Some of us have had their baby names set since they were kids. (And let’s face it, these are probably the same people who had their wedding binder organised before they even had a boyfriend).
These people have one less thing to worry about when a baby’s on the way. But what happens when your partner doesn’t like the names you’d picked out? Or, if you’re anything like me, what if you had barely given baby names any thought until you found out you’re pregnant?
Choosing a baby name may be a daunting task, but it’s not for lack of inspiration. We’re surrounded by characters we’ve come to know and love in the books we read and the films and TV shows we watch. These alternate realities we invest so much time in are chock-full of likeable characters, each sporting beautiful, original or timeless names that might just sound right for your little one.
Here are just a few of the names we’ve fallen in love with from the TV shows we’re fans of – both old and new.
Boys’ names inspired by TV shows
1. Archie – Riverdale
This retro name is seeing a comeback. While many would credit Harry and Meghan’s son for the revival, we’re pretty sure that the kind-hearted, red-headed lead in Riverdale had something to do with it too.
Yes, it’s originally short for Archibald – but not even the royal baby had to put up with that, so you don’t have to either. It’s a name of English origin, meaning ‘genuine, bold and brave’.
2. Arthur – Peaky Blinders
This classic name has recently entered the list for top 10 baby names for boys in the UK for the first time in almost a century, and we’re pretty sure that the 1920s gangster Arthur Shelby had something to do with it. It’s a name of celtic origin, and was often used for royalty.
Double points for you if you’re a fan of both Peaky Blinders and medieval legends!
3. Diego – Umbrella Academy / L-Għarusa
We’ve got a double whammy for this one, with characters on both local and international TV bringing it back. In Umbrella Academy, Diego is the quieter, most bullheaded of the siblings, but his loyalty to the family never wavers. In L-Għarusa, Davide Tucci’s Diego plays opposite the title role, giving the name an element of romance and heroism.
Diego is a Spanish name, meaning ‘teacher’. It’s also the Spanish version of the name James.
4. Ethan – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
You’d be forgiven for failing to picture Ethan from the show – he’s Miriam’s eldest son, and he barely utters two words throughout the entire series. Still, we love the retro names in the series and had to include little Ethan on the list.
It’s a Hebrew name by origin, meaning ‘strong, safe and firm’ – solid choice all around!
5. Ezra – Pretty Little Liars
In the show, he’s the cute English teacher who falls for Aria. In real life, he’s the reason for a huge boom in little Ezras being born across the United States.
It’s a strong, time-honoured Hebrew name meaning ‘help’ or ‘protect’, and has actually grown into a gender-neutral name in recent years.
6. Finn – Glee
Was anyone here a die-hard Gleek when the show first aired? Finn was such a lovable character: the love interest, the sporty heart-throb, the awkward singer who finds himself on stage.
We love a one-syllable name, and this one’s no different. It’s an Irish name that means ‘fair or white’, and in Malta, it’s very hard to have it mispronounced!
7. Gabriel – Emily in Paris
It’s a little bit posh, yet still approachable – wouldn’t you say? In Emily in Paris, Gabriel is the hunky downstairs neighbour who’s a genius chef.
The name means ‘God is my strength’, and works beautifully whether you opt for the French pronunciation (accent on the ‘el’) or the English (‘accent on the ‘Gabe’).
8. Gus – Sweet Tooth
Even with antlers and furry ears popping out of his head, Gus is undeniably adorable. He’s the protagonist of Neftlix’s dystopian science fiction series which was quite popular in 2021.
As names go, this one’s a manly one! It was originally short for Angus or Augustus, and means ‘great’. When shortened to Gus though, it becomes homey, sweet and earthy – quite like the character himself!
9. Harvey – Suits
Think of the polar opposite of homey and sweet and you’ll land quite close to Harvey Specter. This smooth-talking, sharp and driven attorney is a natural leader who looks great in a suit.
His name suits him too – Harvey is an English name that means ‘battleworthy’. As names go, this is a traditional one that will stand the test of time.
10. Jack – This Is Us
Is it just us, or did this guy make us wish our man could rock a thick, 80s moustache? Jack Pearson plays the perfect husband – dedicated, selfless and hardworking, while looking incredible in a denim jacket.
As for the name, Jack teeters on an off the top charts year after year, but remains a classic that means ‘God is gracious’.
11. Jamie – Outlander
What sort of TV show list would this be without a mention of Outlander? Sure, there are plenty of characters named Jamie on the small screen, but Claire’s Scottish love interest shines above them all.
It grew in popularity in the 80s as a more stylish nickname for James (as opposed to Jimmy). It’s a solid gender-neutral contender too, a popular choice for girls’ baby names in the UK.
12. Jon – Game of Thrones
You know a TV show has made an impact when a common name like ‘John’ is suddenly being spelt without the ‘h’.
