Looking for baby names and love TV? Well, we’ve got good news for you!
The previous decade brought us tons of amazing television. Many TV critics agree that we all got to experience the new “golden age of television” over the last ten years. From blockbusters like Game of Thrones to little gems like Broad City, there wasn’t a shortage of amazing content for every taste. In fact, more shows were made in 2019 than any previous year. From the start of the decade to its end new TV titles increased by over 71%. The head of FX, John Landgraf calls it “Peak TV” or “The Gilded Age of Television.” These shows brought us some of the most memorable TV characters of all time. We still can’t get over the image of Peggy from Mad Men cooly walking down the hall after quitting her job.
Some characters from beloved shows are simply so compelling that it’s necessary to name a baby after them. Yes, people have named their daughters Daenerys for the dragon queen from that little-known fantasy series, Game of Thrones. The more discerning parent might have chosen Sansa or Arya, but alas.
There are many reasons you might turn to TV for baby name ideas. The last ten years saw TV evolve into a smarter storytelling medium and with that, we got more developed characters that we often followed over multiple seasons. Some characters really stick with you. For instance, characters from The Good Wife like Alicia Florrik and Diane Lockhart were present for over 150 episodes. Even more impressive, characters of The Big Bang Theory appeared in nearly 300 episodes over 12 years. Many of us not only relate to these characters, but we also grow with them. Unlike a film, TV stays with us for a while due in part to its episodic nature, but also the ability to stream it or catch a rerun.
But, what really brings a character to life? Performances. The last decade not only gave us incredible characters but they also brought us some of the best acting for TV ever. Did you hear about that show Big Little Lies? The one with Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley, Zoe Kravitz, and eventually Meryl Streep? Did you ever think you’d see that many A-list movie stars in a TV show? Stars flocked to TV because it gave them a platform to tell even more interesting stories. Performances like Julia Roberts in Amazon’s Homecoming or Amy Adams in HBO’s Sharp Objects continued the trend of bringing some of the biggest talents to our small screens.
There’s a lot to love about our current TV landscape and a great way to celebrate it is to name your baby after people from your favorite TV shows. We looked at some of the most popular TV series, from critical darlings to broadcast tent-poles, to bring you our favorite TV-inspired baby names. This isn’t just a list of our favorite TV characters! We honestly think these would be wonderful names to give a child.
20 Beautiful Baby Names from the Decade’s Best and Biggest TV Shows
20. Paige – The Americans
One of our favorite characters from The Americans, Paige Jennings always knew her parents were up to more than they were letting on. Smart, loyal, and intuitive, Paige has many qualities you’d want in your own child.
The name Paige is a girl’s name of English origin meaning “page to a lord.” The name’s popularity peaked in the early 2000s in the US, but it remains extremely popular in the UK.
19. Titus – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
The hilarious and brutally honest, Titus Andromedon from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt made us laugh until we cried. He’s not just comic relief or a foil for Kimmy. Titus had a truly fleshed out backstory of growing up in the rural American South while dreaming of becoming a Broadway star. He also taught us about Pinot Noir.
The name Titus sounds like a classic because it is! It was one of the most popular names throughout Roman history. Scholars argue over the origin of the name, but many agree it derives from Latin and means “title of honor.”
18. Elizabeth – The Crown
Yes, Elizabeth is a pretty standard name, but fans of Netflix’s The Crown know about the nickname. It’s not “Liz” or “Lizzie.” Philip calls Queen Elizabeth, “Lilibet.” Now, wouldn’t that make a great nickname for your daughter? Queen Elizabeth is a complicated noble figure but she always rules gracefully.
Lilibet means “blend of lily” and Elizabeth means, “God of plenty.” If you’d like to set your daughter up for a life as a powerful woman, you couldn’t do better than choosing the name, Elizabeth.
