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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 famous 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 top long-running TV show can provide.

Who is the greatest TV character ever? This list contains the names of 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 popular characters aren't represented, go ahead and re-rank the list to contribute to the discussion.

The Greatest TV Characters of All Time Fictional Characters
  • 448 ReRanks
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    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
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2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 4013
    - 3082


    The Simpsons

    ;
  2. 2
    + 2388
    - 2803

    most listed
    The Simpsons

    ;
  3. 3
    + 1121
    - 2210

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Family Guy

    ;
  4. 4
    + 2376
    - 2580

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Family Guy

    ;
  5. 5
    + 1786
    - 2664

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

    ;
  6. 6
    + 4051
    - 2178

    ranked low on reranks
    Game of Thrones

    ;
  7. 7
    + 3003
    - 2118

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Star Trek: The Original Series

    ;
  8. 8
    + 3822
    - 2209

    ranked low on reranks
    The Sopranos

    ;
  9. 9
    + 3455
    - 2474


    House

    ;
  10. 10
    + 3779
    - 2168

    ranked low on reranks
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    ;
  11. 11
    + 2675
    - 1918


    Seinfeld

    ;
  12. 12
    + 2906
    - 1817


    The Big Bang Theory

    ;
  13. 13
    + 4394
    - 4139


    Breaking Bad

    ;
  14. 14
    + 1950
    - 1372

    added by ShaneBird
    I Love Lucy

    ;
  15. 15
    + 1902
    - 1745

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Baby Looney Tunes, Big House Bunny, Mutiny on the Bunny

    ;
  16. 16
    + 2060
    - 1760


    Star Trek: The Original Series

    ;
  17. 17
    + 2049
    - 1660


    M*A*S*H

    ;
  18. 18
    + 2825
    - 1791

    ranked low on reranks
    Friends

    ;
  19. 19
    + 2202
    - 1715


    Seinfeld

    ;
  20. 20
    + 2547
    - 2036


    South Park

    ;
  21. 21
    + 2276
    - 1484

    ranked low on reranks
    Friends

    ;
  22. 22
    + 2403
    - 1908


    Married... With Children

    ;
  23. 23
    + 907
    - 1521

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    South Park

    ;
  24. 24
    + 1312
    - 1233

    added by Richard777
    Columbo

    ;
  25. 25
    + 3084
    - 1981

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

    ;
  26. 26
    + 2429
    - 2217


    Seinfeld

    ;
  27. 27
    + 1768
    - 1950

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    All in the Family

    ;
  28. 28
    + 1838
    - 1506


    Friends

    ;
  29. 29
    + 1036
    - 1103

    often listed & added by MangoStarkey
    Mr. Bean, Mr. Bean, Mr. Bean's Holiday

    ;
  30. 30
    + 1995
    - 2362

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Dexter, Dexter: Early Cuts, Dexter Universe

    ;
  31. 31
    + 2020
    - 1456

    ranked low on reranks
    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

    ;
  32. 32
    + 1721
    - 1418


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

    ;
  33. 33
    + 1425
    - 1120


    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

    ;
  34. 34
    + 2448
    - 2314


    How I Met Your Mother

    ;
  35. 35
    + 1845
    - 1594


    The Office

    ;
  36. 36
    + 1422
    - 1248


    Happy Days

    ;
  37. 37
    + 973
    - 837


    Golden Girls

    ;
  38. 38
    + 713
    - 697

    added by Johnny B
    The Andy Griffith Show, Return to Mayberry, Return to Mayberry The Andy Griffith Show

    ;
  39. 39
    + 1290
    - 1442


    Seinfeld

    ;
  40. 40
    + 1290
    - 1429


    Futurama, Futurama

    ;
  41. 41
    + 1594
    - 1665


    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

    ;
  42. 42
    + 1435
    - 1581


    Game of Thrones

    ;
  43. 43
    + 843
    - 954

    often listed
    Cheers

    ;
  44. 44
    + 1173
    - 1133


    The Walking Dead

    ;
  45. 45
    + 995
    - 877


    Frasier, Cheers

    ;
  46. 46
    + 1136
    - 1077


    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the Animated Series, Buffyverse

    ;
  47. 47
    + 1276
    - 1575


    Breaking Bad

    ;
  48. 48
    + 1344
    - 1866

    often listed
    The X-Files, The X Files 2, The X-Files

    ;
  49. 49
    + 1152
    - 1257


    Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural

    ;
  50. 50
    + 1379
    - 1366


    The Big Bang Theory

    ;
1453 +

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