The Greatest TV Characters of All Time Fictional Characters

The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

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83,944 views 297 items 89,091 votes 4,924 voters 145 followers 105reranks
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 1089
    Down 632
    The Sopranos More
    95
  2. 2
    Up 950
    Down 693

    most listed &ranked high on reranks
    Homer Simpson

    The Simpsons More
    95
  3. 3
    Up 1407
    Down 736

    the people's #1
    Walter White

    Breaking Bad More
    93
  4. 4
    Up 784
    Down 565

    often listed
    Dr. Gregory House

    House Universe More
    88
  5. 5
    Up 859
    Down 606

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    George Costanza

    Seinfeld More
    85
  6. 6
    Up 857
    Down 578

    ranked low on reranks
    Sheldon Cooper

    The Big Bang Theory More
    85
  7. 7
    Up 732
    Down 488

    often listed
    Tyrion Lannister

    A Song of Ice and Fire More
    84
  8. 8
    Up 784
    Down 463
    Married... With Children More
    84
  9. 9
    Up 694
    Down 452
    Star Trek More
    84
  10. 10
    Up 725
    Down 501
    Seinfeld More
    82
  11. 11
    Up 659
    Down 477

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Archie Bunker

    All in the Family More
    81
  12. 12
    Up 600
    Down 427
    Breaking Bad More
    79
  13. 13
    Up 615
    Down 451

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Bart Simpson

    The Simpsons More
    79
  14. 14
    Up 729
    Down 542
    South Park More
    79
  15. 15
    Up 673
    Down 471

    ranked low on reranks
    Barney Stinson

    How I Met Your Mother More
    78
  16. 16
    Up 617
    Down 452

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    James T. Kirk

    Star Trek More
    77
  17. 17
    Up 681
    Down 556

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Dexter Morgan

    Dexter Universe More
    76
  18. 18
    Up 610
    Down 427

    ranked low on reranks
    Kermit the Frog

    The Muppet Show Universe, Sesame Street More
    75
  19. 19
    Up 594
    Down 412

    ranked low on reranks
    Hawkeye Pierce

    MASH More
    74
  20. 20
    Up 546
    Down 357

    ranked low on reranks
    Lucy Ricardo

    I Love Lucy More
    74
  21. 21
    Up 521
    Down 414

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Stewie Griffin

    Family Guy Universe More
    74
  22. 22
    Up 511
    Down 423

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Fox Mulder

    The X-Files Universe More
    74
  23. 23
    Up 559
    Down 426

    ranked low on reranks
    Chandler Muriel Bing

    73
  24. 24
    Up 479
    Down 382

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Columbo

    Columbo More
    72
  25. 25
    Up 415
    Down 286
    Happy Days More
    70
  26. 26
    Up 669
    Down 421

    ranked low on reranks
    Spike

    Buffyverse More
    70
    added by: PeteBoyle
  27. 27
    Up 540
    Down 431

    often listed
    Michael Scott

    The Office More
    70
  28. 28
    Up 574
    Down 457
    Seinfeld More
    69
  29. 29
    Up 600
    Down 464
    Buffyverse More
    69
  30. 30
    Up 532
    Down 379

    ranked low on reranks
    Jean-Luc Picard

    Star Trek More
    68
  31. 31
    Up 511
    Down 440
    The Office More
    67
  32. 32
    Up 412
    Down 363

    often listed
    Heathcliff Huxtable

    The Cosby Show More
    67
  33. 33
    Up 306
    Down 297

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Daenerys Targaryen

    Game of Thrones More
    66
  34. 34
    Up 316
    Down 310

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Eddard Stark

    Game of Thrones More
    65
  35. 35
    Up 293
    Down 139

    ranked low on reranks
    Bugs Bunny

    Looney Tunes Universe More
    64
  36. 36
    Up 189
    Down 140
    Sherlock Holmes Universe More
    64
  37. 37
    Up 461
    Down 499

    often listed &controversial
    John Locke

    Lost More
    64
  38. 38
    Up 181
    Down 109
    64
    added by: Johnny B
    The Andy Griffith Show
  39. 39
    Up 268
    Down 223

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    J.R. Ewing

    Dallas More
    64
    added by: maniero
  40. 40
    Up 395
    Down 379

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Peter Griffin

    Family Guy Universe More
    63
  41. 41
    Up 428
    Down 340

    ranked low on reranks
    Will Smith

    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air More
    63
  42. 42
    Up 201
    Down 119

    ranked low on reranks
    Morticia Addams

    62
  43. 43
    Up 208
    Down 182

    often listed
    Angus MacGyver

    MacGyver More
    62
  44. 44
    Up 301
    Down 234

    ranked low on reranks
    Joey Tribbiani

    Friends More
    61
  45. 45
    Up 320
    Down 314

    often listed
    Elaine Benes

    Seinfeld More
    61
  46. 46
    Up 226
    Down 241

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Adrian Monk

    Monk Universe More
    61
  47. 47
    Up 205
    Down 168
    Friends More
    61
  48. 48
    Up 259
    Down 187

    ranked low on reranks
    Penny

    The Big Bang Theory More
    60
  49. 49
    Up 398
    Down 421

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Omar Little

    The Wire More
    60
  50. 50
    Up 123
    Down 79

    ranked low on reranks
    Sam Malone

    Cheers More
    60
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