Monday Madness: Favorite Brilliant Yet Crazy Characters

This Monday Madness, in honor of TNT’s new show, Perception (which premieres Monday, July 9th, at 10/9c), we’re looking at TV’s brilliant yet crazy characters. Perception centers around a schizophrenic neuroscientist (Eric McCormack) who works with FBI Agent Kate Moretti (Rachel Lee Cook) to solve complex criminal cases. Perception also stars Arjay Smith and Kelly Rowan, with special appearances by Levar Burton.

For the purposes of this poll, I’m defining “crazy” as anywhere from clinically insane to mild disorders to kind of quirky. “Brilliant” ranges anywhere from off-the-charts IQ to uniquely skilled in a certain area (though most lean toward high IQ).

This poll will be open for one week, and you can choose up to 10 of your favorite smart, zany characters. Be sure to spread the word so your favorites will make it into the top 10! Fans have used Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, forums, Reddit, blogs, and chatboxes to get the word out about past polls. Get creative!

Even though there are 20-some options on this list, I know there are brilliant-crazy characters I left out! You can nominate ones I missed in the comments until Thursday night, and I may add them to the poll (from live-action scripted shows only, please, and avoid villains unless they’re a major part of the show).

Want more of a say in who makes it onto the poll each week? Be sure to follow me on Twitter or like TV Breakroom on Facebook, since I usually ask for nominations for the next Monday Madness the weekend before the new poll. Please help out with nominations! There are only so many shows I can watch personally, so I’m counting on you to fill me in!

Without further ado, here’s the poll for this week’s Monday Madness! Voting ends around 1AM July 9th.

Who's your favorite brilliant but crazy character? (Choose up to 10)

  • River Tam (Summer Glau) - Firefly (16%, 1,291 Votes)
  • Castiel (Misha Collins) - Supernatural (11%, 916 Votes)
  • Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) - Sherlock (7%, 549 Votes)
  • Walter Sherman (Geoff Stults) - The Finder (6%, 456 Votes)
  • Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) - The Big Bang Theory (5%, 411 Votes)
  • The Doctor (various) - Doctor Who (5%, 402 Votes)
  • Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette) - NCIS (4%, 318 Votes)
  • Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) - House (4%, 317 Votes)
  • Parker (Beth Riesgraf) - Leverage (3%, 259 Votes)
  • Shawn Spencer (James Roday) - Psych (3%, 244 Votes)
  • Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi) - Community (3%, 234 Votes)
  • Zack Addy (Eric Mulligan) - Bones (3%, 220 Votes)
  • Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) - Dexter (3%, 214 Votes)
  • Walter Bishop (John Noble) - Fringe (3%, 210 Votes)
  • Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub) - Monk (2%, 192 Votes)
  • Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik) - The Big Bang Theory (2%, 188 Votes)
  • Mozzie (Willie Garson) - White Collar (2%, 185 Votes)
  • Fred Burkle (Amy Acker) - Angel (2%, 181 Votes)
  • Claudia Donovan (Allison Scagliotti) - Warehouse 13 (2%, 134 Votes)
  • Topher Brink (Fran Kranz) - Dollhouse (2%, 132 Votes)
  • Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) - Chuck (2%, 127 Votes)
  • Murdoch (Dwight Schultz) - The A-Team (2%, 125 Votes)
  • Fiona Glenanne (Gabrielle Anwar) - Burn Notice (2%, 123 Votes)
  • Cal Lightman (Tim Roth) - Lie to Me (1%, 108 Votes)
  • Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) - The Office (1%, 94 Votes)
  • Gary Bell (Ryan Cartwright) - Alphas (1%, 86 Votes)
  • Daisy Wick (Carla Gallo) - Bones (1%, 83 Votes)
  • Gaius Baltar (James Callis) - Battlestar Galactica (1%, 79 Votes)
  • Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) - Homeland (1%, 42 Votes)
  • Seymour Birkhoff (Aaron Stanford) - Nikita (0%, 39 Votes)
  • Robert Goren (Vincent D'Onofrio) - Law & Order: Criminal Intent (0%, 34 Votes)
  • Billy Chenowith (Jeremy Sisto) - Six Feet Under (0%, 15 Votes)
  • Jeffrey Geiger (Mandy Patinkin) - Chicago Hope (0%, 14 Votes)
  • Tony Hill (Robson Green) - Wire in the Blood (0%, 13 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,717

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31 thoughts on “Monday Madness: Favorite Brilliant Yet Crazy Characters”

  1. Dr. Anthony “Tony” Hill (Robson Green) from Wire in the Blood. Eccentric and very dysfunctional, which fits this poll’s definition of “crazy”.

