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.
  • 124 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    Up 1646
    Down 1059

    The Sopranos

    open
  2. 2
    Up 1503
    Down 1225

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

    open
  3. 3
    Up 1398
    Down 816

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

    open
  4. 4
    Up 1293
    Down 1037

    House, House Universe

    open
  5. 5
    Up 1712
    Down 1221

    the people's #1 Breaking Bad

    open
  6. 6
    Up 1102
    Down 798

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

    open
  7. 7
    Up 344
    Down 257

    The Big Bang Theory

    open
  8. 8
    Up 1124
    Down 844

    Married... With Children

    open
  9. 9
    Up 1197
    Down 999

    Seinfeld

    open
  10. 10
    Up 989
    Down 821

    The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show, Do the Bartman

    open
  11. 11
    Up 1091
    Down 841

    Seinfeld

    open
  12. 12
    Up 1127
    Down 909

    South Park

    open
  13. 13
    Up 1074
    Down 909

    How I Met Your Mother

    open
  14. 14
    Up 947
    Down 830

    All in the Family

    open
  15. 15
    Up 906
    Down 732

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

    open
  16. 16
    Up 974
    Down 691

    Friends

    open
  17. 17
    Up 907
    Down 754

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

    open
  18. 18
    Up 980
    Down 953

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

    open
  19. 19
    Up 1238
    Down 746

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

    open
  20. 20
    Up 1068
    Down 754

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

    open
  21. 21
    Up 504
    Down 354

    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

    open
  22. 22
    Up 759
    Down 763

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

    open
  23. 23
    Up 267
    Down 223

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Breaking Bad

    open
  24. 25
    Up 858
    Down 660

    MASH

    open
  25. 26
    Up 632
    Down 335

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

    open
  26. 28
    Up 870
    Down 791

    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

    open
  27. 29
    Up 559
    Down 427

    Friends

    open
  28. 30
    Up 672
    Down 524

    Happy Days

    open
  29. 31
    Up 670
    Down 450

    ranked low on reranks Friends

    open
  30. 32
    Up 796
    Down 694

    The Office

    open
  31. 33
    Up 805
    Down 721

    Seinfeld

    open
  32. 34
    Up 580
    Down 640

    Game of Thrones

    open
  33. 35
    Up 790
    Down 605

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

    open
  34. 36
    Up 621
    Down 710

    Game of Thrones

    open
  35. 37
    Up 432
    Down 489

    Monk, Monk Universe

    open
  36. 38
    Up 676
    Down 672

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

    open
  37. 39
    Up 743
    Down 609

    ranked low on reranks The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

    open
  38. 40
    Up 617
    Down 591

    The Cosby Show

    open
  39. 41
    Up 403
    Down 326

    The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, The Addams Family

    open
  40. 42
    Up 713
    Down 710

    The Office

    open
  41. 43
    Up 406
    Down 322

    Game of Thrones

    open
  42. 44
    Up 381
    Down 403

    MacGyver, MacGyver

    open
  43. 45
    Up 581
    Down 671

    The Wire

    open
  44. 46
    Up 669
    Down 831

    Lost, Lost

    open
  45. 47
    Up 432
    Down 449

    added by maniero Dallas

    open
  46. 48
    Up 606
    Down 609

    Futurama, Futurama

    open
  47. 49
    Up 498
    Down 530

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

    open
  48. 50
    Up 352
    Down 455

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

    open
  49. 51
    Up 530
    Down 481

    The Big Bang Theory

    open
  50. 52
    Up 532
    Down 569

    Seinfeld

    open
  51. 382 +

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