no punches in the portrayal of the beleaguering circumstances that the courageous hero was subjected to in the ruthless conflict continually plaguing his thoughts. Then to the perturbing and detrimental effects lingering from the affronting acrimony, that left him in a turbulent state of relentlessly purported composure and stoicism but the infrequent involuntary outbursts evoking abrupt rage and disconcerting malaise exposed the veritable truth.


It was just a mere facade he deceived himself into believing. He was under the erroneous impression that he had retained a mental stability, and it was a coincidence of his perfunctory and meagre attempt at proceeding through life, with the aimless meandering of the social aspects of Sherlock Holmes' life, that they encountered one another for the first time-Through introduction via a mutual friend. And from that moment onward, the writers of the show regaled viewers with the tales of the continual strife of Watson's internal struggles to come to terms with his own neurotic despair, while simultaneously supervising the often capricious and ostensibly impulsive and aimless exploits of his new housemate.


It wasn't long before the pair were well accommodated to one another's personalities and presence, and despite the infuriation impelled by the premeditated, yet somewhat precipitous thrusts into hazardous situations by the eponymous protagonist-The fidelity and legitimate compassion generously professed to the enigma by his companion was both perplexing and moving, with the magnitude of the emotional weight and gravitas it held. It stood as a testament to the integrity of the character, despite his precarious condition.

5. Stewie Griffin(Family Guy)

Maniacal, flexible, quirky, rowdy, raunchy, for a baby(!). And experimental in every conceivable regard. The bastion of brilliant flamboyance and hyperbolic extremity is one of the most distinguished cartoon characters of all time, and was founded upon a concept that certainly didn't promise to deliver as much, to begin with. Only allocated a modest degree of exposure in his preliminary endeavours of the most nefarious and villainous plots to attempt to murder his own mother-Stewie had evolved quite drastically from his formative years of the insular focus on his sole purpose to exact horrific retribution on the woman who gave birth to him; In an essentially baseless vendetta that apparently left him traumatized by the horror of childbirth that he somehow miraculously was able to recall.


The infant with an astronomically high intellect incorporated methods of designing and producing his own science fiction weaponry with the intent to dispatch Lois, and that was the showcasing of his perseverance and dedication to his irrationally vile pursuits. And the desires of his mastermind criminality and enigmatic erudition are also comparable to Sheldon in that regard. The feature that differentiates Stewie from the brilliant maverick however, is where his sagacity stems from-In the subversion of the full extent of a humans' comprehension, while remaining in the physical body of a baby (as opposed to the frequently explored nuance of a child in the man's body, as in Sheldon's case).


However, it is with occasional instances of capitulation and descent into his more primitive nature of obedience of the vapidity of infantile captivation that validate the decision to make the transition to a more jovial and comedic persona; As the more sinister elements of his persona were diluted to accommodate the more hysterical and even touching explorations through the later seasons of Family Guy, as one of its most integral characters rose in notorious popularity.

4. Sherlock Holmes(Sherlock)

Perhaps the most mesmerizing character in this entire inventory, though through his sheer boldness and flagrant egotism. Egotistical but miraculously endearing enigma as well he is vacant yet devoted and concentratedly imaginative in eccentric focus upon his primary priorities, with such a thrust of gusto and will force; As he gallivanted across the gratuity of the influx of fascinatingly jarring situations that imposed themselves-Sometimes intrusively, but usually as a direct or indirect consequence of his own hubris and complacent underestimation. At least as was initially apparent, until the constant that never fatigued or predictably revealed that he had considered almost the entire scope of the possibility of the elapsing of events around him and his allies.


He was also charming, with an almost subconscious conspicuous bravado, as the eccentric and most politically pivotal member of the triumvirate of himself, Dr. Watson, and his brother Mycroft throughout the majority of the series. The show was constructed to utilize him as the catalyst for the conducive facet of fervent magnetism for the audience in the fulfilment of his purpose to elicit a feeling of enlightened competence; To be simultaneously juxtaposed by the total antithesis of inadequate and unworthy naivety, due to the cognisant and cerebral genius of the writing.


Sensationally spectacular, and an incredible piece of art for entertainment that was bolstered emphatically by Sherlock's mere presence-Holding the entire room hostage with their attention arrested by Sherlock's engaging exclusivity. Logic would dictate that he would then become constricted as to his available courses of action, but if anything, he actually liberated himself to dictate the proceedings unbelievably.

3. Rick Grimes(The Walking Dead)

He's not absolved of all accusatory controversies from critics, as a debatably ignorant besmirching indignity on the faculties of the writers and the reputation of the character(at least in recent years); But he is elevated to the exultation of third-placed prestige upon this list due to the fact that no better embodiment of a character's evolution and personal development has been exhibited in such a limited duration of an endurance of time than with the case of the sheriff of the rural Georgia region. Beginning as the righteous saviour and stalwart of justice and an omnipresent symbol of a near perfect morality complex-Until the seemingly banal vocation with a relatively insignificant and impotent band of criminals resulted in a gunfight that subsequently rendered him comatose from injury.


