There are a lot of great TV protagonists, if you spent the time you could come up with a big list, I however have narrowed it down to 15! I’ve already done Parts I and II, so here it is the final installment to My Top 15 TV Protagonists!
*WARNING MAJOR SPOILERS*
5. Sherlock Holmes (BBC’s Sherlock)
The high-functioning sociopath who chooses to solve crimes rather than commit them is one of the most fascinating and exciting characters on TV. Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a man with an incredible intellect who along with assistance from his roommate and friend John Watson (Martin Freeman) helps DI Lestrade and Scotland Yard solve various types of crimes.
Sherlock is shown to be very arrogant, selfish, rude, condescending and mean, but despite all that everyone is impressed at how good he is at solving crimes, being able to connect the dots and always be a step ahead of everyone else. John Watson is no exception to this, he is the reluctant best friend, he at times hates Sherlock, but Watson knows that they make a great team.
Sherlock is shown to get bored very easily and spends his free time playing the violin and firing a gun at his apartment wall to the annoyance of his neighbors and his land lady, Mrs Hudson (Una Stubbs). He is also shown to care deeply for Mrs. Hudson and even chastises his brother, Mycroft (Mark Gatiss), when he tells her to shut up.
Sherlock has a complicated relationship with his brother Mycroft, despite Sherlock having an incredible intellect, he believes he is less intelligent than his older brother Mycroft. Despite being quite a jerk and arrogant most of the time, Sherlock does really care about people, especially his friend John Watson. Sherlock even comes to respect John because he can keep up with him and his thought process.
Sherlock is also shown to be asexual, and doesn’t seem to care for sexual relationships, but women are still attracted to him, because of his amazing intellect, especially medical examiner, Molly Hooper.
Sherlock Holmes is an arrogant, rude and condescending jerk, but it’s amazing to see his mind at work and see him solve some of the most difficult cases, which makes him one of the best protagonists on television.
4. Captain Jack Harkness (BBC’s Doctor Who, Torchwood)
The time-traveling con-man, who later becomes the leader of Torchwood Three in Cardiff, is one of the most interesting, compelling and exciting characters on television. Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) is a human from The 51st Century, who becomes a time-traveling con man. He uses a device called a Vortex Manipulator, which he wears on his wrist and it allows him to travel anywhere in time.
Captain Jack Harkness is a mysterious figure and it’s revealed that his real name isn’t even Jack Harkness, but the name of an American soldier he met during World War II, so much like The Doctor, we don’t know Jack’s real name. Due to circumstances that involved a companion of The Doctor’s, Jack is immortal, and dies over and over again, which The Master (The Doctor’s old friend, and now nemesis) had quite a lot of fun with.
Jack is a suave, slick, confident, brave, daring, courageous and flirtatious man. He is omnisexual, and pretty much hits on everything that moves. Jack does not have any committed relationships because he always outlives his lovers, so instead he just sleeps around.
Jack is shown to be arrogant, cunning, overconfident, cocky, and a real tough guy. He is an action hero, swooping in to save the day and is willing to save anyone no matter what.
Unlike, The Doctor, Jack is willing to fight and kill anyone he considers a threat. Jack as the leader of Torchwood Three can be strict and come off as a jerk, but he truly does care about his team. He is willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good as seen when he sacrificed himself to destroy Abaddon (a demon, who is the son of The Devil) when he was released into our world.
Captain Jack is very guarded and does not like to talk about his past, but it is eventually revealed that his younger brother disappeared during an alien invasion on his home The Boeshane Peninsula, which was located on an Earth colony world. Jack harbors guilt for allowing his brother to be captured during the alien invasion on his home world.
Since encountering The Ninth Doctor, Jack has become obsessed with The Doctor and is very attracted to him and fascinated by him. He impatiently waits for the day he encounters The Doctor again, loving to go on adventures with him.
Captain Jack is a brave, courageous, heroic, arrogant and flirtatious man who you cannot help but root for because he is such a likable guy and he does not comprise his principles, no matter what, which makes him one of the best protagonists on television.