17. Rafael – Jane the Virgin
For many of us, Jane the Virgin offered the first taste of a real telenovela. Whether you were #TeamMichael or #TeamRafael, we can all agree that Rafael is a beautiful name. Rafael was a stubborn character with a heart of gold. There are so many incredible names in Jane the Virgin. Rogelio, Petra, Alba, Xiomara, and Mateo would all be incredible names inspired by a show with so much heart.
The name Rafael is Hebrew in origin and means “God has healed.”
16. Eve – Killing Eve
The determined detective from Killing Eve, Eve Polastri is a nuanced character played brilliantly by Sandrah Oh. You could just go ahead and name your child for Sandrah Oh, but if you’re looking for a name with a more storied past, Eve is a great choice.
The name Eve is ancient and is derived from Eva. The name simply means, “living.” However, like the character Eve, the name is a bit dramatic. Just think of Eve Harrington from All About Eve.
15. Samwell – Game of Thrones
Good old Samwell Tarly from the beloved fantasy series Game of Thrones is a fan favorite for a number of reasons. He’s the nerdy best friend you want on your side. There are several great names from the series created by George R. R. Martin. Cersei, Jon, Melissandra, Theon, Tywin, and Margaery would all be fun names for a kid.
The name Samwell derives from Samuel and means “God heard.” If you’re looking for a boy’s name that’s quietly courageous, Samwell is a great choice.
14. Angela – Watchmen
The character, Angela Abar played by the super-talented Regina King was one of the most iconic characters on TV last year and she kicked butt! Angela’s alter ego is Sister Night who fights crime and solves mysteries. This character uncovers her past over the course of the first season, but what she learns is that her strength is deeply rooted.
The name Angela was hugely popular in the US in the ’60s and ’70s but it’s making a comeback. The name means “messenger of God.” If you name your baby Angela, she just might become the most powerful thing in the universe.
13. Sheldon – The Big Bang Theory
Even if you’ve never seen an episode of The Big Bang Theory, you know that the character, Sheldon is a fan favorite. Sheldon is an eccentric, regimented, and brilliant physicist who’s just trying to do things the right way! The Big Bang Theory is on track to become the most syndicated TV series of all time. So, we think the name Sheldon might have some staying power.
The name Sheldon was actually an Old English surname that means, “valley with steep sides.”
12. Tahani – The Good Place
Tahani might not be the deepest character on NBC’s The Good Place but she definitely has the best name. Tahani is a beautiful name and it’s just fun to say! Tahani comes from Arabic and means “congratulations.” Perhaps that’s why it feels rewarding to say.
If you want your child to grow up and constantly namedrop celebrities, consider naming him or her Tahani.
11. Saul – Breaking Bad & Better Call Saul
One of the funniest and most complex characters on TV this past decade, Saul Goodman AKA Jimmy McGill, proved an endearing and somewhat tragic figure. Originally Saul Goodman appeared on one of the decade’s most critically acclaimed shows, Breaking Bad before getting a spinoff series, Better Call Saul. Actor, Bob Odenkirk really brought the character to life and made him a household name.
One of the reasons we love the name Saul is because it’s so old and there are just so many good Sauls in the world. Saul means “asked for” or “prayed for” in Hebrew.
10. Duke – Better Things
Writer, director, producer, and showrunner, Pamela Adlon’s hit TV show, Better Things is a delight. The show centers around a single mom raising three daughters. Their names are Max, Frankie, and Duke. We love the name Duke for a girl. It’s contemporary and fun.
As you may have guessed, the name Duke means “leader” or “to lead.” If you want your son or daughter (especially your daughter) to stand out, Duke would be an excellent name.
9. Will – Hannibal, Stranger Things, & The Good Wife
The name Will had a good run on TV over the past decade. We enjoyed FBI criminal profiler, Will Graham in Hannibal. Will Byers was the cute, kidnapped kid in Stranger Things. And, Will Gardner was your mom’s favorite lawyer on The Good Wife. Will is such a handsome name and it’s clear many writers’ rooms were fond of it as well.
Will is short for William. Because of William Shakespear, many people assume the name is English. But, William is actually from German and means “resolute protector.”
