25 memorable TV characters who weren’t human
Whether they’re talking or not talking, kind or malevolent, supernatural, alien, or just your above-average pet, some of the most beloved television characters of all time weren’t human.
A non-human creature doesn’t have to be a protagonist, like in “Animaniacs,” “Invader Zim,” or “Bojack Horseman,” to add a certain kind of charm to a TV show. Whether a sinister, otherworldly being like Bob in “Twin Peaks,” a beagle who pretends to be the Red Baron, a rabbit with a Brooklyn accent, or an infant version of Yoda, non-human characters have frequently become just as iconic as the shows that they’re from.
Stacker looked through the most popular TV shows and made a list of 25 memorable, non-human characters. They could be a silent pet, an anthropomorphic animal, an extra-terrestrial, a robot, an evil spirit, you name it. You might not be able to take all these guys home—and you probably wouldn’t want to—but they certainly left their mark in our world as much as in theirs.
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This cartoon comedy series stars three characters known as the Warner siblings—brothers Yakko and Wakko and their sister Dot—who wreak mischief and mayhem upon the lives of everyone they encounter. “Animaniacs” is a variety show blending multiple forms of humor alongside pop culture references. The three siblings interact with humans and fellow animals; though the species of the Warner siblings themselves is left unknown for comedic effect.
Nickelodeon Animation Studios
Four elemental nations exist on this planet: Water, Earth, Fire, and Air, the elements of which can be controlled by people known as Benders. When the Fire nation becomes determined to conquer the world, the only bender with enough power to stop them—the Avatar—must train to master all four elements. During Aang the Avatar’s journey in “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” he is joined by a large buffalo-like “sky bison” named Appa, who shares a special bond with Aang.
From “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening, the animated sci-fi series “Futurama” follows a pizza delivery guy named Fry who is accidentally frozen and wakes up 1,000 years into the future. Fry is taken in by his only relative, an elderly scientist named Professor Farnsworth, who introduces Fry to the crew of his cargo delivery service. One member of this crew is Bender, a foul-mouthed, mean-tempered robot who becomes Fry’s roommate and eventually his best friend.
Welcome to Twin Peaks, a small town in Washington where the body of beauty queen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) has washed up on the shoreline wrapped in plastic. FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) is sent to investigate the heinous crime, teaming up with the local sheriff’s department to uncover the many secrets held by this seemingly unsuspecting town. One such secret is in the form of a creature named Bob (Frank Silva), a malevolent entity who feeds on pain and sorrow and becomes the show’s main antagonist. Bob is just one of many spirits who linger on the peripheries of Twin Peaks.
Washed-up sitcom actor and anthropomorphic horse BoJack Horseman (voiced by Will Arnett) wastes away his middle age on booze, drugs, and women until he decides to show Hollywood he’s no has-been. With the help of his best friend Todd (voiced by Aaron Paul), his agent Princess Carolyn (voiced by Amy Sedaris), and a ghostwriter named Diane (voiced by Alison Brie), BoJack sets out to make his comeback in the form of a memoir.
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20th Century Fox Television
Seth MacFarlane’s controversial animated sitcom “Family Guy” follows the exploits of the Griffin family and their talking dog, Brian, with MacFarlane voicing four of the characters including the dog. Brian was killed in season 12, sparking such a negative reaction from fans that MacFarlane was genuinely taken aback. However, Brian was never intended to stay dead, and the Griffin pet was brought back later that same season.
Since his definitive characterization in Tex Avery’s “A Wild Hare” in 1940, anthropomorphic rabbit Bugs Bunny has gotten up to countless shenanigans in his numerous appearances in Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies animated shorts. Bugs Bunny has evolved into one of the most popular and recognizable cartoon characters in history, even becoming the official mascot for Warner Bros.
In the third “Star Trek” series, which takes place 78 years after the first series, Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) leads a new crew exploring the galaxy aboard the USS Enterprise. “Star Trek: The Next Generation” features an android named Data (Brent Spiner), who operates as second officer and operations officer on the Enterprise. His “outsider” character serves a similar purpose as that of Spock (Leonard Nimoy) in the original series.
Grogu (aka Baby Yoda)
“The Mandalorian” is set five years after the events in “Return of the Jedi” and stars Pedro Pascal as the titular lone bounty hunter making his way through the outskirts of the galaxy. The Mandalorian is forced to go on the run after being hired to retrieve something known only as “The Child.” “The Child,” or Grogu, is a young force-sensitive creature of the same species as Yoda, and The Mandalorian decides to protect the 50-year-old infant and take him back to his kind.
Itchy & Scratchy
History’s longest-running scripted television show surrounds the Simpson family’s home in Springfield following the adventures the family gets up to with other residents of the oddball town and occasional outsiders. A show within the show, titled “Itchy & Scratchy,” involves a Tom-and-Jerry-adjacent animated cat and mouse who commit horrible acts of violence against one another—acts the children in “The Simpsons” consume with glee.
