The Greatest TV Characters of All Time Fictional Characters
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121  reranks 137,719 votes 7,265 voters 154,380 views more info

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.
List is ranked by a combination of each item's votes & positioning in reranks
  • 121 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    Up 1359
    Down 1095

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

    open report item
  2. 2
    Up 1511
    Down 967

    ranked low on reranks The Sopranos

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  3. 3
    Up 1176
    Down 931

    House, House Universe

    open report item
  4. 4
    Up 1246
    Down 737

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

    open report item
  5. 5
    Up 1541
    Down 1091

    the people's #1 Breaking Bad

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  6. 6
    Up 988
    Down 731

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

    open report item
  7. 7
    Up 220
    Down 139

    The Big Bang Theory

    open report item
  8. 8
    Up 1038
    Down 766

    Married... With Children

    open report item
  9. 9
    Up 1115
    Down 911

    Seinfeld

    open report item
  10. 10
    Up 895
    Down 732

    The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show, Do the Bartman

    open report item
  11. 11
    Up 1010
    Down 764

    Seinfeld

    open report item
  12. 12
    Up 985
    Down 802

    How I Met Your Mother

    open report item
  13. 13
    Up 1022
    Down 830

    South Park

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  14. 14
    Up 884
    Down 756

    All in the Family

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  15. 15
    Up 818
    Down 656

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

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  16. 16
    Up 907
    Down 868

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

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  17. 17
    Up 840
    Down 687

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

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  18. 18
    Up 885
    Down 621

    Friends

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  19. 19
    Up 1126
    Down 675

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

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  20. 20
    Up 987
    Down 682

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

    open report item
  21. 21
    Up 701
    Down 676

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

    open report item
  22. 22
    Up 160
    Down 105

    Breaking Bad

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  23. 23
    Up 420
    Down 308

    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

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  24. 25
    Up 786
    Down 616

    MASH

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  25. 26
    Up 819
    Down 726

    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

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  26. 28
    Up 546
    Down 294

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

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  27. 29
    Up 479
    Down 352

    Friends

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  28. 30
    Up 588
    Down 391

    Friends

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  29. 31
    Up 571
    Down 606

    Game of Thrones

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  30. 32
    Up 745
    Down 669

    Seinfeld

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  31. 33
    Up 527
    Down 572

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Game of Thrones

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  32. 34
    Up 616
    Down 482

    Happy Days

    open report item
  33. 35
    Up 731
    Down 637

    The Office

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  34. 36
    Up 723
    Down 557

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

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  35. 37
    Up 609
    Down 595

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

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  36. 38
    Up 675
    Down 535

    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

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  37. 39
    Up 381
    Down 427

    Monk, Monk Universe

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  38. 40
    Up 573
    Down 539

    The Cosby Show

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  39. 41
    Up 666
    Down 651

    The Office

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  40. 42
    Up 347
    Down 263

    Game of Thrones

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  41. 43
    Up 633
    Down 755

    Lost, Lost

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  42. 44
    Up 337
    Down 358

    MacGyver, MacGyver

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  43. 45
    Up 349
    Down 284

    ranked low on reranks The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, The Addams Family

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  44. 46
    Up 550
    Down 622

    The Wire

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  45. 47
    Up 463
    Down 460

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

    open report item
  46. 48
    Up 400
    Down 400

    added by maniero Dallas

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  47. 49
    Up 480
    Down 400

    The Big Bang Theory

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  48. 50
    Up 486
    Down 507

    Seinfeld

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  49. 51
    Up 292
    Down 372

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural

    open report item
  50. 52
    Up 536
    Down 557

    Futurama, Futurama

    open report item
  51. 334 +

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