Top 10 Memorable Television Characters of the 1990s

Script written by Nathan Sharp This decade had a little bit of everything, from horror to comedy and anything in between. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 memorable TV characters of the 1990s. For our series on the Top 10 Memorable TV Characters Per Decade, we're looking at those characters that were critically and culturally significant, and became synonymous with '90s TV culture. Special thanks to our user mac121mr0 for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Nathan Sharp




Top 10 Memorable Television Characters of the 1990s





This decade had a little bit of everything, from horror to comedy and anything in between. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 memorable TV characters of the 1990s.

For our series on the Top 10 Memorable TV Characters Per Decade, we’re looking at those characters that were critically and culturally significant, and became synonymous with ‘90s TV culture. To make the list, the shows had to have started in 1989 or later, as the characters in question would have made their impact in the 1990s. Also, we’re only including live-action characters, so cartoons are being excluded – we’re talking to you, Homer Simpson.

#10: Tim Taylor
“Home Improvement” (1991-99)

Played wonderfully by Tim Allen, this is an everyday man that we can all relate to. Host of his own television show “Tool Time,” Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor can be overconfident and believes himself to be a fantastic handyman, even though he is incredibly accident prone, but that often leads to some gut-busting results. But like many typical fathers, he often attempts to bond with his boys, proving himself to be a family man that always tries his best, despite the constant mishaps. He’s not only hilarious; he’s also totally relatable.

#9: Karen Walker
“Will & Grace” (1998-2006)

Introduced toward the end of the decade, Karen Walker quickly became a fan favorite and helped establish “Will & Grace” as a seminal sitcom. Originally created to be a minor character, the fan reaction was so positive that the writers promoted her to series regular, proving her invaluable worth to the show and its viewers. Karen is a spoiled and often condescending multimillionaire who degrades others due to their lower status. So, yeah she sounds horrible, but it’s done in such a way that we can’t help but laugh at her outrageous personality. You have got to love that voice, too.

#8: Fox Mulder
“The X-Files” (1993-2002)

Helping to revolutionize horror TV and make it popular in the ‘90s, agents Mulder and Scully tracked down various otherworldly entities and worked tirelessly to uncover an alien conspiracy. Between the two, Mulder is thebeliever in extraterrestrials, and he often clashes with his coworkers and thepublic about what really is out there among us. He is such a persuasive character that we always believe his claims – no matter how outlandish they are. A flawed and misunderstood character, he is relatable to the outsider in allof us and he makes us believe in the unbelievable.

#7: Steve Urkel
“Family Matters” (1989-98)

Another minor character that shot his way to cult status, Urkel is the epitome ofthe lovable nerd that we can’t help but root for. Originally written to be a one-off character, the response to the clumsy Urkel was so positive that the writers had to rewrite various scripts in the first season in order to accommodate the role and make him more pronounced – and boosted the ratings in the process. Much to her family’s annoyance, Steve is always vying for the love of Laura Winslow, which results in audiences’ laughter. He’s an endearing dork, and one that became an overnight sensation.

#6: Buffy Summers
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003)

Buffy proved to everyone that women could kick ass in horror, as she subvertedthe typical female victim trope by portraying one of the fiercest characters intelevision. A once ordinary teenager who finds out that she is the Slayer, Buffy not only beats down her enemies on a routine basis, she also goes through thecommon problems of a high school girl. The impact of her character does not only come from her fighting ability; it also stems from her relatable problems and how she overcomes them. She’s a fantastic role model for teens everywhere.

#5: Dr. Frasier Crane
“Frasier” (1993-2004)

Often considered among the greatest television characters of all time, Frasier’s stint in television the better part of twenty years, as he began as a popular character on “Cheers” before receiving his own spinoff, where he got thechance to introduce his brother Niles Crane, who also proved his popularity with viewers. Host of his own radio show, Frasier is a highly intelligent individual, but also very silly and full of himself at times, leading to many laugh-out-loud moments. However, he’s also a deeply flawed and insecure character, traits which allows audiences to fall in love with both his humor and his vulnerability.

#4: Carrie Bradshaw
“Sex and the City” (1998-2004)

Possibly one of the most influential female characters in television history, Carrie Bradshaw introduced the world to HBO and the risky content the channel provides. Often speaking of her sexual escapades in her “Sex and the City” column, the Manhattan resident and fashionista provided TV with a bold but renowned character, and her circle of equally independent lady friends. While at times hilarious, she is also an astute observer of relationships, and she is guided by her emotions, creating a complex yet very real individual… with thebiggest shoe collection you’ve ever seen.

#3: Cosmo Kramer
“Seinfeld” (1989-98)

It seems like the supporting characters in sitcoms are always the best, doesn’t it? Between Kramer and George Costanza, “Seinfeld” had a duo of comical supporters, as well as many amusing bit players. Kramer is Jerry’s neighbor, often dramatically bursting into his apartment with news, to steal his food, or for countless other reasons. He’s hilarious, often due to his outrageous ideas and his pure clumsiness. Somewhat the outsider of the group, Kramer was the true star of this beloved comedy and the one that always got the most laughs.

#2: Chandler Bing
“Friends” (1994-2004)

The role that launched Matthew Perry’s career, Chandler had it all in this ensemble comedy about a group of – you guessed it – friends. And by “all,” we mean all the funniest moments, of course. Chandler is the most sarcastic of thegang, often making fun of others or himself in order to get a laugh both from his buddies and the audience. While some may call him too mean, he found theperfect balance between comedy and drama. He was deeply sympathetic to others, especially his best friend Joey and his eventual wife Monica, and this made him not only the funniest, but also the sweetest and the most human ofall the “Friends.”

Before we look at our most memorable character, here are a few honorable mentions.
- Sabrina Spellman
“Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” (1996-2003)
- Ray Barone
“Everybody Loves Raymond” (1996-2005)
- Mitch Buchannon
“Baywatch” (1989-99)
- Samuel ‘Screech’ Powers
“Saved by the Bell” (1989-93)
- Xena
“Xena: Warrior Princess” (1995-2001)

#1: Will Smith
“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” (1990-96)

Launching the acting career of superstar Will Smith, this character showed theworld the rapper’s acting abilities and had us all both laughing and crying. With most of the show’s jokes resulting from the culture clash between him and his relatives, especially his diminutive cousin Carlton, Will is an amusing character due to his preconceived notions and his inability to fit in. While mostly sarcastic and immature, he also respects his family deeply, and loves them despite their differences. Hilarious and touching, he is the one man we all loved watching.

Do you agree with our list? What TV character from the ‘90s is your favorite? For more ranked top tens published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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