The Greatest TV Characters of All Time Fictional Characters

The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

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83,459 views 321 items 88,077 votes 4,896 voters 145 followers 105reranks
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.

List Criteria: Only fictional characters created for television programs

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  Name
Score
  1. 1
    Up 1084
    Down 628
    The Sopranos More
    95
  2. 2
    Up 945
    Down 687

    most listed &ranked high on reranks
    Homer Simpson

    The Simpsons More
    94
  3. 3
    Up 1404
    Down 728

    the people's #1
    Walter White

    Breaking Bad More
    93
  4. 4
    Up 776
    Down 561

    often listed
    Dr. Gregory House

    House Universe More
    87
  5. 5
    Up 857
    Down 600

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    George Costanza

    Seinfeld More
    85
  6. 6
    Up 851
    Down 572

    ranked low on reranks
    Sheldon Cooper

    The Big Bang Theory More
    84
  7. 7
    Up 775
    Down 459
    Married... With Children More
    84
  8. 8
    Up 725
    Down 485
    A Song of Ice and Fire More
    84
  9. 9
    Up 684
    Down 449
    Star Trek More
    83
  10. 10
    Up 724
    Down 496
    Seinfeld More
    82
  11. 11
    Up 655
    Down 473

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Archie Bunker

    All in the Family More
    80
  12. 12
    Up 600
    Down 421
    Breaking Bad More
    79
  13. 13
    Up 612
    Down 444

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Bart Simpson

    The Simpsons More
    78
  14. 14
    Up 725
    Down 535
    South Park More
    78
  15. 15
    Up 669
    Down 466

    ranked low on reranks
    Barney Stinson

    How I Met Your Mother More
    77
  16. 16
    Up 612
    Down 448

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    James T. Kirk

    Star Trek More
    76
  17. 17
    Up 678
    Down 549

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Dexter Morgan

    Dexter Universe More
    75
  18. 18
    Up 603
    Down 422

    ranked low on reranks
    Kermit the Frog

    The Muppet Show Universe, Sesame Street More
    74
  19. 19
    Up 589
    Down 409

    ranked low on reranks
    Hawkeye Pierce

    MASH More
    73
  20. 20
    Up 519
    Down 407

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Stewie Griffin

    Family Guy Universe More
    73
  21. 21
    Up 542
    Down 355

    ranked low on reranks
    Lucy Ricardo

    I Love Lucy More
    73
  22. 22
    Up 508
    Down 416

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Fox Mulder

    The X-Files Universe More
    73
  23. 23
    Up 558
    Down 421

    ranked low on reranks
    Chandler Muriel Bing

    72
  24. 24
    Up 476
    Down 376

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Columbo

    Columbo More
    71
  25. 25
    Up 412
    Down 283
    Happy Days More
    69
  26. 26
    Up 662
    Down 414

    ranked low on reranks
    Spike

    Buffyverse More
    69
    added by: PeteBoyle
  27. 27
    Up 540
    Down 424

    often listed
    Michael Scott

    The Office More
    69
  28. 28
    Up 571
    Down 453

    ranked high on reranks
    Jerry Seinfeld

    Seinfeld More
    69
  29. 29
    Up 596
    Down 458
    Buffyverse More
    68
  30. 30
    Up 530
    Down 376

    ranked low on reranks
    Jean-Luc Picard

    Star Trek More
    67
  31. 31
    Up 510
    Down 435
    The Office More
    66
  32. 32
    Up 410
    Down 360
    The Cosby Show More
    66
  33. 33
    Up 301
    Down 294

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Daenerys Targaryen

    Game of Thrones More
    65
  34. 34
    Up 310
    Down 306

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Eddard Stark

    Game of Thrones More
    64
  35. 35
    Up 289
    Down 137

    ranked low on reranks
    Bugs Bunny

    Looney Tunes Universe More
    64
  36. 36
    Up 461
    Down 494

    often listed &controversial
    John Locke

    Lost More
    63
  37. 37
    Up 184
    Down 138

    ranked low on reranks
    Sherlock Holmes

    Sherlock Holmes Universe More
    63
  38. 38
    Up 178
    Down 107
    63
    added by: Johnny B
    The Andy Griffith Show
  39. 39
    Up 265
    Down 221

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    J.R. Ewing

    Dallas More
    63
    added by: maniero
  40. 40
    Up 395
    Down 373

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Peter Griffin

    Family Guy Universe More
    62
  41. 41
    Up 427
    Down 333

    ranked low on reranks
    Will Smith

    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air More
    62
  42. 42
    Up 197
    Down 116

    ranked low on reranks
    Morticia Addams

    61
  43. 43
    Up 205
    Down 177

    often listed
    Angus MacGyver

    MacGyver More
    61
  44. 44
    Up 301
    Down 229

    ranked low on reranks
    Joey Tribbiani

    Friends More
    61
  45. 45
    Up 319
    Down 310

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Elaine Benes

    Seinfeld More
    60
  46. 46
    Up 204
    Down 161
    Friends More
    60
  47. 47
    Up 223
    Down 236

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Adrian Monk

    Monk Universe More
    60
  48. 48
    Up 122
    Down 75

    ranked low on reranks
    Sam Malone

    Cheers More
    59
  49. 49
    Up 255
    Down 184

    ranked low on reranks
    Penny

    The Big Bang Theory More
    59
  50. 50
    Up 397
    Down 417

    ranked high on reranks
    Omar Little

    The Wire More
    59
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