8. Leslie – Parks and Recreation
Amy Poehler’s brilliant work as the character Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation kept us laughing the entire decade. Leslie is a funny and often misguided Deputy Director of the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana. She’s an icon and if you’re a parent with a sense of humor, you could do no better than naming your kid Leslie.
The name Leslie is Scottish in origin and means “garden of holly.” Before the 1940s the name was more commonly given to boys, but that changed and is now primarily a girl’s name. We like the name for any gender.
7. Alec – Broadchurch
While we’re talking about Scottish names, here’s another one to consider, Alec. Detective Alec Hardy from the British series, Broadchurch is an intense and broody man who’s got some secrets. Doesn’t everyone? The character portrayed by David Tennant is haunting. However, the name Alec is rather charming.
Alec is the Scottish form of the Greek name, Alex. The name means “protector.” If you’ve seen Broadchurch, this fact should give the name even more cred.
6. Ilana – Broad City
One of the best comedies of the decade, Broad City gave us one of the funniest characters of all time, Ilana Wexler. This offbeat comedy centered itself around two best friends trying to start adulthood. Ilana is over-the-top but she is one of the best-intentioned characters on TV. The character Ilana is played by a real-life Ilana, Ilana Glazer.
The name Ilana is Hebrew in origin and means “tree.” If you’re looking for a name that connotes strength and nature, Ilana would be a great name.
5. Damon – Pose
An overlooked show from the last decade was FX’s Pose. The show follows artists, performers, and contestants in the New York Ballroom Scene in the 1980s. Damon Richards-Evangelista plays a young dancer looking to get his start in New York City. His ballroom family or house helps support him so he can achieve his dreams of becoming a professional dancer.
The name Damon is Greek and a thing of Athenian legend. Damon means “to tame.”
4. Kalinda – The Good Wife
In the early years of the decade, every woman wanted to look as good as Kalinda does in a leather jacket and boots. A private investigator for a white-shoe law firm in Chicago, Kalinda was the best part of the first seasons of The Good Wife. Kalinda is such an elegant sounding name and would be the perfect name for a little girl.
Kalinda is a Sanskrit name that refers to the Kalinda mountains of Hindu mythology.
3. Abe – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
When most people hear the name, Abe, they think of Abraham Lincoln. Not us! The character Abe Weissman from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is one of the best TV-dads of all time. Abe plays a reluctantly supportive Dad who is very set in his ways. When his daughter, Mrs. Maisel becomes a comedian he tries his best to understand. Tony Shalhoub made a monk interesting so imagine how good he is as Abe.
The name Abe comes from Abraham which is Hebrew and means “father of many.” We’re big fans of babies with old-sounding names.
2. Nora – The Leftovers
Let the mystery be! The Leftovers was probably the best TV show of the decade and chances are you haven’t seen it. It’s truly remarkable. One of the reasons the show is so effective is due to the character development which unwinds slowly. Each episode reveals just enough to make you want more of this slow burn. The most compelling character of the show, Nora Durst is the lone survivor of her family after 2% of the world’s population mysteriously vanishes. Nora is smart, darkly funny, and played by the extremely talented Carrie Coon.
Nora comes from Latin and means “to honor.”
1. Homer – The OA
Say what you will about the weird, humanist sci-fi series The OA, but it had our favorite character name of the decade. The protagonist of the show is named Prairie so that should indicate to you that the whole show is full of strange names. Long-story-short, Homer is part of a team of people who harness the power of their movements to create change in the world. Like the show, the name Homer is poetic and romantic.
Of course, the name Homer comes from the Greek poet who wrote the epicThe Illiad. As you might have guessed, the name is Greek in origin. It means “hostage, pledge.” We love the name Homer so much and think it would suit many boys.
There you have it! Our favorite TV-inspired names from the past decade. We’re super excited about what writers and filmmakers will be cooking over the next ten years. Picking a name for your baby doesn’t have to be as serious as you think. Pick a name you love and that inspires you. Great characters from TV, film, and literature are a great place to start looking for baby name inspiration.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
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