Singling out the greatest Texas characters in TV history is tricky. You can’t have memorable characters without memorable—or in most cases, long-running—shows, which are pretty rare. For every Dallas there’s a Cutter to Houston or a Houston Knights or a Matt Houston. You could also fill a list entirely with Texas Rangers, especially if you include miniseries (e.g., Lonesome Dove and Texas). We stuck to episodic television, but still made room for three of the state’s talismanic law enforcement officers.
As the two best Texas shows to come along during the recent golden age, Friday Night Lights and King of the Hill could provide half a dozen entries just by themselves, but we decided to keep it to one entry per show. The best of these characters would be iconic no matter where they were from, but really, how could they be from anywhere but Texas? No state better lends itself to dreaming up larger-than-life figures.
1. Hank Hill
King of the Hill
Voiced by Mike Judge
Yup. He’s got the riding lawn mower, the dog named Ladybird, and the old high school football injury. Most days, he prefers to think inside the box. But Hank also married a Montana girl, found his way to yoga class, and put in his hours at the natural-foods co-op (to get himself some grass-fed beef). Created by Austin resident Mike Judge ( Beavis and Butt-Head, Office Space) and TV pro Greg Daniels ( The Simpsons, The Office), Hank is where the fifties Texas man transformed into the twenty-first-century American. He’s got a firm sense of right and wrong, a stubborn streak, and a truck. He’s a better father than