This variation can be short for Jonathan – or not!
13. Lucas – Stranger Things
He’s lovable, intensely loyal and an ace with a sling-shot – good start for your boy’s namesake.
As names go, Lucas was actually the 8th most popular of boys’ baby names in 2020 in the US. In Latin, it means ‘bringer of light’, which is quite sweet!
14. Luke – Gilmore Girls
Ah, Luke. Steady, reliable, rugged, sweet Luke. Originally meaning ‘the bright one’ or ‘born at dawn’,
Luke is a great classic name for a boy – and hey, he might just grow up to make the best coffee in the world, just like that of Stars Hollow!
15. Max – New Amsterdam
“How can I help?” Of all the doctors in all the series we’ve been watching since the days of ER (hello, Clooney), Max Goodwin has got to be the most caring.
His name actually means ‘the greatest’ and is originally short for Maximilian – although it’s been a while since we’ve heard the full version. It could also be short for Maxwell, which means ‘great spring’.
16. Nick – New Girl
It’s not hard to love Nick. He’s surprisingly complex – grumpy but kind hearted, sweet but sarcastic. Sure, he’s not the greatest role model for career accomplishments (see Harvey above for that one) but we could all hope to have a son as caring as Nick.
His name is short for Nicholas and means ‘victory of the people’.
17. Rafael – Jane the Virgin
Please give us credit for choosing a picture of him with his shirt on. It wasn’t easy. As a character, he’s passionate, charismatic and very handsome.
His name is spelled this way in Spanish, with an accent on the ‘el’. It would be Raphael in English, with an accent on the ‘Raph’.
18. Rio – Money Heist
As the youngest and most naive character, it’s easy to think of Rio as the baby. His real name in the show is Anibal, as all the robbers on the show are given nicknames of famous cities.
That said, Rio is a gender-neutral name in its own right, with Spanish origins that mean ‘river’.
19. Simon – Bridgerton
Was it just us, or did the entire world swoon when Bridgerton dropped? The Duke of Hastings, Simon Basset, was definitely one of the main draws of the show – dashing, kind and well, loaded!
It’s quite fitting that the name Simon means ‘listen’, since he tends to be the only one who actually does that in the entire series.
20. Zack – Saved By The Bell
Throwback alert! Remember Saved by the Bell? The main character Zack Morris was single-handedly responsible for bringing this back to the charts for baby names.
In the show, it’s short for Zachary (Hebrew for ‘God has remembered’), but Zack is also a common diminiutive for Isaac (Hebrew for ‘one who rejoices’).
Girls’ names inspired by TV shows
1. Alexis – Schitt’s Creek
The character arc we saw with Alexis Rose is like nothing else. How did this annoying spoiled brat steal our hearts without us even noticing? Before we knew it, we were smitten with her generous, kind-hearted manner and love the way she embraces every opportunity she comes across so wholeheartedly.
We also love the original meaning of the name: ‘Defender of the People’.
2. Annie – Community
A diligent, strait-laced student with a face that belongs in a Disney movie, Annie is always cheerful and enthusiastic about helping out. Her youthful innocence reminds us of another famous Annie – the optimistic, sun’ll-come-out-tomorrow orphan we grew up with.
While the name is still well used, it hasn’t hit any top-10 baby names lists since 1907, so it’s a great option if you’re looking for a classic that isn’t often heard.
3. Amelia – Grey’s Anatomy
With the show in its 18th season, there are plenty of great names to choose from (Izzie, George, Mark, Callie to name a few). But Amelia is seeing a huge surge in popularity lately, which is why it made the list.
It’s a vintage name of Latin origin that means ‘work’ or ‘industrious’ – both characteristics you’d need if you hope to end up the Head of Neurosurgery at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.
4. Beth – This Is Us
Personal opinion: Beth is the funniest character on the show. She’s witty, fiercely loyal and makes us want to work on our relationships the way she does with Randall. Her hair is also eternally on point, but that’s a different story.
The name Beth can be short for Elizabeth, but (brownie points!) can’t be mispronounced in Malta when kept short and simple.
5. Bettina – L-Għarusa
Another one from the local scene – we’re loving the name Bettina! The title character played by Cassandra Spiteri has a name that is mostly found in Italian and German languages.
It could be the diminiutive of two classic names: Benedetta (which means ‘blessed’) or Elisabetta (which means ‘my God is an oath’).
6. Cora – Downton Abbey
This series offers up so many gorgeous names to choose from – we had a tough time picking just one!
Cora is the name of the warm-hearted, gentle Countess of Grantham – the mother of Mary, Edith and Sybil. Despite being a top figure in the Abbey, her name actually means ‘maiden’.
