My top 10 flawed TV geniuses

Recently I have become a bit obsessed with The Bridge, a Swedish/Danish crime series that features a detective called Saga Noren, who may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome and is able to see connections that no one else can… but she’s also a bit of a social challenge. Watching Saga’s unusual behaviour onscreen made me think of some other genius characters I love who have… issues… and so this rather unusual list was born.

SherlockSherlock Holmes
Played by: Benedict Cumberbatch
Show: Sherlock (2010 – )
Area of genius: Photographic memory, abilities of deduction
Flaws: Using others for his own purposes, destructive behaviour when bored, reveling in any crime he finds entertaining, complete lack of tact
“Sherlock Holmes: Dear God, what is it like in your funny little brains? It must be so boring!”

Sheldon

Dr Sheldon Cooper
Played by: Jim Parsons
Show: The Big Bang Theory (2007 – )
Area of genius: Physics
Flaws: Seeing himself as the centre of the universe and demanding that everyone else comply
“Sheldon: But then some poor woman is going to pin her hopes on my sperm, what if she winds up with a toddler that doesn’t know if he should use an integral or a differential to solve for the area under a curve?
Leonard: I’m sure she’ll still love him.
Sheldon: I wouldn’t.” 

Seven of NineSeven of Nine
Played by: Jeri Ryan
Show: Star Trek: Voyager (1995 – 2001)
Area of genius: Astrophysics
Flaws: Relating to others, being overly literal
“B’Elanna Torres: [reading Seven’s study of her and Tom from a PADD] ‘Stardate 52647, 1400 hours: Subjects quarrel in corridor outside female’s quarters. Male returns with twelve flowering plant stems, species rosa rubifolia, effecting a cessation of hostilities. Stardate 52648, 0300 hours: Intimate relations resume.’ – How the hell do you know when we’re having intimate relations?
Seven of Nine: There is no one on deck nine, section twelve, who *doesn’t* know when you’re having intimate relations.”

Saga Noren

Saga Noren
Played by: Sofia Helin
Show: The Bridge (2011 – )
Area of genius: Making connections between events
Flaws: Saying everything that pops into her head, ignoring social norms, being overly literal
“Saga Noren: Very few women fantisise about small penises.”

ReidDr Spencer Reid
Played by: Matthew Gray Gubler
Show: Criminal Minds (2005 – )
Area of genius: Photographic memory, making connections between things
Flaws: Making connections with others, being overly literal
“Special Agent Derek Morgan: So tell me, what does keep young Dr. Reid awake at night? Wait, let me guess. Memorizing some obscure textbook? No, no, no. Working on cold fusion? No, I got it, I got it, I got it. Watching Star Trek and laughing at all the physics mistakes?
Dr. Spencer Reid: Actually, there aren’t that many scientific errors in Star Trek, especially considering how long ago it was made. There are certain improbabilities, but not that many outright errors.
Special Agent Derek Morgan: Right.”

HouseDr Gregory House
Played by: Hugh Lawrie
Show: House M.D. (2005 – 2012)
Area of genius: Medical diagnoses
Flaws: Lack of empathy for anyone, excessive drug use
“Dr. James Wilson: Your real fear is me having a good relationship.
Dr. Gregory House: Yes, it keeps me up at night. That and the Loch Ness Monster, global warming, evolution, other fictional concepts.”

FlokiFloki
Played by: Gustaf Skarsgård
Show: Vikings (2012 – )
Area of genius: Boat building and just generally being ahead of his time
Flaws: Being away with the fairies, talking in riddles, taking crazy risks.
“King Horik: Floki, you have betrayed the gods.
Floki: No, King Horik. I only betrayed you.”

 Walter whitw
Walter White
Played by: Bryan Cranston
Show: Breaking Bad (2008 – 2013)
Area of genius: Chemistry
Flaws: No knowing when to stop, egomania
“Declan: Who the hell are you?
Walter White: You know. You all know exactly who I am. Say my name.
Declan: Do what? I don’t… I don’t have a damn clue who the hell you are.
Walter White: Yeah, you do. I’m the cook. I’m the man who killed Gus Fring.
Declan: Bullshit. Cartel got Fring.
Walter White: Are you sure?
[Declan looks at Mike and Mike shakes his head]
Walter White: That’s right. Now, say my name.
Declan: [quietly] Heisenberg.
Walter White: You’re goddamn right.”