3. Rick Grimes (AMC’s The Walking Dead)
The Sheriff’s Deputy turned leader is one of the most insanely bad-ass characters on television. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is a Sheriff’s Deputy who after spending months in a coma in a Georgia hospital, wakes up to discover that he is now living in a zombie infested world! Rick accepts his situation and springs into action, eventually finding a group and becoming their de facto leader.
Rick Grimes is a tough, brave, courageous, fearless, and strong man. He is a great leader because he understands that tough decisions need to be made, and listens to others, knowing how important survival is in a zombie apocalypse. Through his encounters with different people and groups, Rick learns that people cannot be trusted, because in this world, people are worse than the zombies.
Rick is a sweet, caring, loving man, who is a great father to his children, but because of the world he is living in, was forced to become an unforgiving man, who only is concerned with his and his family’s (the group included) survival. At a certain point Rick stops wearing his Sheriff’s Deputy uniform, which I think is symbolic, illustrating how Rick realizes there is no law and order in this world, and also kind of sheds that identity, and as a result attains a new identity.
Rick is not afraid to teeter over the edge from time to time, killing those he considers a threat to his son, daughter and group, who he considers his family. He quickly realizes that you have to be unforgiving in this world, because everyone is out for themselves, and will do anything to survive.
After experimenting, trying to take control of his group and make all the decisions without anyone’s input, Rick realized for them all to survive, they all need to work together.
Rick will not comprise his own principles, and is willing to do whatever is necessary to protect his family and the group. Rick understands that you cannot hesitate in this world, because you will be killed instantly, and must do whatever is necessary to survive.
Rick Grimes is a strong, brave, fearless, and incorruptible man, who is the ultimate bad-ass you root for to survive and kill as many evil people in the zombie apocalypse, which makes him one of the best television protagonists.
2. Walter White (AMC’s Breaking Bad)
The mild-mannered high school chemistry teacher turned evil drug lord is one of the most intriguing, unpredictable, and bad-ass characters ever to grace our televisions. Walter White is a high school chemistry teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who has a loving wife, Skyler, and a loving son Walter Junior. Despite being a genius chemist, Walter never attained fame or fortune, having started a company with his friend, Elliot Schwartz, called Gray Matter Technologies, which became a billion dollar company. Walter sold his share of the company and ended up losing out on some of that money and as a result became a high school chemistry teacher. Walter blames Elliot and his wife Gretchen for his current life.
Walter is diagnosed with stage three lung cancer, which is inoperable. Wanting to leave money for his family, Walter along with his former chemistry student, Jesse Pinkman decide to start cooking and selling crystal meth. Walter and Jesse’s growing business leads them to encounter some dangerous and scary characters, including Tuco Salamanca and Gustavo Fring. Walter and Jesse also have to avoid being caught by Walter’s brother-in-law, Hank Schrader, who is a DEA agent.
Walter White is a smart, cunning, calculating, and at times very scary man. He loves his family and will do whatever he can to protect them, and he even orchestrates drug kingpin, Gus Fring’s murder in order to ensure his family’s safety.
Walter is shown to be selfish, overconfident, heartless, arrogant and ruthless. He enjoys cooking crystal because he is really good at it and it’s the first time he feels successful in his life. He also gets a sick satisfaction at being able to outsmart his brother-in-law Hank. He is willing to do whatever is necessary to make sure he never gets caught and is even willing to kill others who might potentially rat him out.
Walter is shown to ridicule and belittle Jesse for being a screw-up and failing to think things through before making decisions, some decisions that have almost attracted the attention of Walter’s DEA agent brother-in-law Hank. Jesse’s parents have disowned him because he is a loser and a drug addict and as result, Walter becomes a father figure to Jesse. Eventually Jesse becomes Walter’s protege and Walter comes to respect Jesse who learns the chemical process of cooking crystal meth.
Walter is a bit of a control freak and wants to control the crystal meth operation, always trying to make more money off the crystal he and Jesse make. This need to control things sometimes puts him at odds with Jesse or anyone else that helps Walt and Jesse sell them the crystal. Walter is also shown to be very manipulative, especially towards Jesse. A good example of this is when Walter poisons Jesse’s girlfriend’s son, telling him it was Gus Fring (a drug kingpin Walter and Jesse were working for) who poisoned the boy, which causes Jesse to agree to kill Gus along with Walter.
