The Greatest TV Characters of All Time Fictional Characters
0Ultimate List
tags 306,648 votes 16,047 voters 302,750 views 531 items f p @

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.

  • 374 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • See list ranked by
L The List
Z
B Comments
& Embed
G Options
2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 1730
    - 1650

    most listed The Simpsons

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 2753
    - 2091

    ranked low on reranks The Simpsons

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 643
    - 942

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Family Guy

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 1636
    - 1485

    often listed Family Guy

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 1225
    - 1466

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

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 1970
    - 1478

    ranked low on reranks Star Trek: The Original Series

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 2670
    - 1673

    The Sopranos

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 2547
    - 1566

    ranked low on reranks Game of Thrones

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 2997
    - 2582

    Breaking Bad

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 2250
    - 1835
    ) open
  11. 11
    + 1743
    - 1349

    Seinfeld

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 1634
    - 1114

    The Big Bang Theory

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 1200
    - 873

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

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 2293
    - 1497

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 530
    - 712

    often listed & ranked high on reranks South Park

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 1761
    - 1408

    South Park

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 1131
    - 882

    added by ShaneBird I Love Lucy

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 1347
    - 1116
    ) open
  19. 19
    + 1666
    - 1358

    Married... With Children

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 1352
    - 1150

    Seinfeld

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 1362
    - 1220

    Star Trek: The Original Series

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 1705
    - 1190

    ranked low on reranks Friends

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 1335
    - 1345

    All in the Family

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 1763
    - 1614
    ) open
  25. 25
    + 2167
    - 1449

    added by PeteBoyle Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 533
    - 503

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

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 1777
    - 1596

    How I Met Your Mother

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 1493
    - 1649

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

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 1318
    - 951

    ranked low on reranks The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 1278
    - 945
    ) open
  31. 31
    + 1307
    - 1093

    The Office

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 967
    - 976

    Futurama

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 907
    - 789

    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 1244
    - 1189

    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 1197
    - 1016

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

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 1053
    - 922

    Happy Days

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 1081
    - 1040
    ) open
  38. 38
    + 577
    - 500

    Golden Girls

    ) open
  39. 40
    + 878
    - 1043

    The Wire

    ) open
  40. 41
    + 1074
    - 1397

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

    ) open
  41. 42
    + 880
    - 1063

    Seinfeld

    ) open
  42. 43
    + 665
    - 625

    ranked low on reranks The Walking Dead

    ) open
  43. 44
    + 378
    - 391

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

    ) open
  44. 45
    + 227
    - 545

    the people's #1 & added by geyyy Life with Derek

    ) open
  45. 46
    + 887
    - 1028

    The Cosby Show

    ) open
  46. 47
    + 792
    - 1034

    Breaking Bad

    ) open
  47. 48
    + 940
    - 1195

    Game of Thrones

    ) open
  48. 49
    + 755
    - 868

    Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural

    ) open
  49. 50
    + 677
    - 772

    added by maniero Dallas

    ) open
  50. 51
    + 691
    - 903

    Monk, Monk Universe

    ) open
532 +

Something missing? Add it!

L List Options 2 Rerank List B Comments & Embed z Share Next List >

viewers of this list also saw...

more popular lists