The Greatest TV Characters of All Time Fictional Characters
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121  reranks 140,686 votes 7,389 voters 158,633 views more info

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.
List is ranked by a combination of each item's votes & positioning in reranks
  • 121 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    Up 1386
    Down 1122

    most listed The Simpsons, Stand Up to Cancer, Do the Bartman

    open report item
  2. 2
    Up 1542
    Down 981

    ranked low on reranks The Sopranos

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  3. 3
    Up 1195
    Down 949

    House, House Universe

    open report item
  4. 4
    Up 1273
    Down 751

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

    open report item
  5. 5
    Up 1573
    Down 1117

    the people's #1 Breaking Bad

    open report item
  6. 6
    Up 1016
    Down 741

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

    open report item
  7. 7
    Up 247
    Down 156

    The Big Bang Theory

    open report item
  8. 8
    Up 1053
    Down 779

    Married... With Children

    open report item
  9. 9
    Up 1132
    Down 923

    Seinfeld

    open report item
  10. 10
    Up 909
    Down 748

    The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show, Do the Bartman

    open report item
  11. 11
    Up 1022
    Down 777

    Seinfeld

    open report item
  12. 12
    Up 1037
    Down 843

    South Park

    open report item
  13. 13
    Up 997
    Down 822

    How I Met Your Mother

    open report item
  14. 14
    Up 898
    Down 765

    All in the Family

    open report item
  15. 15
    Up 833
    Down 668

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

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  16. 16
    Up 919
    Down 883

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

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  17. 17
    Up 859
    Down 694

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

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  18. 18
    Up 903
    Down 631

    Friends

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  19. 19
    Up 1149
    Down 689

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

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  20. 20
    Up 1004
    Down 691

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

    open report item
  21. 21
    Up 712
    Down 685

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

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  22. 22
    Up 177
    Down 125

    Breaking Bad

    open report item
  23. 23
    Up 436
    Down 313

    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

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  24. 25
    Up 801
    Down 618

    MASH

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  25. 26
    Up 830
    Down 737

    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

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  26. 28
    Up 563
    Down 300

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

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  27. 29
    Up 497
    Down 363

    Friends

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  28. 30
    Up 608
    Down 399

    Friends

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  29. 31
    Up 630
    Down 485

    Happy Days

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  30. 32
    Up 758
    Down 681

    Seinfeld

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  31. 33
    Up 580
    Down 625

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Game of Thrones

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  32. 34
    Up 534
    Down 586

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Game of Thrones

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  33. 35
    Up 741
    Down 648

    The Office

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  34. 36
    Up 736
    Down 562

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

    open report item
  35. 37
    Up 689
    Down 545

    ranked low on reranks The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

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  36. 38
    Up 619
    Down 610

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

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  37. 39
    Up 392
    Down 434

    Monk, Monk Universe

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  38. 40
    Up 586
    Down 545

    The Cosby Show

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  39. 41
    Up 672
    Down 659

    The Office

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  40. 42
    Up 353
    Down 274

    Game of Thrones

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  41. 43
    Up 350
    Down 363

    MacGyver, MacGyver

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  42. 44
    Up 360
    Down 289

    The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, The Addams Family

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  43. 45
    Up 640
    Down 766

    Lost, Lost

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  44. 46
    Up 557
    Down 629

    The Wire

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  45. 47
    Up 406
    Down 405

    added by maniero Dallas

    open report item
  46. 48
    Up 468
    Down 467

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

    open report item
  47. 49
    Up 490
    Down 409

    The Big Bang Theory

    open report item
  48. 50
    Up 493
    Down 514

    Seinfeld

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  49. 51
    Up 302
    Down 384

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural

    open report item
  50. 52
    Up 545
    Down 566

    Futurama, Futurama

    open report item
  51. 327 +

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