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 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.

  • 393 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 1843
    - 1834

    most listed The Simpsons

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 2924
    - 2243

    ranked low on reranks The Simpsons

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 708
    - 1143

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Family Guy

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 1741
    - 1665

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Family Guy

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 1306
    - 1654

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

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 2759
    - 1674

    ranked low on reranks Game of Thrones

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 2110
    - 1589

    ranked low on reranks Star Trek: The Original Series

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 2857
    - 1762

    ranked low on reranks The Sopranos

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 2452
    - 1943
    ) open
  10. 10
    + 3220
    - 2836

    Breaking Bad

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 1879
    - 1437

    Seinfeld

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 2540
    - 1608

    ranked low on reranks Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 1807
    - 1213

    The Big Bang Theory

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 1307
    - 1049

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

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 1861
    - 1523

    South Park

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 1422
    - 1196
    ) open
  17. 17
    + 1460
    - 1224

    Seinfeld

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 578
    - 897

    often listed & ranked high on reranks South Park

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 1211
    - 966

    added by ShaneBird I Love Lucy

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 1430
    - 1304

    Star Trek: The Original Series

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 1842
    - 1285

    ranked low on reranks Friends

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 1759
    - 1459

    Married... With Children

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 1879
    - 1719
    ) open
  24. 24
    + 2310
    - 1548

    added by PeteBoyle Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 1390
    - 1458

    often listed & ranked high on reranks All in the Family

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 1393
    - 1047
    ) open
  27. 27
    + 1423
    - 1053

    ranked low on reranks The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 1580
    - 1798

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

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 606
    - 669

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

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 1871
    - 1762

    How I Met Your Mother

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 1275
    - 1088

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

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 1391
    - 1193

    The Office

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 1175
    - 1119
    ) open
  34. 34
    + 981
    - 855

    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 1026
    - 1058

    Futurama

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 1301
    - 1303

    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 642
    - 554

    Golden Girls

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 1103
    - 989

    Happy Days

    ) open
  39. 40
    + 433
    - 443

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

    ) open
  40. 41
    + 943
    - 1129

    Seinfeld

    ) open
  41. 42
    + 927
    - 1114

    The Wire

    ) open
  42. 43
    + 1029
    - 1260

    Game of Thrones

    ) open
  43. 44
    + 928
    - 1099

    The Cosby Show

    ) open
  44. 45
    + 733
    - 730

    The Walking Dead

    ) open
  45. 46
    + 1120
    - 1503

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

    ) open
  46. 47
    + 775
    - 760

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the Animated Series, Buffyverse

    ) open
  47. 48
    + 660
    - 603

    ranked low on reranks Frasier, Cheers

    ) open
  48. 49
    + 885
    - 1152

    often listed Breaking Bad

    ) open
  49. 50
    + 712
    - 825

    added by maniero Dallas

    ) open
622 +

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