Walter White is a manipulative, cunning, conniving, calculating and extremely dangerous man who does not care or really think about the consequences of his actions. Despite being downright evil at times, you cannot help but root for him and you love seeing him take down evil drug kingpins and other criminals, and outsmart and beat various enemies, which makes him one of the best protagonists on television.
Even though Walter White is one of my top protagonists, there is only one character I had to reserve the number one spot for….
1. The Doctor (BBC’s Doctor Who)
Who else could I have put at number one? The Doctor is such a unique character!
The time traveling alien who changes his face and saves people, races and civilizations from all sorts of problems is one of the most wonderful, fascinating, amazing and incredible characters ever to grace our televisions. The Doctor is an alien and is part of a race called Time Lords, who can see all of time happening at once and are able to determine which events are fixed and which are in flux. The Doctor ran away from his home planet of Gallifrey to see the universe and took on the name The Doctor, and no one knows his real name, hence the title of the show Doctor Who.
When the Doctor is injured or mortally injured, he can regenerate, which allows him to live on. However every time he regenerates, he changes his appearance, and his personality, likes and dislikes, sense of style and idiosyncracies change as a result. The Doctor has been shown to regenerate into a young or old body, and he doesn’t seem to have much control over the regeneration process. Every Doctor’s experiences affect the next Doctor’s personality, and he retains the memories and experiences of his past incarnations. Sometimes the Doctor goes through post-regenerative trauma where he forgets things or is too weak to move and is bed-ridden as a result. Regeneration allows Time Lords to live for thousands of years, and currently the Doctor is a little over 2,000 years old.
The Doctor pilots a time machine known as The TARDIS, which is an acronym for Time And Relative Dimension In Space. The TARDIS is Time Lord technology, and it allows The Doctor to travel anywhere in time and space. The dimensional technology of The TARDIS allows it to be “bigger on the inside,” which surprises a lot of people when they meet the Doctor. The TARDIS’ chameleon circuits (which allow it to camouflage the TARDIS to blend in with the environment) were damaged and as a result the TARDIS looks like a 1960’s British Police Box.
The Doctor invites people to travel with him, these people are known as companions. They help the Doctor stop different villains and also rein him in when he is about to do something questionable. The current companion Clara Oswald has been sort of a carer for the Doctor, having to snap him out of making some bad decisions. She also is the Doctor’s connection to humanity, because he has become more alien than he has been in a long while.
The Doctor is highly intelligent, cunning, and manipulative. He is a very caring, and loving being, who cares about his companions and is willing to do whatever he must to ensure their safety. The current Doctor, Twelve (Peter Capaldi) is a very grumpy and rude man and does not like to show much emotion, and is not outwardly emotional, especially when it comes to how much he cares about his companion, Clara Oswald.
Twelve is shown to be pragmatic, and does not apologize to those who die under his care, focusing on the task at hand.
The Doctor is a very intelligent man, who is always ten steps ahead of everyone else being able to save people from the most dire of circumstances, coming up with a brilliant plan to save the day. The Doctor is very eccentric, strange, and crazy, and has even referred to himself as “a mad man with a box.”
The Doctor, especially The Twelfth Doctor has a very dark side, and isn’t afraid to show it. Whenever his friends, allies or companions are in danger, he springs into action and can be very ruthless and unforgiving towards his enemies.
The Doctor abhors violence and refuses to take part in any fighting or battles, unless his friends or companions are in danger.
The Doctor hates himself, and does not consider himself a hero, despite all the people he has saved. He hates himself for destroying his planet, Gallifrey, which was involved in a war between their enemies, the Daleks.
The Doctor wants to help and save people, and is willing to do whatever he can to make sure he saves everyone he encounters on his many adventures, but this doesn’t always happen.
The Doctor is an exciting, eccentric, crazy, and wonderful man who despite how he feels about himself is a hero, who continues to save people, races and civilizations from various predicaments. He is the amazing character who changes his face, but continues to be the same man, who has a thirst for adventure and travels the universe in his blue box saving who he can, which makes him the best protagonist on television right now.
Well that concludes My Top 15 TV Protagonists! I hope you enjoyed my list!
What say you? Do you agree/disagree with my list? Who do you consider your number one TV protagonist? Whatever your thoughts let me know!