TV Characters Don't Get More Brainier Than These

May, 26, 2014: It might be difficult to accept but some of these TV geniuses aren't as bright as their fans think.

Super intelligent protagonists with extremely high IQ are always in great demand on TV.

There have been numerous series where the entire plot revolves around brainiacs who use their intelligence to pull off impossible things or get out of incredibly complicated situations. The interest of audience coupled with their magnificent on-screen portrayal of geniuses leads most people to believe that they are just that in the real life too – geniuses. Every time they open their mouths in interviews, something clever is expected to come out. That's not always the case though, however.

Check out these actors who are automatically assumed to be intelligent because of the characters they've played on TV:

Bryan Cranston (Walter White)

Bryan Cranston (Walter White)

The teacher-turned-drug lord of the Breaking Bad series was a chemistry genius and would've won a Nobel Prize had he not left the company he co-founded – Grey Matters. From now on until the end of times, whenever the topic would be incredible intelligence, the name Walter White will definitely come up.

Despite his public image though, Bryan Cranston (the actor who played White) is quite normal. In a recent appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the 58-year-old failed miserably while competing in a game of Word Sneak with the show host.

Relevant: Jimmy Fallon Starts New Week By Tripping Bryan Cranston In Word Sneak


Wentworth Miller (Michael Scofield)

TV Characters

In Prison Break, Michael Scofield was the incredibly intelligent escape artist who broke out of heavily guarded penitentiaries three times. He has those eyes, the stare and the looks that people normally associate with very smart people.

Does he have heightened intelligence in real life too? Well, he was an Ivy Leaguer and holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Princeton University. His screenplay for last year's drama thriller Stoker was also critically acclaimed. So yes, he is intelligent, but just not to the extent his fans think.


Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock)

TV Characters

Everything that can ever be said or written about Sherlock Holmes' brainpower has already been done ever since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created the character in 1887. However, Benedict Cumberbatch's portrayal of this legendary detective's modern version is what deserves a new round of applause.

He too is a very smart in real life, but a different kind of smart. In total contrast to Sherlock's arrogance and eccentricity, Cumberbatch is very generous and kindhearted. He is a very active social activist who once famously took a year off to teach English at a Tibetan monastery in Darjeeling, India.


Michael C. Hall (Dexter Morgan)

Michael C. Hall

Michael C. Hall played the character of forensic blood spatter analyst/serial killer Dexter Morgan in the Showtime series Dexter.

No matter how much one dislikes his sociopathic behavior, it's difficult finding fault with his meticulous planning while stalking his targets. Hall has given his fans no indication that he has a brilliant mind off-screen too, yet, whenever his face comes up one can't help but think of ruthless intelligence.


Hugh Laurie (Dr. Gregory House)

TV Characters

The character of Dr. Gregory House in the medical drama House was partly inspired by Sherlock Holmes, so it's no surprise his intelligence mirrored that of the detective's.

Unlike some of the guys on this list, Hugh Laurie (who played House) is smart in real life too. Not only can he act, but he also sings, directs movies, and once trained 8 hours a day to become an Olympic-standard rower. Basically, whatever he sets his mind to happens. He is as brainier as they come.


Jim Parsons (Sheldon Cooper)

TV Characters

Sheldon Cooper was the genius among geniuses on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Portraying a child prodigy, who had earned a Ph.D. by the age of 16, Parsons plays the role of Sheldon perfectly. In addition to the doctorate, this fictional character also has a B.S., M.S. and an M.A. along with an IQ of 187.

Not to be left behind, Jim Parsons, (Sheldon IRL) is quite smart and has his own BA and MA degrees. With another masters and a Ph.D., he can match his character's academic qualifications. Matching the overall intelligence might not be possible though.


Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser)

TV Characters

Like Sheldon Cooper, Douglas "Doogie" Howser from Doogie Howser, M.D. is also a child prodigy who has the distinction of becoming a physician by the age of 14. Thanks to his eidetic memory, he can also boast to having a perfect score in SAT at the age of six.

Neil Patrick Harris did graduate from his high school as an honors student, but that's about it as far as his academic intellect is concerned. He does have a good working mind though, with years of witty responses being the proof.

So, if TV moguls somehow conspire to put all of these in one show, who do you think will win this battle of intelligence?

View Comments

Recommended For You