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 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.
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  1. 1
    Up 2109
    Down 1628

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

    open
  2. 2
    Up 1467
    Down 1130

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

    open
  3. 3
    Up 2119
    Down 1351

    The Sopranos

    open
  4. 4
    Up 1681
    Down 1413

    often listed House, House Universe

    open
  5. 5
    Up 1912
    Down 1102

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

    open
  6. 6
    Up 1285
    Down 1077

    often listed & ranked high on reranks The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show, Do the Bartman

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  7. 7
    Up 1011
    Down 586

    The Big Bang Theory

    open
  8. 8
    Up 2286
    Down 1850

    the people's #1 Breaking Bad

    open
  9. 9
    Up 1608
    Down 1044

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

    open
  10. 10
    Up 1209
    Down 966

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

    open
  11. 11
    Up 1397
    Down 1117

    Married... With Children

    open
  12. 12
    Up 1133
    Down 1095

    All in the Family

    open
  13. 13
    Up 1241
    Down 1290

    Dexter, Dexter: Early Cuts, Dexter Universe

    open
  14. 14
    Up 1087
    Down 871

    MASH

    open
  15. 15
    Up 1366
    Down 1063

    Seinfeld

    open
  16. 16
    Up 1407
    Down 1155

    South Park

    open
  17. 17
    Up 1472
    Down 1252

    Seinfeld

    open
  18. 18
    Up 1108
    Down 984

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

    open
  19. 19
    Up 1419
    Down 1216

    How I Met Your Mother

    open
  20. 20
    Up 1333
    Down 910

    Friends

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  21. 21
    Up 904
    Down 902

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

    open
  22. 22
    Up 1742
    Down 1027

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

    open
  23. 23
    Up 886
    Down 496

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

    open
  24. 24
    Up 817
    Down 664

    Friends

    open
  25. 25
    Up 972
    Down 634

    Friends

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  26. 26
    Up 308
    Down 173

    added by ShaneBird Lucy Ricardo I Love Lucy

    open
  27. 27
    Up 927
    Down 1090

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

    open
  28. 28
    Up 688
    Down 557

    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

    open
  29. 29
    Up 1049
    Down 908

    Seinfeld

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  30. 30
    Up 1054
    Down 965

    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

    open
  31. 31
    Up 1027
    Down 881

    The Office

    open
  32. 32
    Up 864
    Down 695

    Happy Days

    open
  33. 33
    Up 1018
    Down 759

    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

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  34. 35
    Up 694
    Down 750

    Seinfeld

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  35. 36
    Up 759
    Down 818

    The Cosby Show

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  36. 37
    Up 560
    Down 690

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Monk, Monk Universe

    open
  37. 39
    Up 740
    Down 928

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Game of Thrones

    open
  38. 40
    Up 977
    Down 759

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

    open
  39. 41
    Up 427
    Down 320

    Golden Girls

    open
  40. 42
    Up 312
    Down 320

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

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  41. 43
    Up 310
    Down 293

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

    open
  42. 44
    Up 211
    Down 180

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

    open
  43. 45
    Up 766
    Down 765

    Futurama

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  44. 46
    Up 528
    Down 694

    Breaking Bad

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  45. 47
    Up 568
    Down 632

    Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural

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  46. 48
    Up 782
    Down 1087

    Game of Thrones

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  47. 49
    Up 726
    Down 843

    The Wire

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  48. 50
    Up 549
    Down 607

    added by maniero Dallas

    open
  49. 51
    Up 385
    Down 409

    Cheers

    open
  50. 52
    Up 521
    Down 568

    MacGyver

    open
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