The Greatest TV Characters of All Time Fictional Characters

The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

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514,705 votes 26,092 voters 408,414 views 1,551 items tags f p @
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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.


List Photo: user uploaded image
Collection Photo: user uploaded image
  • 472 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
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    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
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G Options B Comments & Embed 2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 4411
    - 3536


    The Simpsons

    ;
  2. 2
    + 2616
    - 3296

    most listed & ranked high on reranks
    The Simpsons

    ;
  3. 3
    + 4595
    - 2454

    ranked low on reranks
    Game of Thrones

    ;
  4. 4
    + 3417
    - 2396


    Star Trek: The Original Series

    ;
  5. 5
    + 2650
    - 3027

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Family Guy

    ;
  6. 6
    + 1294
    - 2721

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Family Guy

    ;
  7. 7
    + 4127
    - 2494

    ranked low on reranks
    The Sopranos

    ;
  8. 8
    + 1992
    - 3104

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

    ;
  9. 9
    + 3888
    - 2756

    ranked low on reranks
    House

    ;
  10. 10
    + 4197
    - 2407

    ranked low on reranks
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    ;
  11. 11
    + 3345
    - 2101


    The Big Bang Theory

    ;
  12. 12
    + 4852
    - 4549

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Breaking Bad

    ;
  13. 13
    + 2972
    - 2185


    Seinfeld

    ;
  14. 14
    + 2201
    - 1567

    added by ShaneBird
    I Love Lucy

    ;
  15. 15
    + 2289
    - 1940


    Star Trek: The Original Series

    ;
  16. 16
    + 2168
    - 1984


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

    ;
  17. 17
    + 3157
    - 2027

    ranked low on reranks
    Friends

    ;
  18. 18
    + 2246
    - 1855


    M*A*S*H

    ;
  19. 19
    + 2788
    - 2276


    South Park

    ;
  20. 20
    + 2407
    - 1980


    Seinfeld

    ;
  21. 21
    + 2568
    - 1736

    ranked low on reranks
    Friends

    ;
  22. 22
    + 2610
    - 2157


    Married... With Children

    ;
  23. 23
    + 1502
    - 1436

    added by Richard777
    Columbo

    ;
  24. 24
    + 3340
    - 2228

    added by PeteBoyle
    Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

    ;
  25. 25
    + 2610
    - 2446


    Seinfeld

    ;
  26. 26
    + 1013
    - 1797

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    South Park

    ;
  27. 27
    + 2082
    - 1728


    Friends

    ;
  28. 28
    + 1239
    - 1337

    added by MangoStarkey
    Mr. Bean, Mr. Bean, Mr. Bean's Holiday

    ;
  29. 29
    + 2175
    - 2653

    often listed
    Dexter, Dexter: Early Cuts, Dexter Universe

    ;
  30. 30
    + 1890
    - 2212

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    All in the Family

    ;
  31. 31
    + 2709
    - 2629


    How I Met Your Mother

    ;
  32. 32
    + 1927
    - 1644

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

    ;
  33. 33
    + 2231
    - 1706

    ranked low on reranks
    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

    ;
  34. 34
    + 1627
    - 1335


    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

    ;
  35. 35
    + 2068
    - 1899


    The Office

    ;
  36. 36
    + 1562
    - 1527


    Happy Days

    ;
  37. 37
    + 668
    - 441

    ranked low on reranks & added by DanielLahaie
    The Walking Dead

    ;
  38. 38
    + 1743
    - 1996


    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

    ;
  39. 39
    + 819
    - 982

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

    ;
  40. 40
    + 1436
    - 1775


    Futurama, Futurama

    ;
  41. 41
    + 1086
    - 1133


    Golden Girls

    ;
  42. 42
    + 1424
    - 1775


    Seinfeld

    ;
  43. 43
    + 1605
    - 1981


    Game of Thrones

    ;
  44. 44
    + 1418
    - 1534


    The Walking Dead

    ;
  45. 45
    + 1161
    - 1216


    Frasier, Cheers

    ;
  46. 46
    + 1495
    - 2245

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

    ;
  47. 47
    + 1572
    - 1747


    The Big Bang Theory

    ;
  48. 48
    + 967
    - 1305


    Cheers

    ;
  49. 49
    + 1445
    - 2000


    Breaking Bad

    ;
  50. 50
    + 1322
    - 1602


    Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural

    ;
1552 +

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