The Greatest TV Characters of All Time Fictional Characters

The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

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127,739 views 307 items 117,792 votes 6,307 voters 177 followers 114reranks
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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    1. 1
      Up 1354
      Down 824
      The Sopranos More
      94
    2. 2
      Up 1175
      Down 936

      most listed &ranked high on reranks
      Homer Simpson

      The Simpsons, Stand Up to Cancer, Do the Bartman More
      93
    3. 3
      Up 1016
      Down 779
      House, House Universe More
      90
    4. 4
      Up 1036
      Down 631

      ranked low on reranks
      Tyrion Lannister

      Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire More
      89
    5. 5
      Up 1315
      Down 881

      the people's #1
      Walter White

      Breaking Bad More
      86
    6. 6
      Up 852
      Down 623
      Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek: ... More
      83
    7. 7
      Up 1021
      Down 793
      Seinfeld More
      82
    8. 8
      Up 907
      Down 675
      Married... With Children More
      81
    9. 9
      Up 898
      Down 660
      Seinfeld More
      79
    10. 10
      Up 778
      Down 614
      The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show, Do the Bartman More
      78
    11. 11
      Up 810
      Down 648
      All in the Family More
      78
    12. 12
      Up 873
      Down 658
      How I Met Your Mother More
      78
    13. 13
      Up 896
      Down 719
      South Park More
      77
    14. 15
      Up 744
      Down 605
      In Living Color, Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Animated ... More
      74
    15. 16
      Up 799
      Down 755
      Dexter, Dexter: Early Cuts, Dexter Universe More
      74
    16. 17
      Up 690
      Down 557
      Family Guy, Family Guy Universe More
      74
    17. 18
      Up 956
      Down 570

      ranked low on reranks
      Spike

      Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse More
      72
      added by: PeteBoyle
    18. 19
      Up 750
      Down 550
      Friends More
      72
    19. 20
      Up 622
      Down 571

      often listed &ranked high on reranks
      Fox Mulder

      The X-Files, The X Files 2, The X-Files More
      72
    20. 21
      Up 827
      Down 597
      Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse More
      71
    21. 23
      Up 20
      Down 14

      often listed &ranked high on reranks
      Sheldon Cooper

      The Big Bang Theory More
      70
    22. 24
      Up 714
      Down 546
      MASH More
      70
    23. 25
      Up 737
      Down 625
      Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy More
      70
    24. 27
      Up 322
      Down 243
      Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes More
      68
    25. 28
      Up 536
      Down 417
      Happy Days More
      67
    26. 29
      Up 649
      Down 595
      Seinfeld More
      67
    27. 30
      Up 444
      Down 237
      Baby Looney Tunes, Big House Bunny, Mutiny on the Bunny More
      67
    28. 31
      Up 641
      Down 492
      Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: ... More
      67
    29. 32
      Up 650
      Down 570
      The Office More
      66
    30. 33
      Up 454
      Down 487

      often listed &ranked high on reranks
      Daenerys Targaryen

      Game of Thrones More
      66
    31. 34
      Up 361
      Down 282
      Friends More
      66
    32. 35
      Up 439
      Down 465

      often listed &ranked high on reranks
      Eddard Stark

      Game of Thrones More
      65
    33. 36
      Up 326
      Down 357

      often listed &ranked high on reranks
      Adrian Monk

      Monk, Monk Universe More
      65
    34. 37
      Up 571
      Down 462

      ranked low on reranks
      Will Smith

      The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air More
      65
    35. 38
      Up 513
      Down 470
      The Cosby Show More
      64
    36. 39
      Up 463
      Down 331

      ranked low on reranks
      Joey Tribbiani

      Friends More
      64
    37. 40
      Up 513
      Down 506
      Family Guy, Family Guy Universe More
      63
    38. 41
      Up 593
      Down 571
      The Office More
      63
    39. 43
      Up 356
      Down 332
      Dallas More
      61
      added by: maniero
    40. 44
      Up 551
      Down 656
      Lost, Lost More
      61
    41. 45
      Up 481
      Down 549
      The Wire More
      60
    42. 46
      Up 388
      Down 319

      ranked low on reranks
      Penny

      The Big Bang Theory More
      60
    43. 47
      Up 277
      Down 296
      MacGyver, MacGyver More
      60
    44. 48
      Up 402
      Down 397
      The X-Files, The X Files 2, The X-Files More
      59
    45. 49
      Up 230
      Down 194
      Game of Thrones More
      59
    46. 50
      Up 411
      Down 437
      Seinfeld More
      59
    47. 51
      Up 277
      Down 227
      The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, The Addams Family More
      58
    48. 52
      Up 217
      Down 261

      often listed &ranked high on reranks
      Dean Winchester

      Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural More
      58
    49. 53
      Up 233
      Down 148
      Wile E. Coyote and The Road Runner, Looney Tunes: Stranger Than Fiction, ... More
      58
    50. 54
      Up 460
      Down 481
      Futurama, Futurama More
      57
    51. 308 +

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