Carrie Mathison

Carrie Mathison
Played by: Clare Danes
Show: Homeland (2011 – )
Area of genius: Intuition, making connections
Flaws: Mania, general lack professionalism, not knowing when to stop
“Carrie Mathison: [Saul and Estes question the validity of an asset’s intel] It’s not lost on me why people don’t trust my judgment. Why you didn’t even want me here.
Saul Berenson: Carrie…
Carrie Mathison: It’s not fair, I know, for you to have to be the one to decide.
[Carrie starts to cry]
Carrie Mathison: It fucked me up, Saul. Being wrong about Brody, it really… it fucked me up. Because I have never been so sure… and so wrong. And it’s that fact that I still can’t get my head around. It makes me unable to trust my own thoughts. Every time I think I see something clearly now… it just disappears.
[Carrie takes a moment to calm down]
Carrie Mathison: We have a chance to get Abu Nazir.
Saul Berenson: I know you want to think that. I won’t risk American lives on a hunch.
Carrie Mathison: And I would not ask you to. I recruited her, Saul, right here in this city. And it’s been eight years. I know… I know a lot of things can change. But I helped her through an abusive domestic situation. I practically saved her life. And I remember… I remember knowing at the time… that one day… she would be ready to leave here… and when that time came, she would be on my side. Look, the… the way I am now, I wouldn’t trust me, either. But the Carrie who recruited her… that one I believe. “

Moss

Maurice Moss
Played by: Richard Ayoade
Show: The IT Crowd (2006 – 2013)
Area of genius: Inventions
Flaws: Inability to actually take care of humself, understanding social conventions
“Moss: I wanna go back to being weird. I like being weird. Weird’s all I got. That, and my sweet sweet style.” 

22 Comments

  1. Nice to see Saga Noren mentioned, she is so funny. Great acting!

    1. Abbi

      I love her. She’s hilarious.

  2. I do so enjoy many of your picks, but FUCK Carrie Mathison :/ I don’t know when last a character peeved me as badly. As for Floki, Reid, Sherlock, Walter? You just can’t go wrong!

    1. Abbi

      Hahahahha. I think she’s supposed to be exasperating.

      1. She plays it too well *grumble grumble grumble*. I don’t know when last my TV was in such severe danger… eish.

  3. this was quite entertaining, and also thank you for some shows I still need to check out!

    1. Abbi

      Thank-you!

  4. Great choices. I can see why you chose each of them.

    Is Vikings actually good? It looks very intriguing.

    1. Abbi

      Thanks!

      Vikings is absolutely brilliant. Mr O and I mowed through both seasons in about a week.

  5. I absolutely adore Cumberbatch’s Sherlock!

    1. Abbi

      How could you not? He’s funny, smart, sexy, crazy…

      1. Aaargh! Can’t wait for the next season!

  6. I am so obsessed with Homeland and 100% of that is Carrie Mathison. Her character is really complex and weird and crazy and smart all at the same time and I can’t get enough. The IT Crowd and Breaking Bad are amazing too!

    1. Abbi

      She definitely is an intriguing character.

  7. I have a huge crush on Moss. 🙂

    1. Abbi

      There is something about him, isn’t there?

  8. Mmmm, Sherlock and Reid, the two yummiest nerds on tv. I would do such “un-ladylike” things to them… 😉

    1. Abbi

      You wouldn’t be the only one! 😉

  9. Not seen Vikings but recognised all the other ones. Great choices.

    1. Abbi

      It’s such a good show. I would highly recommend it.

  10. MIB

    Very pleased to see Saga Noren on your list. One of the more fascinating characters to appear on TV in a long time.

  11. Oooh! we’ve been watching the Bridge too..loved it..enjoyed series 2 just as much for the development of the characters, making me laugh where I really shouldn’t have been! xxx

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