Top 10 Memorable Television Characters of the 2000s

Script written by Nathan Sharp This decade saw a rise in genres outside the sitcom format popular in the ‘90s, with the antihero crime drama becoming a prominent trend. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 memorable TV characters of the 2000s. 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 the ‘00s TV culture. Special thanks to our user Godslayer 79 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 2000s


This decade saw a rise in genres outside the sitcom format popular in the ‘90s, with the antihero crime drama becoming a prominent trend. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 memorable TV characters of the 2000s.

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 the ‘00s TV culture. To make the list, the shows had to have started in 1999 or later, as the characters in question would have made their impact in the 2000s. Also, we’re excluding characters that play themselves – so you won’t be seeing Larry David on this list.

#10: Dr. Gregory House
“House” (2004-12)

House may seem like just one of many TV doctors, but he stands above the rest thanks to his trademark intelligence and sarcasm. House serves as Head of Diagnostic Medicine at a teaching hospital in New Jersey, and as such he’s often seen jokingly berating his patients for their ineptitude and clashing with his colleagues regarding his radical methods. However, his brilliance always saves the day, proving that he is in charge for a reason. Hugh Laurie is magnificent in the role, playing thedamaged and narcissistic House to perfection – gravelly voice and all.

#9: Omar Little
“The Wire” (2002-08)

Generally considered to be one of the greatest and most realistic shows ever, “The Wire” and its themes are perfectly captured in the character of Omar. He robs drug dealers as a profession, and his whistling of The Farmer in the Dell makes criminals go running. Dressed in his trademark duster, you just know he’s someone to be feared. But don’t let his scarred appearance fool you; he is arguably the most righteous and complex character. He has a strict moral code, and is secretly a tender, loving man, all of which made him a fan favorite.

#8: Barney Stinson
“How I Met Your Mother” (2005-14)

Barney brings the term “ladies man” to a whole new level. Serving as the borderline perverted member of the group, Barney tries to sleep with as many women as he possibly can, and the results of his insane methods are always a guaranteed laugh. His plays for seducing the ladies are genius, as are his observations about relationships in general, and even more so when spoken to hopeless romantic Ted. The character is more complex than that, as he has a soft spot evident in the later seasons that makes him not only hilarious, but sweet and emotional as well.

#7: John Locke
“Lost” (2004-10)

Locke was a fan favorite of “Lost” devotees from the get-go, and remained so throughout the show’s run. Introduced as a quiet and brooding man, we soon discover that Locke was wheelchair bound before arriving on the island, giving the show one of its earliest and most memorable twists. His hunting prowess proved that he was tough, and his spiritual guidance provided help for many, including the more logical Jack Shephard. Locke was invaluable to the group on the island, and also to the show’s viewers.

#6: Michael Scott
“The Office” (2005-13)

The role that launched Steve Carell to superstardom and won him numerous awards, Michael Scott is the lovable buffoon and Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin. Based on Ricky Gervais’ David Brent, Michael can make us cringe one second with his atrocious behavior and outrageous situations involving his assistant Dwight, and then make us sympathetic in the next. While he may not be the brightest, he has a huge heart, and genuinely cares about his employees, making him a compassionate yet hysterical character.

#5: Jack Bauer
“24” (2001-10; 2014)

The hero America needed after 9/11, Jack Bauer raced across the globe trying to stop terrorists in this action packed series. Arguably the most brutal character ever on network television, Jack was a complex man, doing whatever it took to get information, including torturing captives. However, he always got results, and the action and tension he provided was rivaled by nothing else on TV at the time. A tough man who often took great personal risks in his jobs, Jack proved to be a chaacter America could root for.

#4: Dexter Morgan
“Dexter” (2006-13)

If you told audiences decades ago that the protagonist of a TV show was a serial killer, they would never have believed us. Dexter shows just how far TV has come, that we can root for and grow to love a murderous psychopath with a dark passenger. Dexter’s charming exterior makes him a pleasure to watch, and the killing scenes are always convincingly performed by Michael C. Hall. His character only gets progressively more fascinating as he grows as a person and begins to show real emotion. He’s a complex antihero, but one we can’t help but love.

#3: Don Draper
“Mad Men” (2007-15)

Draper certainly knows how to look cool with his fashion, drinks, and cigarettes. But that’s not the only thing he has going for him. While Don surely does many things wrong, including cheating on his wife and becoming an alcoholic, he does have a codeof ethics that makes fans adore him. He always stands up for fellow employees, most notably Peggy Olsen, who is unfortunately a woman stuck in a man’s world – for now. Don Draper constantly tries to adapt with the times, and has the uncanny ability to see the potential in others. He’s a mysterious man, and one of TV’s finest.

#2: Walter White
“Breaking Bad” (2008-13)

Coming in at the tail end of the decade but making an enormous impact nonetheless, Walter White had everyone cheering and hating him at the same time. High school teacher turned meth cook, Walter goes from sympathetic family man to running a ruthless drug empire. It’s fascinating to watch his character’s trajectory into power-hungry kingpin, but even more so because we understand his actions every step of the way. He remains understandable throughout the series, a feat due in no small part to Bryan Cranston’s captivating performance.

Before we look at our most memorable character of the 2000s, here are a few honorable mentions.
- Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace
“Battlestar Galactica” (2004-09)
- Sheldon Cooper
“The Big Bang Theory” (2007-)
- George Oscar ‘Gob’ Bluth
“Arrested Development” (2003-06; 2013-)
- Sydney Bristow
“Alias” (2001-06)
- President Josiah ‘Jed’ Bartlet
“The West Wing” (1999-2006)
- Ari Gold
“Entourage” (2004-11)

#1: Tony Soprano
“The Sopranos” (1999-2007)

The man that changed television forever, Tony Soprano has had a huge influence on the development of TV characters. Patriarch of the Soprano mob family and wife to the strong Carmela, Tony is pne engaging mobster. He is a true family man at heart, but can kill without remorse. His first on-screen kill in season one changed TV, as a protagonist’s cold-blooded murder ofanother man was unheard of at the time. Tony is a deeply troubled antihero, and one that not only transformed TV forever, but one that remains deeply relatable and human.

Do you agree with our list? What 2000s TV character is your favorite? For more memorable lists published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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