    Dr Jeffrey Geiger (Mandy Patinkin) in Chicago Hope – he was House before House.

  2. Oh, and what about Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) from Homeland? She actually has a bipolar disorder.

    Ditto Billy Chenowith (Jeremy Sisto) in Six Feet Under – a lot of the people on that show are zany, but he had a genuine mental illness.

  3. Sam Winchester was crazy all season long. Castiel was only crazy by stealing Sam’s crazy, so finding Castiel on this list but not Sam is hugely offensive, since Castiel is the one who attacked Sam in the first place (tearing down Sam’s Wall and thus nearly killing him and causing hallucinations). This poll is why I feel like the entire writing staff for SPN should have been fired for last season. Having Sam’s insanity all but ignored for an entire season only for it to be pawned off on the character who mauled his brain in the first place just makes me cry inside.

    1. Methinks you do take this all much too seriously, Steam!

      I think they were probably looking at how Castiel has been a bit loopy since he started on SPN, while Sam’s quirkiness was more short-lived. I mean, he’s more the hero-type rather than the crazy one, yes?

      1. For the purposes of this poll, I’m defining “crazy” as anywhere from clinically insane to mild disorders to kind of quirky.

        Sam was clinically insane. 🙂


      2. I totally agree with Jim M… If I saw Sam kickin back and playing Twister than I can see what you mean. But Cas was comical! Sam going crazy just brought in the great acting of Mark Pellegrino. Take a shot…. a deep breath! It all good!

  4. don’t forget Murdoch from the A-Team (the show not the movie). Also if cartoons are allowed, Pinky and the Brain is fairly obvious.

  5. Nice list… How was Detective Bobby Goren (Vince D’Onofrio) left off!? He was probably as brilliant and quirky as any of them. 🙂

  6. Summer Glau is such a beautiful and talented actress; she takes on these tricky parts and brings them subtly to life.
    I’d love to see her in a smart Hollywood sci-fi movie, something action-packed, sexy, emotional. She’s definitely got it in her.

    1. you’ve just described Serenity to a tee:)Have you seen it? Because if you want to see Summer in a movie like that, there you go!

  7. Walter from The Finder is an amazing character. Too bad Fox hasn’t figured it out and is cancelling the show.

  8. summer glau what a elegant and graceful and beautiful actress she is only she could portray river tam in firefly also serenity she is absolutely stunning what a performance looking forward seeing summer in alphas season 2 hopefully in a few episodes cant wait its getting hot on the leaderboard it must be summer glau

  9. #1 Walter Sherman from The Finder.
    How this show got canceled is beyond me.

    #2 Jim Longworth from The Glades.

    #3 Parker from Leverage.

    #4 The rest of the cast from Leverage.

  10. My overall favorite crazy genius is House, but in my opinion he was not mentally ill so the list goes like this.

    1. Walter Sherman (The Finder)
    2. Adrian Monk (Monk)
    3. Gregory House (House)
    4. Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock)
    5. Mozzie (White Collar)

    1. We just had a poll on TV villains (in which Moriarty placed in the top 10), so this poll focused on main cast members instead. Besides, most memorable villains on TV are either brilliant, crazy, or both, so this poll would have been too long if they were included!

  11. Castiel is such an amazing brilliant character. He deserves the title of Favorite Brilliant Yet Crazy Characters!!

  12. Summer Glau rules!!

    Don’t forget to watch the second season of Alphas on Syfy, premiering Monday, July 23 at 10pm ET/PT.

    Summer Glau will reprise her role as Skylar Adams for 3 episodes.

  13. great result summer glau does it again fantastic she has a massive following well done summer great news i hear about alphas 3 episodes cant wait to see her back on screen

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