It’s easy to look back at all the iconic characters of the golden era of TV and assume that all the best TV is behind us. This is especially true now that cult shows like Game of Thrones, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad have come to an end. But make no mistake, just because these kinds of shows are few and far between doesn’t mean we’re not seeing “cult personalities” in the making in the TV shows that are airing right now!
Here are 10 TV characters that are destined to be iconic!
Rick — Rick & Morty
He’s rude, and he lacks basic table etiquette (what with all the burping and stuff). Nevertheless, Rick is going to going to go down in the history books of good TV as an accurate portrayal of a nihilistic character who manages to make small steps towards embracing life and understanding that nihilism is more of a defense mechanism than a way of life.
Morty, too, could make it on the list, but just as Rick uses him for his own gain, it seems like the creators of Rick & Morty are using him as a counterpart to help flesh out Rick as a character.
Tyrion Lannister — Game of Thrones
We’ve seen show runners and screenwriters work with these kinds of characters before, but never as well as the creators of Game of Thrones did with Tyrion Lannister. He is proof that physical power is not a prerequisite for greatness. A cunning wit and superior intellect can take you just as far (if not further) than the ability to know your way around a sword fight.
Fleabag — Fleabag
Would I be going too far if I said that Fleabag is the most honest depiction of a female character in all of TV? It’s almost like they took the conversations of Sex and the City, the humor of Amy Schumer, the wit of Tina Fey, and the ridiculousness of Broad City and wrapped it nicely in one package. Fleabag the show and Fleabag the character are perfect depictions of the messy and complicated process of trying to live your life as a modern woman.
Sheldon — Big Bang Theory
Whether you love or hate the show, you know Sheldon is the best character. I mean sure, it was all much more enjoyable during the first four seasons of the show, but he’s still a brilliant character now! We all have a Sheldon in our life. Someone who doesn’t understand sarcasm; someone who’s too smart for their own good; and someone who just doesn’t know when to keep their mouths shut during an awkward conversation.
Offred/Jane Osborne — The Handmaid’s Tale
If Fleabag is a depiction of how complicated it is to be a woman in your day-to-day life, Offred is a depiction of how difficult and unfair it is to be a woman socially and politically. Through the story of a single character the writers of the show have managed to bring up the topics of women’s rights, abortion, childbirth, and sexism.
Elliot Anderson — Mr. Robot
Elliot Anderson aka Mr. Robot is a brilliant character. Through him, the creators of the show have managed to explore a wide range of social issues (mental health, capitalism, ethics, etc.), yet still maintain a very believably “human” central character. They’ve also, somehow, managed to create a better “Fight Club” twist to the show than Fight Club itself.
Crazy Eyes — Orange is the New Black
Orange is the New Black has raised a lot of conversations (like Fleabag and Handmaid’s Tale). From trans issues, to criticisms of the prison complex in the United States, to (you guessed it) mental health. And for each of these issues they used a very special and loved character. But none match up to Crazy Eyes who over the course of a single episode transformed from a stereotypical crazy person to an extremely heart wrenching and complex character. She is no longer just a character that’s used to create a moment of comic relief in a tense show. Instead, she’s a central part of it.
Thomas “Tommy” Shelby — Peaky Blinders
I wouldn’t be too far off if I said that Thomas Shelby is to the 2010s what Tony Soprano was to the 2000s. He’s the head of a family. He’s the boss. And he’s the main “cog” in the complicated machinery of a whole entire world of crime life in a city. He is portrayed brilliantly by Cillian Murphy, and not a single episode of the show has aired without a memorable quote or line of dialogue from this character.
Archer — Archer
It’s black humor and “below the belt” jokes in Archer, but the character himself is a hilarious mockery of every single spy from every single spy movie. He has the bravado of James Bond, but he’s also a loser. Ever single stereotypical spy-movie gimmick is used here to make fun of Archer and of spies in general.
Eleven — Stranger Things
Eleven, by now, has definitely become an iconic character. If you don’t believe me just Google “Eleven Halloween Costume” and see just how many people have dressed up as her for Halloween!