The Greatest TV Characters of All Time Fictional Characters

The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

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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 famous 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 top long-running TV show can provide.

Who is the greatest TV character ever? This list contains the names of 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 popular characters aren't represented, go ahead and re-rank the list to contribute to the discussion.
List Photo: user uploaded image
Collection Photo: user uploaded image
  • 478 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 4,579
    - 3,926


    The Simpsons

    ;
  2. 2
    + 2,709
    - 3,703

    most listed & ranked high on reranks
    The Simpsons

    ;
  3. 3
    + 2,248
    - 3,331

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

    ;
  4. 4
    + 4,914
    - 2,717

    ranked low on reranks
    Game of Thrones

    ;
  5. 5
    + 3,641
    - 2,684

    ranked low on reranks
    Star Trek: The Original Series

    ;
  6. 6
    + 1,389
    - 3,103

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Family Guy

    ;
  7. 7
    + 2,792
    - 3,361

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Family Guy

    ;
  8. 8
    + 4,263
    - 2,727


    The Sopranos

    ;
  9. 9
    + 4,081
    - 2,957

    ranked low on reranks
    House

    ;
  10. 10
    + 5,122
    - 4,713

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Breaking Bad

    ;
  11. 11
    + 4,336
    - 2,587

    ranked low on reranks
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    ;
  12. 12
    + 3,531
    - 2,261


    The Big Bang Theory

    ;
  13. 13
    + 3,106
    - 2,301


    Seinfeld

    ;
  14. 14
    + 2,320
    - 2,069

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Baby Looney Tunes, Big House Bunny, Mutiny on the Bunny

    ;
  15. 15
    + 2,306
    - 1,647

    added by ShaneBird
    I Love Lucy

    ;
  16. 16
    + 2,426
    - 2,020


    Star Trek: The Original Series

    ;
  17. 17
    + 3,343
    - 2,127

    ranked low on reranks
    Friends

    ;
  18. 18
    + 2,343
    - 1,940


    M*A*S*H

    ;
  19. 19
    + 2,919
    - 2,388


    South Park

    ;
  20. 20
    + 2,727
    - 1,822

    ranked low on reranks
    Friends

    ;
  21. 21
    + 2,507
    - 2,077


    Seinfeld

    ;
  22. 22
    + 2,723
    - 2,228


    Married... With Children

    ;
  23. 23
    + 1,579
    - 1,505

    added by Richard777
    Columbo

    ;
  24. 24
    + 1,067
    - 1,901

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    South Park

    ;
  25. 25
    + 2,707
    - 2,526


    Seinfeld

    ;
  26. 26
    + 2,198
    - 1,825


    Friends

    ;
  27. 27
    + 1,336
    - 1,435

    often listed & added by MangoStarkey
    Mr. Bean, Mr. Bean, Mr. Bean's Holiday

    ;
  28. 28
    + 2,271
    - 2,729

    often listed
    Dexter, Dexter: Early Cuts, Dexter Universe

    ;
  29. 29
    + 3,419
    - 2,319

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

    ;
  30. 30
    + 1,965
    - 2,272

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    All in the Family

    ;
  31. 31
    + 2,043
    - 1,689

    ranked low on reranks
    Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: ...

    ;
  32. 32
    + 2,837
    - 2,704


    How I Met Your Mother

    ;
  33. 33
    + 2,326
    - 1,784


    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

    ;
  34. 34
    + 1,716
    - 1,392


    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

    ;
  35. 35
    + 2,182
    - 1,961


    The Office

    ;
  36. 36
    + 1,644
    - 1,580


    Happy Days

    ;
  37. 37
    + 875
    - 1,042

    added by Johnny B
    The Andy Griffith Show, Return to Mayberry, Return to Mayberry The Andy Griffith Show

    ;
  38. 38
    + 1,820
    - 2,048


    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

    ;
  39. 39
    + 1,513
    - 1,857


    Futurama, Futurama

    ;
  40. 40
    + 1,479
    - 1,848


    Seinfeld

    ;
  41. 41
    + 1,130
    - 1,197


    Golden Girls

    ;
  42. 42
    + 1,526
    - 1,582


    The Walking Dead

    ;
  43. 43
    + 1,710
    - 2,044


    Game of Thrones

    ;
  44. 44
    + 727
    - 520

    ranked low on reranks & added by DanielLahaie
    The Walking Dead

    ;
  45. 45
    + 1,577
    - 2,298

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

    ;
  46. 46
    + 1,223
    - 1,272


    Frasier, Cheers

    ;
  47. 47
    + 1,524
    - 2,057


    Breaking Bad

    ;
  48. 48
    + 1,010
    - 1,359


    Cheers

    ;
  49. 49
    + 1,486
    - 1,698


    Game of Thrones

    ;
  50. 50
    + 1,386
    - 1,658


    Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural

    ;
1601 +

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