The Greatest TV Characters of All Time Fictional Characters
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115  reranks 119,489 votes 6,403 voters 131,046 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
  • 115 ReRanks
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 1365
    Down 836
    The Sopranos More
    93
  2. 2
    Up 1190
    Down 948

    most listed
    Homer Simpson

    The Simpsons, Stand Up to Cancer, Do the Bartman More
    93
  3. 3
    Up 1027
    Down 799
    House, House Universe More
    89
  4. 4
    Up 1056
    Down 643

    ranked low on reranks
    Tyrion Lannister

    Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire More
    88
  5. 5
    Up 1338
    Down 903

    the people's #1
    Walter White

    Breaking Bad More
    85
  6. 6
    Up 866
    Down 635
    Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek: ... More
    83
  7. 7
    Up 1033
    Down 805
    Seinfeld More
    81
  8. 8
    Up 920
    Down 681
    Married... With Children More
    81
  9. 9
    Up 791
    Down 625
    The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show, Do the Bartman More
    78
  10. 10
    Up 907
    Down 672
    Seinfeld More
    78
  11. 11
    Up 819
    Down 660
    All in the Family More
    78
  12. 12
    Up 885
    Down 675
    How I Met Your Mother More
    77
  13. 13
    Up 911
    Down 727
    South Park More
    77
  14. 15
    Up 813
    Down 770
    Dexter, Dexter: Early Cuts, Dexter Universe More
    75
  15. 16
    Up 751
    Down 612
    In Living Color, Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Animated ... More
    74
  16. 17
    Up 703
    Down 565
    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe More
    74
  17. 18
    Up 985
    Down 579

    ranked low on reranks
    Spike

    Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse More
    73
    added by: PeteBoyle
  18. 19
    Up 39
    Down 25

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Sheldon Cooper

    The Big Bang Theory More
    72
  19. 20
    Up 852
    Down 601
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse More
    72
  20. 21
    Up 628
    Down 582

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Fox Mulder

    The X-Files, The X Files 2, The X-Files More
    72
  21. 22
    Up 761
    Down 555
    Friends More
    72
  22. 24
    Up 723
    Down 551
    MASH More
    70
  23. 26
    Up 745
    Down 638
    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy More
    70
  24. 27
    Up 328
    Down 249
    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes More
    68
  25. 28
    Up 546
    Down 423
    Happy Days More
    67
  26. 29
    Up 655
    Down 602
    Seinfeld More
    67
  27. 30
    Up 452
    Down 242
    Baby Looney Tunes, Big House Bunny, Mutiny on the Bunny More
    67
  28. 31
    Up 653
    Down 497
    Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: ... More
    67
  29. 32
    Up 469
    Down 494

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Daenerys Targaryen

    Game of Thrones More
    67
  30. 33
    Up 661
    Down 575
    The Office More
    66
  31. 34
    Up 448
    Down 475

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Eddard Stark

    Game of Thrones More
    66
  32. 35
    Up 371
    Down 288
    Friends More
    66
  33. 36
    Up 585
    Down 466

    ranked low on reranks
    Will Smith

    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air More
    65
  34. 37
    Up 329
    Down 363

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Adrian Monk

    Monk, Monk Universe More
    65
  35. 38
    Up 516
    Down 476
    The Cosby Show More
    64
  36. 39
    Up 474
    Down 335

    ranked low on reranks
    Joey Tribbiani

    Friends More
    64
  37. 40
    Up 525
    Down 514
    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe More
    64
  38. 41
    Up 600
    Down 577
    The Office More
    63
  39. 43
    Up 562
    Down 663
    Lost, Lost More
    61
  40. 44
    Up 361
    Down 336
    Dallas More
    61
    added by: maniero
  41. 45
    Up 490
    Down 554
    The Wire More
    60
  42. 46
    Up 408
    Down 402
    The X-Files, The X Files 2, The X-Files More
    60
  43. 47
    Up 398
    Down 327

    ranked low on reranks
    Penny

    The Big Bang Theory More
    60
  44. 48
    Up 283
    Down 301
    MacGyver, MacGyver More
    60
  45. 49
    Up 246
    Down 199
    Game of Thrones More
    60
  46. 50
    Up 282
    Down 232
    The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, The Addams Family More
    59
  47. 51
    Up 227
    Down 273
    Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural More
    59
  48. 52
    Up 420
    Down 442
    Seinfeld More
    59
  49. 53
    Up 467
    Down 485
    Futurama, Futurama More
    57
  50. 54
    Up 211
    Down 182
    Cheers More
    57
  51. 311 +

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