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Kermit the Frog
Created and performed by iconic puppeteer Jim Henson, Kermit the Frog first appeared in 1955 in the puppet television show “Sam and Friends.” He later appeared in numerous Henson productions like “Sesame Street” and “The Muppet Show” and has since become a cultural icon. The little green frog is typically portrayed as the straight-man protagonist and was married to fellow Muppet Miss Piggy until their separation in 2015.
First featured in a short story by Eric Knight, the tale of this fictional female rough collie was expanded into a novel in 1940 called “Lassie Come Home,” then adapted into a movie in 1943 and a series in 1954. The TV series ran for 19 years and followed the eponymous Lassie as she performed heroic tasks for her human family and friends.
In the near future, humanoid robots populate an amusement park called “Westworld” where attendees are free to live out their fantasies within the world of the Wild West. That’s all well and good until the robots’ free will and capability of sentience are called into question. One such robot, Maeve Millay (Thandiwe Newton), is a madam at a local brothel who becomes instrumental in the robot revolt.
The 1978 sitcom “Mork and Mindy” stars Robin Williams as alien Mork from the planet Ork, who has been tasked with traveling to Earth to study humans. Once there, he befriends journalism graduate Mindy (Pam Dawber) and learns to understand Earth culture. The series is a spin-off of “Happy Days,” with Mork appearing in season five of the popular 1970s/’80s sitcom.
George R.R. Martin’s popular fantasy novels come to life in “Game of Thrones,” the story of the warring Seven Kingdoms and the two families at the center of it all, vying for a spot upon the Iron Throne and control of Westeros. The Night King is the leader of a feared army of creatures known as the White Walkers—mythical, zombified beings that were once the stuff of legends, but which become the greatest threat to life in Westeros.
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Ren & Stimpy
One of Nickelodeon’s first original animated series stars a sociopathic chihuahua named Ren and a dim-witted cat named Stimpy who constantly get themselves into unusual and comedic situations. The series was considered controversial at the time for its dark humor, adult innuendos, and violence.
Based on the Archie Comics series of the same name, this sitcom follows the adventures of a young teenage witch named Sabrina Spellman (Melissa Joan Hart), living with her two witch aunts and their talking cat, Salem (voiced by Nick Bakay). Salem is actually a 500-year-old witch who has been punished for attempting to take over the world by being sentenced to spend 100 years as a cat.
Sally, Dick, Tommy, and Harry Solomon
In “3rd Rock From the Sun,” an alien expedition sent to study human society in fictional Rutherford, Ohio, takes the form of a normal human family: father figure Dick Soloman (John Lithgow), and his three “children,” Sally (Kristen Johnson), Harry (French Stewart), and Tommy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). The family forms an enduring relationship with Dr. Mary Albright (Jane Curtin), a professor of anthropology who works with Dick at the local university.
The “Scooby-Doo” franchise began in 1969 with the animated Hanna-Barbera series “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” following a group of sleuthing teenagers and their talking dog as they solved mysteries involving supposedly supernatural creatures. The immensely popular franchise endures to this day, taking the form of TV series, animated movies, live-action films, comics, video games, tabletop games, and other merchandise.
Series 1A-1998 Model B-9 Class Rodney YM-3 General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robotic Ionism, or Robot
The series “Lost in Space” centers on the Robinson family, who find themselves adrift in space for several years after a scheming scientist sabotages their spaceship. The Robinsons, accompanied by their Robot, go from planet to planet in an attempt to find their way back to Earth. The Robot is given superhuman strength and frequently displays human behaviors.
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Lee Mendelson Film Productions
Beginning as a Sunday comic and eventually spurring a series of short animated specials, “Peanuts” follows the day-to-day lives of several young friends. The main character, Charlie Brown, has an eccentric pet beagle named Snoopy, who generally behaves like a real dog but exhibits above-average intelligence, adopts alter egos, and doesn’t speak but conveys thoughts in the comics.
In a pineapple under the sea, go-getter Spongebob Squarepants lives with his pet snail. The series follows the adventures of Spongebob as he gets into an assortment of silly situations with his fellow sea creatures, like his boss Mr. Krabs, octopod neighbor Squidward Tentacles, underwater-dwelling squirrel Sandy Cheeks, and best friend Patrick Statr.
The Man in Black (aka The Smoke Monster)
After Oceanic Flight 815 crash-lands on a deserted island in the South Pacific, its survivors struggle to stay alive as they uncover the island’s dark secrets. On “Lost,” one such secret takes the form of The Man in Black—a long-time inhabitant of the island who was turned into a supernatural creature called “The Smoke Monster” and serves as the show’s primary antagonist.
In “Rick & Morty,” the titular grandfather and grandson go on epic adventures across the galaxy, much to the chagrin of Morty’s parents. One of the many strange creatures the two encounter in their travels is Zeep Xanflorp, a scientist who lives within a Microverse Battery that Rick built to power his car. Zeep ends up creating his own mini-universe power supply that stops the flow of energy to Rick’s car.
Inept, annoying space invader Zim is sent to infiltrate Earth by his planet’s leaders, who are desperate to get rid of him. Zim successfully assimilates with humans by posing as a child scheming to destroy the planet, but a young paranormal investigator named Dib recognizes that Zim is an alien. Luckily for Zim, no one believes Dib’s claims.
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