The 2010s have been very kind to us when it comes to
iconic TV characters and the platinum age of entertainment. With the confidence of a million Facebook likes and Instagram hearts, we can safely say that some of the best TV characters of all time have surfaced from the rubbled remains of what TV used to be before streaming services took over our lives. Heroes, anti-heroes, and villains alike have all been blurred into one bubbling casserole of in-depth character analysis, so we thought we’d put together a solid ranking system for the best of the best from the 2010s. Enjoy!
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20 Most Iconic TV Characters
20. Elliot Alderson - 'Mr. Robot'
Elliot is very much a new age anti-hero in addition to a cybersecurity engineer and genius hacker. He also suffers from social anxiety disorder and delusional paranoia. He's a perfect cocktail of intelligence and anti-establishment attitude.
19. Raylan Givens - 'Justified'
Timothy Olyphant has an innate ability to look cool, calm, and collected. Raylan Givens made it cool to be a U.S. Marshall in Kentucky -- not an easy task for anyone to accomplish by any means, but somehow Raylan Givens made chasing fugitives and hillbillies look fun and interesting.
Justified was a widely underrated show, as was Olyphant's performance. Imagine a sarcastic combination of Wyatt Earp and John Wayne and you'd have Raylan Givens.
18. Leslie Knope - 'Parks and Recreation'
We all know a person like Leslie Knope: the over-excited do-gooder with off-the-charts energy and positivity bordering on hysteria. She's both the best and the worst, but everything she tackles is smashed with heartfelt love. She's everyone's best friend, even if you don't want her to be.
17. Eleven - 'Stranger Things'
An enigmatic hero, Eleven is a powerful young girl who possesses psychokinetic and telepathic abilities best suited for killing Demogorgons and Russian bad guys. She walks softly and carries a big stick, while also rocking the Sinead O'Connor look with confidence.
16. Francis Underwood - 'House Of Cards'
Before Kevin Spacey became synonymous with creepy behavior, he played Francis Underwood. This character was a vindictive, psychotic, ruthless politician who nabbed the presidency by way of murder and deceit. He's a disgustingly maniacal egomaniac that somehow gets the keys to the entire country. (Sound familiar?)
15. Gemma Teller Morrow - 'Sons Of Anarchy'
The ultimate femme fatale, Gemma is tough, ruthless, lethal, cunning, and (worst of all) a seductress. She disguises her power by focusing it on always protecting the club and its members. But, eventually it all backfires, leading to the biggest "Oh shit!" moment of the show when her son, Jax, takes things into his own hands and regains control over his mother.
14. Jax Teller - 'Sons Of Anarchy'
Who doesn't secretly want to be a badass biker with family morals and values hidden below a rugged exterior? On the surface, Jax is a nightmare with a rap sheet: murder, arson, drug running, gun running, extra-marital activities, porn producer, brothel owner and loving father. But deep down he knows the difference between right and wrong. He's the anti-hero's hero.
13. Richard Hendricks - 'Silicon Valley'
Pied Piper pioneer and perpetually misunderstood socialite, Richard Hendricks sums up most of the tech industry perfectly. If you've spent any time in the actual Silicon Valley area in Northern California, then you've met at least 20 real-life Richard Hendricks.
12. Arya Stark - 'Game of Thrones'
Arya Stark is the third child of Eddard Stark and Catelyn Stark. She trained as a Faceless Man at the House of Black and White in Braavos, which essentially means that she's a complete badass. Her
GoT ninja skills peaked when she killed the Night King at the end of the series, saving every human being in the 7 Kingdoms. She won Game of Thrones.
11. Tyrion Lannister - 'Game Of Thrones'
The half-man, the imp, the sub-5-foot pimp is a larger-than-life character disguised in a small package. Seriously, how did he manage to make it to the end of
Game of Thrones? How did he not get eaten by a dragon or an emaciated woman of the night? His wit and savvy were unmatched, and his understanding of "the game" dwarfed his opponents.
10. Rick Grimes - 'The Walking Dead'
Rick Grimes may look like your normal run-of-the-mill, handsome, zombie-killing machine, but he's so much more than that. He's got feelings, which is what we're told separates humans from their zombie counterparts. But who knows at this point, the show has been on for so long that it's hard to remember what's real and what's a dream within a dream.
9. Daenerys Targaryen - 'Game Of Thrones'
Daenerys was deemed the "Mother Of Dragons," and with a title like that, there's no doubt about her status on the show. She managed to become Queen, raise dragons as her children, and somehow subdue Khal Drogo and Jon Snow, the baddest dudes in all the Kingdoms. She's definitely a Queen Bee.
8. Saul Goodman - 'Better Call Saul' and 'Breaking Bad'
In one of the most successful spin-off series of all-time, Saul Goodman became the best of the best of ambulance-chasing lawyers with questionable morals. Everyone needs a Saul Goodman in their life, just in case things take a wrong turn.
7. Thomas Shelby - 'Peaky Blinders'
There isn't a more scene-stealing character on TV than Thomas Shelby. He's a combination of Michael Corleone, Henry Hill, and Uncle Pauly all wrapped up in a British bow. Watching his rise to power coincide with his rise to general insanity is both cringe-worthy and impossible to ignore. He's the "it" factor in every single scene of
Peaky Blinders, the best show on TV.
6. Selena Myers - 'Veep'
Julia Louis-Dreyfus was a comedy legend, even before her role on
Veep. Selena Myers was absolutely awful, and that's exactly why she was so great. She’s overly aggressive. She’s a train wreck at times. She curses like a drunken debutante with a twist of Andrew Dice Clay and Lenny Bruce. She has no regard for the truth if it doesn't fit her "me first" mold, which is exactly why she's hilariously terrible. Everyone is an enemy to Selena, until she wants them to do something for her.
5. Phillip Jennings - 'The Americans'
The level of detailed mystery behind Phillip Jennings and Elizabeth Jennings is immeasurable. They brilliantly play two KGB spies in an arranged marriage, posing as Americans in the burbs of Washington, D.C. They hide their true identities from each other, even their fake children don't know the truth. The arranged marriage leans more and more towards a real relationship and even love as they progressively attempt to take down America.
4. Elizabeth Jennings - 'The Americans'
Like we said, she's awesome.
3. Jon Snow - 'Game Of Thrones'
Jon Snow, born Aegon Targaryen, is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, the late Prince of Dragonstone. As confusing as that sounds, basically Jon Snow is the coolest mofo this side of the North Wall. He slays every single day: dragons, White Walkers, Lannisters, and the Mother of Dragons.
2. June Osborne - 'Handmaid's Tale'
June is definitely the hero of heroes in a world that only Harvey Weinstein could love. She is the outspoken fight against oppression and Trumpian values.
1. Walter White - 'Breaking Bad'
Breaking Bad was so popular, people dressed as crystal meth cooks for Halloween. Walter White was the scariest science teacher we've ever seen, but somehow every sociopathic move he eventually made seemed to be understandable and almost endearing. He was truly an evil genius disguised as everybody's nerdy uncle.