The Greatest TV Characters of All Time Fictional Characters
Ultimate List
337  items 151,001 votes 7,815 voters 169,507 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.
  • 123 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • See list ranked by
</> Rerank List
Score
  1. 1
    Up 1481
    Down 1197

    most listed The Simpsons, Stand Up to Cancer, Do the Bartman

    open
  2. 2
    Up 1618
    Down 1041

    ranked low on reranks The Sopranos

    open
  3. 3
    Up 1278
    Down 1011

    House, House Universe

    open
  4. 4
    Up 1367
    Down 800

    ranked low on reranks Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire

    open
  5. 5
    Up 1678
    Down 1200

    the people's #1 Breaking Bad

    open
  6. 6
    Up 1082
    Down 785

    Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek: ...

    open
  7. 7
    Up 317
    Down 230

    The Big Bang Theory

    open
  8. 8
    Up 1106
    Down 823

    Married... With Children

    open
  9. 9
    Up 1176
    Down 980

    Seinfeld

    open
  10. 10
    Up 968
    Down 802

    The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show, Do the Bartman

    open
  11. 11
    Up 1070
    Down 826

    Seinfeld

    open
  12. 12
    Up 1107
    Down 889

    South Park

    open
  13. 13
    Up 1056
    Down 887

    How I Met Your Mother

    open
  14. 14
    Up 933
    Down 816

    All in the Family

    open
  15. 15
    Up 893
    Down 711

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

    open
  16. 16
    Up 963
    Down 936

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Dexter, Dexter: Early Cuts, Dexter Universe

    open
  17. 17
    Up 893
    Down 740

    In Living Color, Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Animated ...

    open
  18. 18
    Up 957
    Down 673

    Friends

    open
  19. 19
    Up 1226
    Down 726

    ranked low on reranks & added by PeteBoyle Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

    open
  20. 20
    Up 1055
    Down 737

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

    open
  21. 21
    Up 490
    Down 340

    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

    open
  22. 22
    Up 745
    Down 749

    often listed & ranked high on reranks The X-Files, The X Files 2, The X-Files

    open
  23. 23
    Up 243
    Down 200

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Breaking Bad

    open
  24. 25
    Up 846
    Down 648

    MASH

    open
  25. 26
    Up 615
    Down 325

    Baby Looney Tunes, Big House Bunny, Mutiny on the Bunny

    open
  26. 28
    Up 862
    Down 776

    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

    open
  27. 29
    Up 546
    Down 409

    Friends

    open
  28. 30
    Up 657
    Down 432

    Friends

    open
  29. 31
    Up 658
    Down 513

    Happy Days

    open
  30. 32
    Up 778
    Down 681

    The Office

    open
  31. 33
    Up 569
    Down 626

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Game of Thrones

    open
  32. 34
    Up 791
    Down 712

    Seinfeld

    open
  33. 35
    Up 772
    Down 595

    Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: ...

    open
  34. 36
    Up 612
    Down 691

    Game of Thrones

    open
  35. 37
    Up 425
    Down 473

    Monk, Monk Universe

    open
  36. 38
    Up 662
    Down 650

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

    open
  37. 39
    Up 731
    Down 594

    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

    open
  38. 40
    Up 606
    Down 579

    The Cosby Show

    open
  39. 41
    Up 701
    Down 693

    The Office

    open
  40. 42
    Up 396
    Down 307

    Game of Thrones

    open
  41. 43
    Up 392
    Down 314

    The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, The Addams Family

    open
  42. 44
    Up 374
    Down 389

    MacGyver, MacGyver

    open
  43. 45
    Up 663
    Down 814

    Lost, Lost

    open
  44. 46
    Up 572
    Down 660

    The Wire

    open
  45. 47
    Up 425
    Down 438

    added by maniero Dallas

    open
  46. 48
    Up 490
    Down 512

    The X-Files, The X Files 2, The X-Files

    open
  47. 49
    Up 342
    Down 438

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural

    open
  48. 50
    Up 595
    Down 595

    Futurama, Futurama

    open
  49. 51
    Up 526
    Down 553

    Seinfeld

    open
  50. 52
    Up 518
    Down 462

    The Big Bang Theory

    open
  51. 338 +

    Something missing? Add it!

Is this list missing something?
RANKERS WHO ADDED ITEMS + 81 MORE

items 1 - 50 of 337

think you can do better?

Rerank This List

got a blog or website?

embed this list

viewers of this list also saw...

more popular lists