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 1742
    Down 1371

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

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  2. 2
    Up 1474
    Down 1181

    House, House Universe

    open
  3. 3
    Up 1848
    Down 1167

    The Sopranos

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  4. 4
    Up 1607
    Down 936

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

    open
  5. 5
    Up 1275
    Down 889

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

    open
  6. 6
    Up 1956
    Down 1495

    the people's #1 Breaking Bad

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  7. 7
    Up 600
    Down 385

    The Big Bang Theory

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  8. 8
    Up 1258
    Down 953

    Married... With Children

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  9. 9
    Up 1316
    Down 1111

    Seinfeld

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  10. 10
    Up 1267
    Down 859

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

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  11. 11
    Up 1020
    Down 935

    All in the Family

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  12. 12
    Up 1114
    Down 928

    The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show, Do the Bartman

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  13. 13
    Up 1095
    Down 1090

    Dexter, Dexter: Early Cuts, Dexter Universe

    open
  14. 14
    Up 1228
    Down 1006

    How I Met Your Mother

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  15. 15
    Up 1209
    Down 926

    Seinfeld

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  16. 16
    Up 1252
    Down 1009

    South Park

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  17. 17
    Up 995
    Down 843

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

    open
  18. 18
    Up 946
    Down 744

    MASH

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  19. 19
    Up 1042
    Down 823

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

    open
  20. 20
    Up 1110
    Down 781

    Friends

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  21. 21
    Up 1462
    Down 866

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

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  22. 22
    Up 826
    Down 909

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

    open
  23. 23
    Up 581
    Down 451

    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

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  24. 24
    Up 657
    Down 520

    Friends

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  25. 25
    Up 650
    Down 762

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Game of Thrones

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  26. 26
    Up 741
    Down 392

    ranked low on reranks Baby Looney Tunes, Big House Bunny, Mutiny on the Bunny

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  27. 27
    Up 882
    Down 785

    The Office

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  28. 28
    Up 936
    Down 871

    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

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  29. 30
    Up 786
    Down 528

    ranked low on reranks Friends

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  30. 31
    Up 905
    Down 799

    Seinfeld

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  31. 33
    Up 759
    Down 598

    Happy Days

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  32. 34
    Up 487
    Down 576

    Monk, Monk Universe

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  33. 35
    Up 389
    Down 462

    Breaking Bad

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  34. 36
    Up 683
    Down 684

    The Cosby Show

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  35. 37
    Up 878
    Down 665

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

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  36. 38
    Up 692
    Down 884

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Game of Thrones

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  37. 39
    Up 872
    Down 668

    ranked low on reranks The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

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  38. 40
    Up 778
    Down 754

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

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  39. 41
    Up 601
    Down 639

    Seinfeld

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  40. 42
    Up 468
    Down 401

    The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, Addams Family Reunion

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  41. 43
    Up 451
    Down 535

    ranked high on reranks Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural

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  42. 44
    Up 145
    Down 77

    added by ShaneBird Lucy Ricardo I Love Lucy

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  43. 45
    Up 447
    Down 468

    MacGyver

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  44. 46
    Up 321
    Down 237

    Golden Girls

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  45. 47
    Up 310
    Down 312

    Cheers

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  46. 48
    Up 116
    Down 89

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

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  47. 49
    Up 763
    Down 800

    The Office

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  48. 50
    Up 643
    Down 744

    The Wire

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  49. 51
    Up 479
    Down 447

    Game of Thrones

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  50. 52
    Up 732
    Down 955

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Lost

    open
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