The Greatest TV Characters of All Time Fictional Characters

The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

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84,760 views 294 items 89,530 votes 4,973 voters 147 followers 106reranks
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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  Name
Score
  1. 1
    Up 958
    Down 700

    most listed
    Homer Simpson

    The Simpsons More
    94
  2. 2
    Up 1094
    Down 638
    The Sopranos More
    94
  3. 3
    Up 1422
    Down 743

    the people's #1
    Walter White

    Breaking Bad More
    92
  4. 4
    Up 791
    Down 568
    House Universe More
    87
  5. 5
    Up 792
    Down 465
    Married... With Children More
    84
  6. 6
    Up 697
    Down 455
    Star Trek More
    84
  7. 7
    Up 863
    Down 611
    Seinfeld More
    84
  8. 8
    Up 744
    Down 490
    A Song of Ice and Fire More
    84
  9. 9
    Up 867
    Down 580
    The Big Bang Theory More
    84
  10. 10
    Up 730
    Down 503
    Seinfeld More
    81
  11. 11
    Up 661
    Down 480
    All in the Family More
    80
  12. 12
    Up 609
    Down 430
    Breaking Bad More
    78
  13. 13
    Up 734
    Down 544
    South Park More
    78
  14. 14
    Up 619
    Down 453
    The Simpsons More
    78
  15. 15
    Up 680
    Down 473
    How I Met Your Mother More
    77
  16. 16
    Up 619
    Down 454
    Star Trek More
    75
  17. 17
    Up 688
    Down 556
    Dexter Universe More
    75
  18. 18
    Up 614
    Down 428
    The Muppet Show Universe, Sesame Street More
    74
  19. 19
    Up 528
    Down 415
    Family Guy Universe More
    73
  20. 20
    Up 594
    Down 412
    MASH More
    73
  21. 21
    Up 550
    Down 357
    I Love Lucy More
    73
  22. 22
    Up 512
    Down 424
    The X-Files Universe More
    73
  23. 23
    Up 563
    Down 426
    72
  24. 24
    Up 483
    Down 382
    Columbo More
    71
  25. 25
    Up 417
    Down 286
    Happy Days More
    70
  26. 26
    Up 678
    Down 421
    Buffyverse More
    69
    added by: PeteBoyle
  27. 27
    Up 606
    Down 464
    Buffyverse More
    69
  28. 28
    Up 578
    Down 458
    Seinfeld More
    68
  29. 29
    Up 543
    Down 434
    The Office More
    68
  30. 30
    Up 534
    Down 379
    Star Trek More
    67
  31. 31
    Up 513
    Down 440
    The Office More
    66
  32. 32
    Up 414
    Down 363
    The Cosby Show More
    66
  33. 33
    Up 313
    Down 300
    Game of Thrones More
    66
  34. 34
    Up 318
    Down 310
    Game of Thrones More
    65
  35. 35
    Up 298
    Down 139

    ranked low on reranks
    Bugs Bunny

    Looney Tunes Universe More
    64
  36. 36
    Up 192
    Down 140
    Sherlock Holmes Universe More
    64
  37. 37
    Up 466
    Down 499
    Lost More
    64
  38. 38
    Up 182
    Down 109
    63
    added by: Johnny B
    The Andy Griffith Show
  39. 39
    Up 272
    Down 223
    Dallas More
    63
    added by: maniero
  40. 40
    Up 397
    Down 381
    Family Guy Universe More
    62
  41. 41
    Up 434
    Down 342
    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air More
    62
  42. 42
    Up 209
    Down 182
    MacGyver More
    62
  43. 43
    Up 229
    Down 241
    Monk Universe More
    61
  44. 44
    Up 208
    Down 168
    Friends More
    61
  45. 45
    Up 201
    Down 119
    61
  46. 46
    Up 323
    Down 315
    Seinfeld More
    60
  47. 47
    Up 304
    Down 234
    Friends More
    60
  48. 48
    Up 399
    Down 422
    The Wire More
    60
  49. 49
    Up 262
    Down 187
    The Big Bang Theory More
    59
  50. 50
    Up 124
    Down 80
    Cheers More
    59
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