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TV Show Names

I’ve been watching Battlestar Galactica again, and it’s made me think of the character names.  Not only are there the characters’ real names, but there are also their call signs: Lee Adama – Apollo; Kara Thrace – Starbuck; Sharon Valerii – Boomer and Athena; Karl Agathon – Helo.  I was thinking how very awesome it would be to have a call sign.  Some of the call signs are assigned to them, due to a mishap or their personality, and some are just cool names.  Just for fun… what would your call sign be?

There are lots of shows that have several great character names.  Here are some examples:

LOST – Jack, Kate, Sawyer (James), Charlie, Claire, Michael, Walt, John, Jin, Sun, Sayid, Desmond, Juliet, Shannon, Boone

Friends – Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey, Ross (and of course Emma, which ruined the name for all of us who don’t want to use such a popular name on their child)

Beverly Hills, 90210 – Kelly, Brenda, Brandon, Dylan, Donna, David, Steve, Andrea, Valerie, Clare, Noah, Janet, Matt, Ray, Jesse, Colin, Susan, Carly, Joe, Tracy, Emily, Erin, Toni

Buffy the Vampire Slayer– Buffy, Willow, Angel, Cordelia, Xander, Anya, Faith, Spike

Firefly– Malcolm, Zoe, Inara, Jayne (male), Kaylee, Simon, River, Shepherd, Hoban

Alias – Sydney, Vaughn (Michael), Sloane (Arvin), Jack, Dixon (Marcus), Marshall, Sark (Julian), Francie, Will

Party of Five – Charlie, Bailey, Julia, Claudia, Owen, Sarah, Griffin, Kirsten

One Tree Hill – Lucas, Nathan, Haley, Peyton (female), Brooke

Frasier – Frasier, Niles, Daphne, Roz, Martin

Grey’s Anatomy – Meredith, Isobel, Cristina, George, Addison, Miranda, Callie, Preston, Alex, Mark

What other shows do you watch that have some great character names?

Obviously, character names can have an influence on parents when they name their children. Like I mentioned above, while it was gaining in popularity anyway, the name Emma went from number #13 in 2001 to #4 in 2002 after Ross and Rachel named their daughter Emma on the show Friends. The name Chandler, which never rose above #200 in previous years, actually jumped from #348 in 1994 to #177 in 1995 after the show Friends started, and stayed above #200 until 2001.  The name Addison for a girl has skyrocketed from #106 in 2005 to #27 in 2006, possibly due to the popularity of the show Grey’s Anatomy.  The name Willow cracked into the top 1000 in 1998 for the first time after Buffy the Vampire Slayer started airing.  Whether the show just brings it to the attention of parents, the character is a favorite, or it’s just coincidental, I think it’s interesting to look at.

There are also names that seem “stigmatized” because of its use on TV.  For instance, the name Dylan may always be linked to 90210.  And since I have a daughter named Rachel, I don’t think I can ever use the name Phoebe for another daughter, because people may think I’m going for a Friends theme (even though they are both great Biblical names).

So, what are your thoughts? Are there any names that are/were on a show that made you either like the name more or start to dislike the name due to the character? Did you consider, or actually use, a name from a show that first brought the name to your attention?


10 Responses

  1. People asked us all the time if we named Michaela after that “medicine woman” show (I can’t even remember the name now) – and, although that characters name was one of the few I’ve seen spelled the way we spell it, the answer is a resounding NO!!!
    Naming after celebreties and/or TV and movie characters is a big turn off to me. Such a disappointment that this darn medicine woman had the same name as my daughter.

    On another note – Kelli, I just finished reading Freakonomics and there was a whole chapter on baby names which I think you would find very interesting. Have you read it? 🙂

  2. Kristen – I have seen Freakonomics! It is really interesting. 🙂

  3. I’ve read it, too, and I agree that it IS interesting! And, unfortunately, one of our favorite names was mentioned it it, so we’re hoping no one else will get inspired by it because we want to be unique…

    As far as TV show names go, “Sex and the City” ruined the name “Charlotte” for me. I do not want anyone to think I named a girl after those women, since they are definitely NOT the type of role models I want by children to emulate!

  4. I’m not a fan of naming babies after TV shows/movie stars.

    My parents named me after the Bionic Woman, “Jaime Summers”. Thanks to them, I got to repeatedly hear James Bond jokes (my maiden name is Bond) and have my name misspelled my whole life b/c they liked the way the character “Jaime” was spelled.

    I thought it was interesting that a new Bionic Woman came out and they kept the same name. I haven’t checked to see how it was spelled though.

    I have liked the name, Mallory, since Family Ties was big so I can’t say I’m totally against TV show names.

  5. I guess there are some TV shows/movies that have made me aware of some names but I don’t think I would name a child specifically after a TV character.

  6. Jaime — I love that someone else has the same Mallory association! I always sing, “Sha-na-na-naaah!” in my head when I meet someone with that name, or with the last name “Keaton.”

  7. I’m with everyone else on this one — I think using a name off a show would make it too popular. 🙂 But, I have to confess that we talked about the name “Alton” and we also happen to be huge fans of Alton Brown. Wonder how that would have made our son feel, to find out he was named after a goofy guy on the Food network? 🙂

  8. Zak and I really like the name Caspian if we have another boy, but now that the movie about Prince Caspian is coming out we’re hoping that doesn’t ruin the name for us. Zak actually liked the name from the book, but he’s very hesitant to name a kid that soon after the movie comes out–which is kind of funny considering it is the same character, just different media.
    I figure by the time the kid is five everyone will have forgotten there was ever a movie by that name….maybe… I can’t imagine that it’s one of those names that will suddenly become very popular because of the movie.

  9. Kathy –
    My husband has always loved the name Alsan because of the books, too. I am pretty firmly against that unless it’s a middle name, though. But I think you should go with Caspian — it sounds like a rock star name, plus it’s a great way to get a kid interested in a great series of books!

  10. Any posting that lists Battlestar, Friends, Alias and 90210 in the same posting ranks as an all time favorite of mine!! Not so great at the name suggestion thing- but having a blast reading up on it all!

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