The best scientists in TV history run the gamut from dependable pragmatists (Agent Scully, The X-files), to socially inept academics (Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory), to imminently gifted inventors with creepy fetishes (Dr. Krieger, Archer). Then there are those great TV scientists who have a simple bent on world destruction and/or domination, but we’ll get to them later.
TV’s greatest scientists instill a sense of wonder in the universe. From Saturday morning programming, like Beakman’s World, to prime-time cable-vision, these towering intellects open a window to the awe-inspiring possibilities of the space-time continuum. Whether through breaking down the barriers in intercultural understanding (Star Trek), or through crafting a transistor radio out of coconuts (The Professor, Gilligan’s Island), watchers feel smarter just being in their company.
However, the darker side of science can instill a feeling of terror in most viewers. One great TV scientist managed to turn the periodic table into something (even more) sinister (Walter White, Breaking Bad); another great mind uncovered the devastation wrought by a simple virus – one beyond his own capability to cure (Edwin Jenner, The Walking Dead). And we haven’t even touched on shape-shifting mass (Bruce Banner, The Incredible Hulk), or crafting explosives from the contents of one’s trashcan (Mac MacGyver, MacGyver).
The best TV scientists introduce us to new worlds (Lost in Space) and old ones (PrimEval), use their knowledge to combat evil (Juliet Parrish, V), and spend an inordinate amount of time explaining that they are “not that kind of doctor” (Ross Gellar, Friends).Vote up your favorite smart characters on this TV scientists list to determine the best fictional scientist on TV.