The Greatest TV Characters of All Time Fictional Characters
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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
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  1. 1
    Up 1602
    Down 1024

    The Sopranos

    open
  2. 2
    Up 1459
    Down 1182

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

    open
  3. 3
    Up 1355
    Down 787

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

    open
  4. 4
    Up 1268
    Down 993

    House, House Universe

    open
  5. 5
    Up 1664
    Down 1182

    the people's #1 Breaking Bad

    open
  6. 6
    Up 1075
    Down 767

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

    open
  7. 7
    Up 310
    Down 209

    The Big Bang Theory

    open
  8. 8
    Up 1092
    Down 811

    Married... With Children

    open
  9. 9
    Up 1168
    Down 962

    Seinfeld

    open
  10. 10
    Up 958
    Down 789

    The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show, Do the Bartman

    open
  11. 11
    Up 1063
    Down 810

    Seinfeld

    open
  12. 12
    Up 1098
    Down 875

    South Park

    open
  13. 13
    Up 1049
    Down 869

    How I Met Your Mother

    open
  14. 14
    Up 922
    Down 800

    All in the Family

    open
  15. 15
    Up 878
    Down 700

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

    open
  16. 16
    Up 949
    Down 661

    Friends

    open
  17. 17
    Up 886
    Down 726

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

    open
  18. 18
    Up 955
    Down 922

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

    open
  19. 19
    Up 1213
    Down 715

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

    open
  20. 20
    Up 1044
    Down 723

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

    open
  21. 21
    Up 484
    Down 329

    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

    open
  22. 22
    Up 741
    Down 731

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

    open
  23. 23
    Up 232
    Down 186

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Breaking Bad

    open
  24. 25
    Up 831
    Down 641

    MASH

    open
  25. 26
    Up 602
    Down 319

    ranked low on reranks Baby Looney Tunes, Big House Bunny, Mutiny on the Bunny

    open
  26. 27
    Up 541
    Down 397

    Friends

    open
  27. 29
    Up 855
    Down 764

    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

    open
  28. 30
    Up 649
    Down 425

    Friends

    open
  29. 31
    Up 652
    Down 501

    Happy Days

    open
  30. 32
    Up 772
    Down 666

    The Office

    open
  31. 33
    Up 564
    Down 614

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Game of Thrones

    open
  32. 34
    Up 782
    Down 704

    Seinfeld

    open
  33. 35
    Up 763
    Down 583

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

    open
  34. 36
    Up 608
    Down 670

    Game of Thrones

    open
  35. 37
    Up 420
    Down 457

    Monk, Monk Universe

    open
  36. 38
    Up 725
    Down 579

    ranked low on reranks The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

    open
  37. 39
    Up 648
    Down 639

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

    open
  38. 40
    Up 601
    Down 569

    The Cosby Show

    open
  39. 41
    Up 695
    Down 681

    The Office

    open
  40. 42
    Up 389
    Down 296

    Game of Thrones

    open
  41. 43
    Up 385
    Down 305

    The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, The Addams Family

    open
  42. 44
    Up 368
    Down 381

    MacGyver, MacGyver

    open
  43. 45
    Up 661
    Down 800

    Lost, Lost

    open
  44. 46
    Up 420
    Down 425

    added by maniero Dallas

    open
  45. 47
    Up 570
    Down 648

    The Wire

    open
  46. 48
    Up 486
    Down 496

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

    open
  47. 49
    Up 514
    Down 448

    The Big Bang Theory

    open
  48. 50
    Up 521
    Down 540

    Seinfeld

    open
  49. 51
    Up 584
    Down 588

    Futurama, Futurama

    open
  50. 52
    Up 330
    Down 426

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

    open
  51. 365 +

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