The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

673k votes 32k voters 506k views 1,687 items tags f p @

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.
Collection Photo:  AMC
  • 507 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
Z
G Options B Comments & Embed 2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 5,162
    - 5,262


    The Simpsons

    ;
  2. 2
    + 3,069
    - 5,095

    most listed & ranked high on reranks
    The Simpsons

    ;
  3. 3
    + 2,943
    - 4,513

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

    ;
  4. 4
    + 1,893
    - 4,392

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Family Guy

    ;
  5. 5
    + 3,572
    - 4,323

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Family Guy

    ;
  6. 6
    + 4,514
    - 3,408

    ranked low on reranks
    Star Trek: The Original Series

    ;
  7. 7
    + 5,836
    - 3,374

    ranked low on reranks
    Game of Thrones

    ;
  8. 8
    + 4,828
    - 3,535

    ranked low on reranks
    House

    ;
  9. 9
    + 6,066
    - 5,297

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Breaking Bad

    ;
  10. 10
    + 4,736
    - 3,360


    The Sopranos

    ;
  11. 11
    + 2,917
    - 2,497

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

    ;
  12. 12
    + 4,231
    - 2,873


    The Big Bang Theory

    ;
  13. 13
    + 4,942
    - 3,132

    ranked low on reranks
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    ;
  14. 14
    + 3,593
    - 2,788


    Seinfeld

    ;
  15. 15
    + 2,964
    - 2,415


    Star Trek: The Original Series

    ;
  16. 16
    + 2,802
    - 2,017

    added by ShaneBird
    I Love Lucy

    ;
  17. 17
    + 4,007
    - 2,614

    ranked low on reranks
    Friends

    ;
  18. 18
    + 2,738
    - 2,362


    M*A*S*H

    ;
  19. 19
    + 3,303
    - 2,287

    ranked low on reranks
    Friends

    ;
  20. 20
    + 3,361
    - 2,940


    South Park

    ;
  21. 21
    + 2,913
    - 2,525


    Seinfeld

    ;
  22. 22
    + 1,767
    - 1,866

    added by MangoStarkey
    Mr. Bean, Mr. Bean, Mr. Bean's Holiday

    ;
  23. 23
    + 1,874
    - 1,920

    added by Richard777
    Columbo

    ;
  24. 24
    + 3,074
    - 2,665


    Married... With Children

    ;
  25. 25
    + 1,283
    - 2,468

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    South Park

    ;
  26. 26
    + 2,687
    - 3,180

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

    ;
  27. 27
    + 2,322
    - 2,640

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    All in the Family

    ;
  28. 28
    + 2,567
    - 1,975

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

    ;
  29. 29
    + 2,674
    - 2,273

    ranked low on reranks
    Friends

    ;
  30. 30
    + 3,075
    - 2,996


    Seinfeld

    ;
  31. 31
    + 2,731
    - 2,310


    The Office

    ;
  32. 32
    + 2,166
    - 1,690


    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

    ;
  33. 33
    + 3,340
    - 3,139

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    How I Met Your Mother

    ;
  34. 34
    + 2,773
    - 2,127


    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

    ;
  35. 35
    + 3,799
    - 2,753

    added by PeteBoyle
    Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

    ;
  36. 36
    + 1,993
    - 1,864


    Happy Days

    ;
  37. 37
    + 1,156
    - 1,323

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

    ;
  38. 38
    + 2,187
    - 2,348


    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

    ;
  39. 39
    + 2,029
    - 1,931


    The Walking Dead

    ;
  40. 40
    + 1,440
    - 1,471


    Golden Girls

    ;
  41. 41
    + 1,798
    - 2,230


    Futurama, Futurama

    ;
  42. 42
    + 2,070
    - 2,375


    Game of Thrones

    ;
  43. 43
    + 1,743
    - 2,184


    Seinfeld

    ;
  44. 44
    + 1,898
    - 2,597

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

    ;
  45. 45
    + 1,911
    - 2,387


    Breaking Bad

    ;
  46. 46
    + 1,781
    - 1,996


    Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural

    ;
  47. 47
    + 1,885
    - 2,035


    Game of Thrones

    ;
  48. 48
    + 1,521
    - 1,573


    Frasier, Cheers

    ;
  49. 49
    + 1,033
    - 844

    added by DanielLahaie
    The Walking Dead

    ;
  50. 50
    + 1,456
    - 1,612


    The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, The Addams Family

    ;
1688 +

Something missing? Add it!

L List Options 2 Rerank List B Comments & Embed z Share Next List >