The Greatest TV Characters of All Time Fictional Characters
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118  reranks 128,310 votes 6,891 voters 143,990 views more info

The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

List Criteria: Only fictional characters created for television programs

List of TV's most memorable characters, of all time, chosen by the Ranker community. What makes a character live on in the public's memory, even years after the original run of their respective TV programs? In some cases, it's the amount of depth that the show's writers, actors and other creators were able to bring to the character over the course of many years. For many of the greatest TV characters of all time, audiences feel like they get to know personalities like Dexter Morgan from "Dexter." Even after the show leaves the air, they may not want that relationship to end. (Thankfully, they don't have to, as many shows live on for years after their cancellation on DVD and in syndication.) The best TV characters are ones that you feel like you know and that you'd want to be friends with.

TV has brought many characters to life who have been extremely compelling, even if they are not entirely likeable. Viewers may not wish to know dangerous, shadowy figures like Tony Soprano, Vernon Schillinger and Omar Little in reality, but following their exploits safely from the comfort of your living room can be appealing. Likewise, people who might be aloof or downright unpleasant in real life - think "Mad Men's" Don Draper or Al Swearengen of "Deadwood" - can prove charming, even admirable, when seen at a distance, with the subtext and intricacy that a long-running TV show can provide.

Who is the greatest TV character ever? This list contains the greatest, most fascinating and most enduring fictional characters from TV of all time. Be sure to vote for your favorites, and if some of your favorite characters aren't represented, go ahead and re-rank the list to contribute to the discussion.
List is ranked by a combination of each item's votes & positioning in reranks
  • 118 ReRanks
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 1442
    Down 911
    The Sopranos More
    93
  2. 2
    Up 1279
    Down 1016

    most listed
    Homer Simpson

    The Simpsons, Stand Up to Cancer, Do the Bartman More
    93
  3. 3
    Up 1105
    Down 874
    House, House Universe More
    89
  4. 4
    Up 1160
    Down 694

    ranked low on reranks
    Tyrion Lannister

    Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire More
    89
  5. 5
    Up 1442
    Down 999

    the people's #1
    Walter White

    Breaking Bad More
    85
  6. 6
    Up 931
    Down 688
    Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek: ... More
    83
  7. 7
    Up 987
    Down 729
    Married... With Children More
    82
  8. 8
    Up 1080
    Down 871
    Seinfeld More
    81
  9. 9
    Up 145
    Down 82
    The Big Bang Theory More
    81
  10. 10
    Up 851
    Down 683
    The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show, Do the Bartman More
    78
  11. 11
    Up 963
    Down 724
    Seinfeld More
    78
  12. 12
    Up 940
    Down 747
    How I Met Your Mother More
    77
  13. 13
    Up 851
    Down 719
    All in the Family More
    77
  14. 14
    Up 971
    Down 790
    South Park More
    76
  15. 15
    Up 107
    Down 19
    Breaking Bad More
    76
  16. 16
    Up 873
    Down 828

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Dexter Morgan

    Dexter, Dexter: Early Cuts, Dexter Universe More
    75
  17. 17
    Up 762
    Down 616
    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe More
    74
  18. 18
    Up 795
    Down 650
    In Living Color, Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Animated ... More
    74
  19. 19
    Up 824
    Down 592
    Friends More
    74
  20. 20
    Up 1060
    Down 635

    ranked low on reranks
    Spike

    Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse More
    73
    added by: PeteBoyle
  21. 21
    Up 924
    Down 646
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse More
    72
  22. 22
    Up 667
    Down 633

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Fox Mulder

    The X-Files, The X Files 2, The X-Files More
    72
  23. 24
    Up 756
    Down 581
    MASH More
    70
  24. 26
    Up 782
    Down 687
    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy More
    69
  25. 27
    Up 374
    Down 280
    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes More
    69
  26. 28
    Up 502
    Down 269
    Baby Looney Tunes, Big House Bunny, Mutiny on the Bunny More
    68
  27. 29
    Up 426
    Down 321
    Friends More
    68
  28. 30
    Up 540
    Down 361
    Friends More
    68
  29. 31
    Up 530
    Down 552

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Daenerys Targaryen

    Game of Thrones More
    67
  30. 32
    Up 707
    Down 638
    Seinfeld More
    67
  31. 33
    Up 582
    Down 453
    Happy Days More
    67
  32. 34
    Up 698
    Down 522
    Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: ... More
    67
  33. 35
    Up 493
    Down 524

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Eddard Stark

    Game of Thrones More
    67
  34. 36
    Up 695
    Down 610
    The Office More
    66
  35. 37
    Up 357
    Down 395

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Adrian Monk

    Monk, Monk Universe More
    65
  36. 38
    Up 631
    Down 499
    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air More
    65
  37. 39
    Up 555
    Down 503
    The Cosby Show More
    64
  38. 40
    Up 567
    Down 561
    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe More
    64
  39. 41
    Up 634
    Down 619
    The Office More
    62
  40. 42
    Up 309
    Down 229
    Game of Thrones More
    61
  41. 43
    Up 600
    Down 713
    Lost, Lost More
    61
  42. 44
    Up 529
    Down 587
    The Wire More
    61
  43. 45
    Up 314
    Down 326
    MacGyver, MacGyver More
    61
  44. 46
    Up 385
    Down 368
    Dallas More
    61
    added by: maniero
  45. 47
    Up 451
    Down 361

    ranked low on reranks
    Penny

    The Big Bang Theory More
    60
  46. 48
    Up 434
    Down 433
    The X-Files, The X Files 2, The X-Files More
    59
  47. 49
    Up 313
    Down 261
    The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, The Addams Family More
    59
  48. 50
    Up 264
    Down 326
    Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural More
    59
  49. 51
    Up 455
    Down 478
    Seinfeld More
    59
  50. 52
    Up 224
    Down 196
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the Animated Series, Buffyverse More
    57
  51. 347 +

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