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.
  • 248 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 1465
    - 1333

    most listed The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show, Do the Bartman

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 2390
    - 1827

    ranked low on reranks The Simpsons, Stand Up to Cancer, Do the Bartman

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 450
    - 537

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 1372
    - 1159

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 1034
    - 1107

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 2167
    - 1315

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

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 2337
    - 1507

    The Sopranos

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 1664
    - 1319

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

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 1892
    - 1625

    House, House Universe

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 2542
    - 2135

    Breaking Bad

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 1285
    - 816

    ranked low on reranks The Big Bang Theory

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 1861
    - 1247

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 1518
    - 1160

    Seinfeld

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 1197
    - 978
    ) open
  15. 15
    + 1563
    - 1244

    South Park

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 1498
    - 1225

    Married... With Children

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 1211
    - 1206

    All in the Family

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 1220
    - 1093

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

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 1332
    - 1439

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

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 1492
    - 1043

    ranked low on reranks Friends

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 1586
    - 1421

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Seinfeld

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 1005
    - 652

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

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 1562
    - 1404

    often listed & ranked high on reranks How I Met Your Mother

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 1182
    - 1014

    Seinfeld

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 1113
    - 744

    ranked low on reranks Friends

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 1920
    - 1208

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

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 116
    - 304

    the people's #1 & added by geyyy Derek Venturi Life with Derek

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 779
    - 646

    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 936
    - 835
    ) open
  30. 30
    + 1141
    - 973

    The Office

    ) open
  31. 32
    + 1142
    - 1047

    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

    ) open
  32. 33
    + 1127
    - 842

    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

    ) open
  33. 34
    + 947
    - 780

    Happy Days

    ) open
  34. 35
    + 858
    - 855

    Futurama

    ) open
  35. 36
    + 396
    - 390

    often listed & added by MangoStarkey Mr. Bean, Mr. Bean's Holiday, The London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony: ...

    ) open
  36. 37
    + 1072
    - 875

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

    ) open
  37. 39
    + 408
    - 312

    added by ShaneBird Lucy Ricardo I Love Lucy

    ) open
  38. 40
    + 987
    - 1227

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

    ) open
  39. 41
    + 487
    - 394

    Golden Girls

    ) open
  40. 42
    + 813
    - 910

    The Cosby Show

    ) open
  41. 43
    + 767
    - 896

    Seinfeld

    ) open
  42. 44
    + 789
    - 923

    The Wire

    ) open
  43. 45
    + 404
    - 558

    South Park

    ) open
  44. 46
    + 608
    - 790

    Monk, Monk Universe

    ) open
  45. 47
    + 821
    - 1038

    Game of Thrones

    ) open
  46. 48
    + 632
    - 834

    Breaking Bad

    ) open
  47. 49
    + 599
    - 682

    added by maniero Dallas

    ) open
  48. 50
    + 279
    - 285

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

    ) open
  49. 51
    + 621
    - 610

    The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, Addams Family Reunion

    ) open
  50. 52
    + 640
    - 742

    Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural

    ) open
641 +

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