by Linda Rosenkrantz
Even in this era of streaming, TV still sticks to having seasons in which new shows are launched. We’re now in the thick of Fall Season debuts, and so I thought I’d do a name search of those that have either debuted or are about to, to see what prospective hot new names we could find.
One of the most anticipated show is The Morning Show, starring Jennifer Aniston, in her first TV outing since Friends. She was Rachel then—perfect for 1994—and this time she is—perfect for 2019—Alex. But much more interesting is the name of her partner in crime/antagonist played by Reese Witherspoon—BRADLEY Jackson. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in that writers’ room session.
Let’s look at some of the other unexpected TV character names of this season:
Hot New Names for Girls on TV
LAVINIA– In Dickinson, the real-life series based on Emily Dickinson, Lavinia (called Vinnie)—a vintage name and nickname we love—is her younger sister who was instrumental in the posthumous publication of Emily’s poems. She’s portrayed by Anna Baryshnikov. Also in this series is the female ABIAH, the unisex biblical name of the poet’s friend and correspondent
MONA LISA—Seriously? Well, Daybreak is presented as a post-apocalyptic high school comedy-drama complete with evil jocks and zombie-like Ghoulies. Almost as out there as the child called SANTAMONICA (sic) in Mixed-ish, the spin-off of Black-ish, which again features Rainbow Johnson.
PIPER is the age-appropriate name of a young character in the ABC series Emergence. Her bright and zippy name entered the list in 1999 (soon after the debut of Charmed) and is now at #88.
Hot New Names for Boys on TV
ANSEL-Another Stumptown character is Ansel Parios. Ansel seemed to be a quasi one-person name tied to photography great Ansel Adams until Adams became the namesake of young heartthrob Ansel Elgort, son of a photographer. The trendy GREY also inhabits Stumptown.
DION—The title character of Raising Dion, a web TV series about a young boy with superpowers (illustrated). An ancient name with contemporary cool, had a walk-on in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, gained a doo-wop vibe in the 50s, and was used by Golden Age Hollywood’s Barbara Stanwyck for her son..
DEACON–What We Do in The Shadows is a mock-doc about four Staten Island vampires named VIAGO, VLADISLAV, PETYR and Deacon. Deacon became a baby name after Ryan Philippe discovered it in his family history and he and then-wife Reese Witherspoon used it for their son,
OCTAVIO— In the upcoming sci fi web series For All Mankind, Octavio Rosales is a recurring character. A Spanish numeral name meaning eighth and deserving of the kind of attention Octavia is getting, it has a distinguished namesake in Nobel Prize winning poet Octavio Paz.
OLLIE –In The First Wives Club, a loose remake of the 1996 film with a black cast, Ollie Washington is an adorable child character. With all the baby Olivers around, Ollie is bound to break off on his own.
Linda Rosenkrantz is the co-founder of Nameberry, and co-author with Pamela Redmond Satran of the ten baby naming books acknowledged to have revolutionized American baby naming. In addition to contributing stories on trends and celebrity naming, she guides the editorial content and manages the Nameberry Twitter and Facebook accounts. You can follow her personally at Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed New York Review Books Classics novel Talk and a number of other books.