The Greatest TV Characters of All Time Fictional Characters
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121  reranks 135,679 votes 7,190 voters 152,431 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
  • 121 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    Up 1340
    Down 1084

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

    open report item
  2. 2
    Up 1498
    Down 957

    ranked low on reranks The Sopranos

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  3. 3
    Up 1160
    Down 920

    House, House Universe

    open report item
  4. 4
    Up 1229
    Down 727

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

    open report item
  5. 5
    Up 1525
    Down 1074

    the people's #1 Breaking Bad

    open report item
  6. 6
    Up 976
    Down 723

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

    open report item
  7. 7
    Up 206
    Down 128

    The Big Bang Theory

    open report item
  8. 8
    Up 1031
    Down 758

    Married... With Children

    open report item
  9. 9
    Up 1107
    Down 904

    Seinfeld

    open report item
  10. 10
    Up 884
    Down 723

    The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show, Do the Bartman

    open report item
  11. 11
    Up 1000
    Down 758

    Seinfeld

    open report item
  12. 12
    Up 978
    Down 792

    How I Met Your Mother

    open report item
  13. 13
    Up 1012
    Down 825

    South Park

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  14. 14
    Up 878
    Down 749

    All in the Family

    open report item
  15. 15
    Up 802
    Down 648

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

    open report item
  16. 16
    Up 902
    Down 857

    Dexter, Dexter: Early Cuts, Dexter Universe

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  17. 17
    Up 831
    Down 681

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

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  18. 18
    Up 873
    Down 613

    Friends

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  19. 19
    Up 1116
    Down 666

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

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  20. 20
    Up 153
    Down 89

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Breaking Bad

    open report item
  21. 21
    Up 975
    Down 674

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

    open report item
  22. 22
    Up 695
    Down 667

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

    open report item
  23. 23
    Up 412
    Down 304

    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

    open report item
  24. 25
    Up 779
    Down 608

    MASH

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  25. 26
    Up 810
    Down 720

    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

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  26. 28
    Up 535
    Down 290

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

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  27. 29
    Up 471
    Down 344

    Friends

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  28. 30
    Up 579
    Down 384

    Friends

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  29. 31
    Up 563
    Down 597

    Game of Thrones

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  30. 32
    Up 738
    Down 663

    Seinfeld

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  31. 33
    Up 608
    Down 477

    Happy Days

    open report item
  32. 34
    Up 519
    Down 564

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Game of Thrones

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  33. 35
    Up 723
    Down 633

    The Office

    open report item
  34. 36
    Up 718
    Down 549

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

    open report item
  35. 37
    Up 662
    Down 527

    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

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  36. 38
    Up 595
    Down 590

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

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  37. 39
    Up 375
    Down 422

    Monk, Monk Universe

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  38. 40
    Up 568
    Down 533

    The Cosby Show

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  39. 41
    Up 660
    Down 647

    The Office

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  40. 42
    Up 340
    Down 255

    Game of Thrones

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  41. 43
    Up 626
    Down 743

    Lost, Lost

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  42. 44
    Up 546
    Down 614

    The Wire

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  43. 45
    Up 332
    Down 352

    MacGyver, MacGyver

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  44. 46
    Up 341
    Down 280

    ranked low on reranks The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, The Addams Family

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  45. 47
    Up 398
    Down 392

    added by maniero Dallas

    open report item
  46. 48
    Up 456
    Down 455

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

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  47. 49
    Up 473
    Down 392

    The Big Bang Theory

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  48. 50
    Up 480
    Down 501

    Seinfeld

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  49. 51
    Up 284
    Down 363

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

    open report item
  50. 52
    Up 530
    Down 550

    Futurama, Futurama

    open report item
  51. 342 +

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