The Greatest TV Characters of All Time Fictional Characters

The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

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84,567 views 294 items 89,366 votes 4,958 voters 146 followers 105reranks
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 Criteria: Only fictional characters created for television programs

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  Name
Score
  1. 1
    Up 1092
    Down 638
    The Sopranos More
    94
  2. 2
    Up 957
    Down 698

    most listed
    Homer Simpson

    The Simpsons More
    94
  3. 3
    Up 1416
    Down 742

    the people's #1
    Walter White

    Breaking Bad More
    93
  4. 4
    Up 789
    Down 568
    House Universe More
    87
  5. 5
    Up 860
    Down 610
    Seinfeld More
    84
  6. 6
    Up 866
    Down 578
    The Big Bang Theory More
    84
  7. 7
    Up 740
    Down 489
    A Song of Ice and Fire More
    84
  8. 8
    Up 789
    Down 465
    Married... With Children More
    84
  9. 9
    Up 695
    Down 455
    Star Trek More
    84
  10. 10
    Up 727
    Down 503
    Seinfeld More
    82
  11. 11
    Up 661
    Down 479
    All in the Family More
    80
  12. 12
    Up 607
    Down 430
    Breaking Bad More
    79
  13. 13
    Up 733
    Down 544
    South Park More
    78
  14. 14
    Up 619
    Down 453
    The Simpsons More
    78
  15. 15
    Up 680
    Down 471
    How I Met Your Mother More
    77
  16. 16
    Up 619
    Down 453
    Star Trek More
    76
  17. 17
    Up 687
    Down 556

    controversial
    Dexter Morgan

    Dexter Universe More
    76
  18. 18
    Up 613
    Down 428
    The Muppet Show Universe, Sesame Street More
    74
  19. 19
    Up 594
    Down 412
    MASH More
    73
  20. 20
    Up 526
    Down 415
    Family Guy Universe More
    73
  21. 21
    Up 549
    Down 357
    I Love Lucy More
    73
  22. 22
    Up 512
    Down 424
    The X-Files Universe More
    73
  23. 23
    Up 563
    Down 426
    72
  24. 24
    Up 481
    Down 382
    Columbo More
    71
  25. 25
    Up 417
    Down 286
    Happy Days More
    70
  26. 26
    Up 676
    Down 421
    Buffyverse More
    69
    added by: PeteBoyle
  27. 27
    Up 603
    Down 464
    Buffyverse More
    69
  28. 28
    Up 541
    Down 433
    The Office More
    69
  29. 29
    Up 575
    Down 458
    Seinfeld More
    69
  30. 30
    Up 533
    Down 379
    Star Trek More
    67
  31. 31
    Up 512
    Down 440
    The Office More
    66
  32. 32
    Up 412
    Down 363
    The Cosby Show More
    66
  33. 33
    Up 311
    Down 298
    Game of Thrones More
    66
  34. 34
    Up 317
    Down 310
    Game of Thrones More
    65
  35. 35
    Up 191
    Down 140
    Sherlock Holmes Universe More
    64
  36. 36
    Up 296
    Down 139

    ranked low on reranks
    Bugs Bunny

    Looney Tunes Universe More
    64
  37. 37
    Up 463
    Down 499

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    John Locke

    Lost More
    64
  38. 38
    Up 181
    Down 109
    63
    added by: Johnny B
    The Andy Griffith Show
  39. 39
    Up 270
    Down 223
    Dallas More
    63
    added by: maniero
  40. 40
    Up 396
    Down 380
    Family Guy Universe More
    63
  41. 41
    Up 433
    Down 341
    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air More
    62
  42. 42
    Up 208
    Down 182
    MacGyver More
    61
  43. 43
    Up 201
    Down 119
    61
  44. 44
    Up 227
    Down 241
    Monk Universe More
    61
  45. 45
    Up 302
    Down 234
    Friends More
    61
  46. 46
    Up 320
    Down 315
    Seinfeld More
    61
  47. 47
    Up 207
    Down 168
    Friends More
    60
  48. 48
    Up 399
    Down 422
    The Wire More
    60
  49. 49
    Up 261
    Down 187
    The Big Bang Theory More
    60
  50. 50
    Up 124
    Down 80
    Cheers More
    59
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