TV Character Names: So what’s new?

Every new TV season or so we like to check out the recently launched shows, as well as those still running, for any interesting names that have emerged since the last time we looked. Most scripters continue to come up with the obvious and the formulaic, giving their characters names like Jessica and Jeff and Rick and Robin, Amy and Andy.

But there are some who do think out of the box—though usually for not more than one character per show.  The list below steers clear of reality shows, so no Khloes or Kourtneys, and no cartoon characters or kiddie shows.



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22 Responses to “TV Character Names: So what’s new?”

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Kem Says:

August 24th, 2010 at 12:22 am

Auggie is also used on Covert Affairs, which also features a Joan, which seems fairly unusual for the characters age (late 30’s/early 40’s).

Andrea Says:

August 24th, 2010 at 1:59 am

Joan and Joni were still fairly common in the early to mid 70s. I had a Joan in my high school class and there was another Joan in my college classes and I have a third or fourth cousin a few years younger called Joni. One of the Joans had a twin sister named Jane. Joan was the nicer twin so I tend to prefer her name over Jane.

Kem Says:

August 24th, 2010 at 2:24 am

I guess I always think of it as way older because it was my grandma’s name, and she received it at its peak in the 30’s. Name voyager says it was in the 350’s in the 70’s, which certainly isn’t gone, but isn’t the same as #7 in the 30’s.

first or last? Says:

August 24th, 2010 at 7:36 am

Are any of the names on the boys list actually last names instead of first? I know giving last names as first names is popular, but I would also guess that many of those shows are in a work setting where guys sometimes informally call each other by their last names instead of their first names.

Sassy Says:

August 24th, 2010 at 8:01 am

Love Jethro from NCIS. We used it for our dog and it really suits him.
Also, all the True Blood names originally came from the Charlaine Harris books the show is based on.

Toni Vitanza Says:

August 24th, 2010 at 8:11 am

I named my son Roman (17 years ago today) because my husband and I had just returned from a trip to Poland, where it is a very traditional name. Also, our Italian last name made it sound good. As soon as I did it seemed everyone was asking me if I was a fan of some soap, can’t remember which one, but apparently it had a character named Roman. Since my son’s birth the name has become a lot more popular (I keep a stack of clippings of celebrities who named their sons Roman). When I was 8 or 10 there was a soap that a friend of my mom’s watched; on it there was a character named Nicole, which was quite an exotic name in Texas in the late ’60s. This lady named her youngest daughter Nicole, and so did a lot of other people at the time. I personally think that’s where that name’s popularity started….

Alyssa Says:

August 24th, 2010 at 9:16 am

Damn. A few of my names are on there. Arlo has been a favorite of mine for a long time and we just about named our first son Davis when he was born. Always makes me nervous to see my secret favorite names gaining publicity.

Janine Says:

August 24th, 2010 at 9:36 am

On Boardwalk Empire, Nucky is a nickname for Enoch. I love Hoyt and Lafayette, another great, unusual name from this season of True Blood is Alcide.

Gemma Says:

August 24th, 2010 at 10:34 am

True Blood also had a Hadley which I really love!

ycw Says:

August 24th, 2010 at 10:40 am

If I were to go with the name Matthew, I would use the nickname Math. It is, in fact, one of the motives I would have… but it’s off the list anyway. (Maybe if we called our son Pi….)

Carolyn Says:

August 24th, 2010 at 2:18 pm

FNL uses Tyra, which I thought was more unusual than Lyla. Plus it breaks another of the supposed rules of using a reality star name…America’s Next Top Model host Tyra Banks.

Jay Says:

August 24th, 2010 at 4:54 pm

So excited to see Skins characters mentioned here…that’s my favorite show and I love the name Effy! The character’s real name is Elizabeth, though. I also was glad to see names from the Nickelodeon show Victorious. My older daughter is starting to get into that show (she’s only 7 though) and I was intrigued by some of the characters names when I saw it.

Devon Says:

August 24th, 2010 at 10:30 pm

I love Hoyt! It’s a great name, short and strong but soft. Does that make sense? I don’t think my husband would go for it though. He likes True Blood, but I don’t think he’d like a kid named after Hoyt Fortenberry. I also LOVE Lafayette but with my last name, the kid would be talking forever! 3 syllable first and a 3 syllable last name…long!

I can’t stand the name Santana. My husband knows a girl with that name and she’s the biggest ho bag…much like Santana on Glee.

Charlotte Vera Says:

August 24th, 2010 at 11:21 pm

Oooh, I loved the mention of Gavin & Stacey! The Nessa in that show is really Vanessa.

Jenn Says:

August 25th, 2010 at 1:10 pm

I am a huge Bones fan but I’ve never been real fond of either Temperance or Seely. I like their last names much better. Brennan and Booth. I like to conveniently forget they even have first names – since they don’t use them that often anyway. I dislike her family nickname too. Tempe.

I have problems with names entrenched in history, like Santana and Lafayette. Unless you know who those people were (really? you want to name your kid after Santana? your FEMALE kid?) I think it’s risky business naming your kid that. Would be like naming your son Lincoln without knowing anything about the man.
That being said, I love Dax and Kale and Ria and Cricket, though the last I would probably never use. It’s a great character name though.

Sarah Says:

August 29th, 2010 at 7:41 pm

What about Haddie from Parenthood? I think it’s a cute name and I’ve never seen it before.

Lani Says:

August 30th, 2010 at 9:57 pm

How about the new tween show Pretty Little Liars? I’ve only seen a few episodes but the two of the girls’ names jumped out to me: Aria and Spencer.

Cassandra Says:

September 10th, 2010 at 8:59 pm

I love the name Temperance! If I ever have a girl, that will be her name. I love the fact that I never met anyone with that name. I love it:)

AJ_Bear Says:

September 19th, 2010 at 4:59 pm

As botha lover of names and TV, they have been linked to eachother ever since my name obsession started. Temperance is deffinetly a favorite, ranking in the top 10 of my personal choices. It’s a hard name to pair with (personally I chose Delilah as a possible middle name choice). Of course, now my only fear is that by the time I’m ready to have children (I’m only fourtenn now, thank you very much) Temperance may be popular again and the name I cherish now (and maybe in the future as well) will be an overused virtue, and no one really knows what it means.
As for Seely, I highly doubt there are a large amount of fans for that name (If there wasn’t Bones, the first image in my head after hearing the name Seely would be Sea World) and there is a slim chance of it ever being popular. EVER.

Jessica Says:

May 24th, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Hey! My name is Jessica and I haven’t seen any tv shows with the name Jessica.

plainname Says:

December 29th, 2011 at 4:36 am

When I first heard the name Santana, I thought “Man, what a ridiculous name!” But since, it has completely grown on me and I really like it now.

sleepyjaime Says:

May 18th, 2012 at 4:31 am

Pandora is also on the show Skins, as is the name Aloe, used for a guy. I like both, as well as Effy, Temperance, Hoyt, and Ash.

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