Awakening weeks later to the discovery of a post-apocalyptic dystopian nightmare made eminent by the outbreak of the vitriolic virus of reanimated corpses, the age-old tale eventually prompted the most drastic alteration in personal composition through the gradual, but exponential precession of the series; As the ultimate ideological philosophy and incentives of the dubious protagonist remained constant for the most part, but the extreme scale of the boundaries of which what he was necessitated to become willing to push continually exacerbated and intensified in the quintessential case of the end not especially justifying the means. It was the virtue of the series, particularly in its inaugural phases, that it took the standard and oversaturated formula of usually depthless viscera and action against the gory hordes of the undead, and added a desperately required element of emotional and psychological weight, stakes and gravitas to the genre.


It really paraded the plot thread of a miscellaneous and discombobulated group of unstable victims of circumstance that was severely dastardly in the sacrilege of its absence until that point, as the lead character Rick spearheaded and cultivated that distillation of what which fans may not have even known they desired-Through his tumult of fluctuating degrees of his own sanity. His internal conflicts of morality and the charisma he possessed and had to reluctantly display(even in times of personal crisis) to maintain the dominant essence that was required for the stability of a group he led is a fundamental element of the plausible immersion of the realistic narratives set to a fictional backdrop. And that will always be enticing-Especially as the tragedies that affront him are continually proliferating as the series continues.

2. John Mitchell(Being Human)

The beauty of Being Human is the oppugnancy of the very nature of the show to its perceivably plain and genuine title with the divulgences of the very complex and toilsome adversities of living as a supernatural entity with solitude from the exclusive ignorance and contempt of society-Until the triumvirate of the werewolf, the ghost and the vampire convened in a modest communal residence. The ensuing frantic and electrifying escapades that eventuated against the will of the inhabitants of the house provided the grounds for John Mitchell to stand out as the sublime stalwart of the series, that became applicable and, if not, sympathetic quite quickly through the initial charm, and somewhat altruistic external presentation of his character.


But just as soon as being made lucid that it was a concerted and conscious effort on the part of the vampire denying his very nature, which was the complete opposite of his aspired achievement of accomplishing a benevolent generosity-As displayed in his terror and revulsion of his troubled past. It saw him only express compunction or contrition after committing the most horrendous and erroneous transgressions of drinking victims of depraved sexual exploits and emotional engagements dry in a heinous act of their terrible murder.


The worst sin is that he was not even attached, but instead personally associated more often than not with those unfortunates; And several failed attempts at suppressing the inherent fibre of his being was what still held the endearment to his character, despite the irreversible familiarity of those acts. He is incarcerated eternally in his own self-pity and shame and self-deprecating contempt, and caught in a perpetual cycle of self-torture over the traumatized and agonized repentance he feels-As he reached the determination that he doesn't deserve anything but malignancy.


A sensation of inadequacy and isolation, despite being surrounded with friends that would occasionally fluctuate to an arrogant entitlement, but only when in a state of despair. Though that contributed in the pity viewers joined the abhorrent protagonist in feeling for himself, along with the faith that his magnanimous intent would eventually prevail. Compelling and touching to provide the precise point of investment in the character.

1. The Doctor(Doctor Who)

The predecessors on this lists have benefited to the acclaimed accolade of their designation upon it by virtue of their respective evolution arcs, their abilities to captivate and entice, and a certain versatility permeating their persona. But that is the crucial definitive word-versatility. The doctor is the very corporeal formation of that. The aforementioned virtues are fantastic and venerable by their own merit for their custodians, but only the Doctor possesses such a degree that supplants all of them, by the confluence of incorporating every single one of them into a fusion of all the most cogent complementing contradictions.


The evolution of the character is portrayed in the most literal sense; In that they are able to utilize the potent power of deus ex-machina to avert death, by physically regenerating into an entirely new(although, until recently, it was an exclusively male) form. And philosophically rejuvenating in the company and vacillations in personality, in coherence with the change already alluded to, to herald in a new era for the character, and the show. Influenced by both the arbitrary glory that regeneration and its ensuing adjustment period is, and the transpirations that have befell the Doctor-Especially in the revived series, with the things like the time war, for instance. They have abetted the facilitation of the consistency in the groundbreaking contradictions the show proudly flaunts.


The Doctor embodies such an array of quirks and traits that range from hooliganism to dexterity, to charm and bravado, to formidability ominousness. Elaborating upon them efficiently and concisely would be impossible, as the entire range of all the most enticing aspects of the show are often on full eminent display in every episode, and a specific Doctor may encompass certain personalities more prominently than others. But what remains constantly imperative and profoundly established deep within the character are the proclivities for the motivational plights towards the heroic preservation of the welfare of all sentient life in the universe, and the emancipation of it from the malignant miasmic atrocious ferocity inflicted by the most nefarious villains of the permeating environments-Whether the Daleks of Skaro, the Cybermen of Mondas or alternative Earth, or any other extraterrestrials.


The show and the conceptual foundation of the character are predicated on imagination and initiative, and that should vindicate any lamentations over some recent ambivalently-received interpretations, because of the bold and never blind ambition that is purposefully and resolutely flaunted without any condescension or vanity. It has created such an affectionately adored zeitgeist, that the longevity of that paragon in its half-century-long duration has validated the endurance and perenniality of what will become an eternal recipient of the Whovians' obsession.

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