The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

545k votes 27k voters 429k views 1,598 items tags f p @
Sponsor

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.
Collection Photo: user uploaded image
  • 478 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
Z
G Options B Comments & Embed 2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 4,594
    - 3,944


    The Simpsons

    ;
  2. 2
    + 2,713
    - 3,726

    most listed & ranked high on reranks
    The Simpsons

    ;
  3. 3
    + 2,260
    - 3,351

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

    ;
  4. 4
    + 4,933
    - 2,739

    ranked low on reranks
    Game of Thrones

    ;
  5. 5
    + 2,805
    - 3,373

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Family Guy

    ;
  6. 6
    + 3,653
    - 2,704

    ranked low on reranks
    Star Trek: The Original Series

    ;
  7. 7
    + 1,392
    - 3,129

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Family Guy

    ;
  8. 8
    + 4,268
    - 2,738


    The Sopranos

    ;
  9. 9
    + 4,099
    - 2,967

    ranked low on reranks
    House

    ;
  10. 10
    + 5,140
    - 4,721

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Breaking Bad

    ;
  11. 11
    + 4,351
    - 2,593

    ranked low on reranks
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    ;
  12. 12
    + 3,546
    - 2,268


    The Big Bang Theory

    ;
  13. 13
    + 3,117
    - 2,307


    Seinfeld

    ;
  14. 14
    + 2,328
    - 2,072

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Baby Looney Tunes, Big House Bunny, Mutiny on the Bunny

    ;
  15. 15
    + 2,318
    - 1,651

    added by ShaneBird
    I Love Lucy

    ;
  16. 16
    + 2,436
    - 2,024


    Star Trek: The Original Series

    ;
  17. 17
    + 3,361
    - 2,130

    ranked low on reranks
    Friends

    ;
  18. 18
    + 2,352
    - 1,945


    M*A*S*H

    ;
  19. 19
    + 2,923
    - 2,397


    South Park

    ;
  20. 20
    + 2,742
    - 1,824

    ranked low on reranks
    Friends

    ;
  21. 21
    + 2,514
    - 2,083


    Seinfeld

    ;
  22. 22
    + 2,732
    - 2,233


    Married... With Children

    ;
  23. 23
    + 1,582
    - 1,511

    added by Richard777
    Columbo

    ;
  24. 24
    + 1,069
    - 1,908

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    South Park

    ;
  25. 25
    + 2,717
    - 2,532


    Seinfeld

    ;
  26. 26
    + 2,209
    - 1,831


    Friends

    ;
  27. 27
    + 1,345
    - 1,441

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

    ;
  28. 28
    + 2,278
    - 2,734

    often listed
    Dexter, Dexter: Early Cuts, Dexter Universe

    ;
  29. 29
    + 3,425
    - 2,325

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

    ;
  30. 30
    + 1,969
    - 2,279

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    All in the Family

    ;
  31. 31
    + 2,053
    - 1,690

    ranked low on reranks
    Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: ...

    ;
  32. 32
    + 2,848
    - 2,709


    How I Met Your Mother

    ;
  33. 33
    + 2,335
    - 1,789


    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

    ;
  34. 34
    + 1,721
    - 1,399


    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

    ;
  35. 35
    + 2,191
    - 1,966


    The Office

    ;
  36. 36
    + 1,648
    - 1,584


    Happy Days

    ;
  37. 37
    + 878
    - 1,047

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

    ;
  38. 38
    + 1,824
    - 2,051


    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

    ;
  39. 39
    + 1,519
    - 1,861


    Futurama, Futurama

    ;
  40. 40
    + 1,483
    - 1,851


    Seinfeld

    ;
  41. 41
    + 1,137
    - 1,201


    Golden Girls

    ;
  42. 42
    + 1,534
    - 1,585


    The Walking Dead

    ;
  43. 43
    + 1,719
    - 2,047


    Game of Thrones

    ;
  44. 44
    + 730
    - 524

    ranked low on reranks & added by DanielLahaie
    The Walking Dead

    ;
  45. 45
    + 1,579
    - 2,300

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

    ;
  46. 46
    + 1,227
    - 1,275


    Frasier, Cheers

    ;
  47. 47
    + 1,527
    - 2,061


    Breaking Bad

    ;
  48. 48
    + 1,495
    - 1,699


    Game of Thrones

    ;
  49. 49
    + 1,013
    - 1,360

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Cheers

    ;
  50. 50
    + 1,393
    - 1,662


    Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural

    ;
1599 +

Something missing? Add it!

L List Options 2 Rerank List B Comments & Embed z Share Next List >