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.
  • 123 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    Up 1468
    Down 1184

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

    open
  2. 2
    Up 1608
    Down 1029

    ranked low on reranks The Sopranos

    open
  3. 3
    Up 1359
    Down 789

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

    open
  4. 4
    Up 1270
    Down 998

    House, House Universe

    open
  5. 5
    Up 1669
    Down 1185

    the people's #1 Breaking Bad

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  6. 6
    Up 1076
    Down 772

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

    open
  7. 7
    Up 311
    Down 214

    The Big Bang Theory

    open
  8. 8
    Up 1093
    Down 815

    Married... With Children

    open
  9. 9
    Up 1170
    Down 967

    Seinfeld

    open
  10. 10
    Up 962
    Down 791

    The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show, Do the Bartman

    open
  11. 11
    Up 1063
    Down 815

    Seinfeld

    open
  12. 12
    Up 1102
    Down 876

    South Park

    open
  13. 13
    Up 1051
    Down 874

    How I Met Your Mother

    open
  14. 14
    Up 924
    Down 806

    All in the Family

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  15. 15
    Up 884
    Down 702

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

    open
  16. 16
    Up 888
    Down 728

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

    open
  17. 17
    Up 951
    Down 666

    Friends

    open
  18. 18
    Up 957
    Down 923

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

    open
  19. 19
    Up 1218
    Down 717

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

    open
  20. 20
    Up 1049
    Down 726

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

    open
  21. 21
    Up 486
    Down 330

    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

    open
  22. 22
    Up 742
    Down 735

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

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  23. 23
    Up 235
    Down 190

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Breaking Bad

    open
  24. 25
    Up 833
    Down 644

    MASH

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  25. 26
    Up 605
    Down 320

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

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  26. 28
    Up 541
    Down 400

    Friends

    open
  27. 29
    Up 856
    Down 766

    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

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  28. 30
    Up 650
    Down 427

    ranked low on reranks Friends

    open
  29. 31
    Up 773
    Down 669

    The Office

    open
  30. 32
    Up 652
    Down 505

    Happy Days

    open
  31. 33
    Up 567
    Down 616

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Game of Thrones

    open
  32. 34
    Up 784
    Down 706

    Seinfeld

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  33. 35
    Up 766
    Down 585

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

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  34. 36
    Up 608
    Down 678

    Game of Thrones

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  35. 37
    Up 421
    Down 463

    Monk, Monk Universe

    open
  36. 38
    Up 726
    Down 585

    ranked low on reranks The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

    open
  37. 39
    Up 654
    Down 641

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

    open
  38. 40
    Up 602
    Down 571

    The Cosby Show

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  39. 41
    Up 392
    Down 298

    Game of Thrones

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  40. 42
    Up 695
    Down 686

    The Office

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  41. 43
    Up 386
    Down 307

    The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, The Addams Family

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  42. 44
    Up 371
    Down 381

    MacGyver, MacGyver

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  43. 45
    Up 662
    Down 802

    Lost, Lost

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  44. 46
    Up 571
    Down 650

    The Wire

    open
  45. 47
    Up 421
    Down 428

    added by maniero Dallas

    open
  46. 48
    Up 488
    Down 500

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

    open
  47. 49
    Up 515
    Down 451

    The Big Bang Theory

    open
  48. 50
    Up 521
    Down 545

    Seinfeld

    open
  49. 51
    Up 589
    Down 590

    Futurama, Futurama

    open
  50. 52
    Up 335
    Down 427

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

    open
  51. 359 +

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