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 1616
    Down 1293

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

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  2. 2
    Up 1741
    Down 1119

    ranked low on reranks The Sopranos

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  3. 3
    Up 1386
    Down 1109

    House, House Universe

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  4. 4
    Up 1501
    Down 875

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

    open
  5. 5
    Up 1186
    Down 845

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

    open
  6. 6
    Up 1815
    Down 1358

    the people's #1 Breaking Bad

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  7. 7
    Up 455
    Down 316

    The Big Bang Theory

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  8. 8
    Up 1186
    Down 903

    Married... With Children

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  9. 9
    Up 1247
    Down 1056

    Seinfeld

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  10. 10
    Up 1047
    Down 872

    The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show, Do the Bartman

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  11. 11
    Up 1142
    Down 892

    Seinfeld

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  12. 12
    Up 1149
    Down 959

    How I Met Your Mother

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  13. 13
    Up 1186
    Down 962

    South Park

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  14. 14
    Up 976
    Down 891

    All in the Family

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  15. 15
    Up 971
    Down 781

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

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  16. 16
    Up 1041
    Down 1019

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

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  17. 17
    Up 954
    Down 805

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

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  18. 18
    Up 1038
    Down 745

    Friends

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  19. 19
    Up 1137
    Down 812

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

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  20. 20
    Up 1341
    Down 812

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

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  21. 21
    Up 798
    Down 832

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

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  22. 22
    Up 549
    Down 406

    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

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  23. 23
    Up 907
    Down 707

    MASH

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  24. 26
    Up 906
    Down 834

    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

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  25. 27
    Up 320
    Down 349

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Breaking Bad

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  26. 28
    Up 714
    Down 570

    Happy Days

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  27. 29
    Up 621
    Down 699

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Game of Thrones

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  28. 30
    Up 691
    Down 368

    ranked low on reranks Baby Looney Tunes, Big House Bunny, Mutiny on the Bunny

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  29. 31
    Up 605
    Down 482

    Friends

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  30. 32
    Up 724
    Down 498

    Friends

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  31. 33
    Up 839
    Down 748

    The Office

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  32. 34
    Up 852
    Down 769

    Seinfeld

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  33. 35
    Up 837
    Down 638

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

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  34. 36
    Up 459
    Down 537

    Monk, Monk Universe

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  35. 37
    Up 657
    Down 788

    Game of Thrones

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  36. 38
    Up 727
    Down 717

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

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  37. 39
    Up 812
    Down 643

    ranked low on reranks The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

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  38. 40
    Up 648
    Down 637

    The Cosby Show

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  39. 41
    Up 432
    Down 369

    The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, The Addams Family

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  40. 42
    Up 740
    Down 760

    The Office

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  41. 43
    Up 448
    Down 386

    Game of Thrones

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  42. 44
    Up 414
    Down 444

    MacGyver, MacGyver

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  43. 45
    Up 409
    Down 496

    Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural

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  44. 46
    Up 606
    Down 717

    The Wire

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  45. 47
    Up 702
    Down 893

    Lost, Lost

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  46. 48
    Up 454
    Down 494

    added by maniero Dallas

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  47. 49
    Up 562
    Down 611

    Seinfeld

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  48. 50
    Up 645
    Down 645

    Futurama, Futurama

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  49. 51
    Up 533
    Down 584

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

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  50. 52
    Up 583
    Down 522

    The Big Bang Theory

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