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.
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  1. 1
    Up 1605
    Down 1288

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

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  2. 2
    Up 1730
    Down 1116

    ranked low on reranks The Sopranos

    open
  3. 3
    Up 1378
    Down 1103

    House, House Universe

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  4. 4
    Up 1494
    Down 868

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

    open
  5. 5
    Up 1804
    Down 1342

    the people's #1 Breaking Bad

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  6. 6
    Up 1174
    Down 842

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

    open
  7. 7
    Up 440
    Down 309

    The Big Bang Theory

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  8. 8
    Up 1185
    Down 896

    Married... With Children

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  9. 9
    Up 1243
    Down 1051

    Seinfeld

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  10. 10
    Up 1044
    Down 866

    The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show, Do the Bartman

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  11. 11
    Up 1137
    Down 886

    Seinfeld

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  12. 12
    Up 1143
    Down 953

    How I Met Your Mother

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  13. 13
    Up 1180
    Down 957

    South Park

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  14. 14
    Up 972
    Down 887

    All in the Family

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  15. 15
    Up 966
    Down 775

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

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  16. 16
    Up 1037
    Down 1009

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

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  17. 17
    Up 951
    Down 802

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

    open
  18. 18
    Up 1033
    Down 739

    Friends

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  19. 19
    Up 1125
    Down 807

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

    open
  20. 20
    Up 1328
    Down 807

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

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  21. 21
    Up 796
    Down 823

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

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  22. 22
    Up 545
    Down 402

    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

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  23. 23
    Up 903
    Down 703

    MASH

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  24. 25
    Up 315
    Down 334

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Breaking Bad

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  25. 27
    Up 714
    Down 564

    Happy Days

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  26. 28
    Up 688
    Down 364

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

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  27. 29
    Up 904
    Down 830

    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

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  28. 30
    Up 621
    Down 690

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Game of Thrones

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  29. 31
    Up 601
    Down 477

    Friends

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  30. 32
    Up 720
    Down 493

    ranked low on reranks Friends

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  31. 33
    Up 833
    Down 743

    The Office

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  32. 34
    Up 847
    Down 764

    Seinfeld

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  33. 35
    Up 833
    Down 635

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

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  34. 36
    Up 456
    Down 533

    Monk, Monk Universe

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  35. 37
    Up 655
    Down 777

    Game of Thrones

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  36. 38
    Up 720
    Down 711

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

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  37. 39
    Up 805
    Down 638

    ranked low on reranks The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

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  38. 40
    Up 646
    Down 631

    The Cosby Show

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  39. 41
    Up 431
    Down 364

    The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, The Addams Family

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  40. 42
    Up 447
    Down 379

    Game of Thrones

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  41. 43
    Up 737
    Down 756

    The Office

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  42. 44
    Up 410
    Down 441

    MacGyver, MacGyver

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  43. 45
    Up 606
    Down 712

    The Wire

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  44. 46
    Up 402
    Down 492

    Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural

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  45. 47
    Up 700
    Down 885

    Lost, Lost

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  46. 48
    Up 451
    Down 490

    added by maniero Dallas

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  47. 49
    Up 560
    Down 607

    Seinfeld

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  48. 50
    Up 641
    Down 644

    Futurama, Futurama

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  49. 51
    Up 531
    Down 579

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

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  50. 52
    Up 580
    Down 519

    The Big Bang Theory

    open
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