7. Frankie – Grace & Frankie
A show about people in their 70s might not be the obvious choice for baby name inspiration, but the quirky and fabulous Frankie Bergstein had to make our list. In the show, this is short for Frances, and is also known as the diminiutive of Francesca or Francine. We think it can definitely hold its own as a fun, gender neutral name with a down-to-earth country feel.
Fun fact: Drew Barrymore’s daughter is called Frankie.
8. Ginny & Georgia
Ok, technically this is two ideas for baby names, not one. We couldn’t pick, because we love them both.
In the show, Ginny is short for Virginia – but we think the name sounds great as it is too (and reminds us of Ginny Weasley from Harry Potter). Georgia on the other hand sounds rich, luscious and earthy – it’s a name of English origin meaning ‘farmer’.
9. June – The Handmaid’s Tale
No prizes for guessing the meaning behind this name – it literally means ‘born in June’.
It’s a sweetly old-fashioned name that’s all about sunny days and warm meadows. That makes us wonder whether Margaret Atwood chose the name as an ironic juxtaposition for the Handmaid’s Tale protagonist.
10. Kate – Lost
One of the leading ladies of the Lost series, Kate Austen is brave, resourceful and tough – and somehow manages to keep her long hair looking gorgeous after months of living on a deserted island.
Her name means ‘pure’, and was originally short for Katherine. Another one-syllable contender for baby names that are practically impossible to mispronounce in Malta!
11. Kimmy – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
She is the definition of wide-eyed enthusiasm and sheer positive determination. What more could you want out of a leading lady, and a baby girl?
The origin of the full name, Kimberly, is actually quite specific. It’s of English origin, meaning ‘From The Meadow Of the Royal Fortress’.
12. Lily – How I Met Your Mother
Ok, don’t freak. We know that Lily is unfortunately a popular catcall name in Malta, but it’s such a delicate, beautiful name that we hope to see any creepy use of it die out ASAP. Let’s get back to having lots of little angels with the name all over the island!
The name could be short for Lilian or Elizabeth, and comes from the Latin name of the lily flower. Plus – Lily Aldrin is most adorable character that TV has seen in a long time – how can we ignore her?
13. Liza – Younger
If you’re a fan, you’ll already know that this is pronounced “lie-zah”, as in Liza Minelli.
It’s the name of the lead character, a brilliant book-lover with a big heart (and an incredible wardrobe).
14. Max (Maxine) – Stranger Things
Maxine is the tomboy of the group – an avid skateboarder, and the love interest of Lucas (mentioned earlier in this list).
It’s a name of Latin origin meaning ‘greatest’, and we love how the shortened version works for a girl’s name too.
15. Maddie – Nashville (and Maddy – Maid)
Nashville fans literally watched Maddie grow up before their eyes, from a shy 10-year old girl in glasses to a powerful performer in her own right. More recently, Maddy (spelled slightly differently) was the name of the 3-year-old daughter in Maid, 2021’s popular mini series.
Both are great stand-alone names, but traditionally this was short for Madeleine or Magdalene, and means ‘maiden’.
16. Maggie – A Million Little Things / The Walking Dead
Another double whammy! Whether you’re into relatable family dramas or post-apocalyptic zombie horror, there’s a pretty Maggie in the leading cast waiting to inspire you.
It’s originally the sweet, earthy nickname given to people called Margaret, but works as a great standalone name nowadays. Surprisingly, it’s a name of English origin that actually means ‘pearl’ – cute, huh?
17. Olivia – Scandal
She is power, she is grace. And she has a killer wardrobe to boot. Olivia Pope is the inimitable lead on Scandal, played by Kerry Washington.
Olivia (literally meaning ‘olive tree’) has actually been one of the top 5 girls’ baby names in both the States and the UK for a while now. It was originally made famous by Shakespeare himself, as the name of the countess in Twelfth Night.
18. Peggy – Mad Men
Here’s a vintage name that hasn’t yet made a huge comeback – although we think it’s adorable. It’s originally the nickname given to the classic Margaret, but the shortened version Maggie has taken over in popularity there.
Peggy’s transformation from shy ugly duckling to the strong woman who stands up to the men of the office (in the 60s!) is not a character arc you’re soon to forget.
19. Penny – The Big Bang Theory
Starting out as a seemingly shallow character, we’ve all grown to love Penny as the complex character who always wants to do better.
Her name is quite adorable – it means ‘weaver’ and can stand alone or as a shortened version of Penelope.
20. Sylvie – Chicago Fire
One of the least believable elements of the show is the way Sylvie’s hair always manages to look perfect, even in the middle of an emergency. She’s the sweet-but-super lead paramedic on the team.
Her name is of French origin, meaning ‘from the forest’, and we think that’s an absolutely beautiful final addition to this list of baby names.
Well, would you look at that? Not only did we give you a few new ideas for baby names, we also gave you a list of shows to check out if you haven’t already!
Get more ideas and advice for your pregnancy in our Ask the Experts section.