The Greatest TV Characters of All Time Fictional Characters
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121  reranks 140,429 votes 7,373 voters 158,282 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 1385
    Down 1118

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

    open report item
  2. 2
    Up 1540
    Down 980

    ranked low on reranks The Sopranos

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  3. 3
    Up 1193
    Down 947

    House, House Universe

    open report item
  4. 4
    Up 1270
    Down 749

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

    open report item
  5. 5
    Up 1569
    Down 1115

    the people's #1 Breaking Bad

    open report item
  6. 6
    Up 1011
    Down 739

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

    open report item
  7. 7
    Up 242
    Down 156

    The Big Bang Theory

    open report item
  8. 8
    Up 1050
    Down 779

    Married... With Children

    open report item
  9. 9
    Up 1130
    Down 923

    Seinfeld

    open report item
  10. 10
    Up 909
    Down 745

    The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show, Do the Bartman

    open report item
  11. 11
    Up 1019
    Down 776

    Seinfeld

    open report item
  12. 12
    Up 1035
    Down 842

    South Park

    open report item
  13. 13
    Up 996
    Down 820

    How I Met Your Mother

    open report item
  14. 14
    Up 897
    Down 763

    All in the Family

    open report item
  15. 15
    Up 832
    Down 666

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

    open report item
  16. 16
    Up 919
    Down 882

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

    open report item
  17. 17
    Up 856
    Down 693

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

    open report item
  18. 18
    Up 901
    Down 630

    Friends

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  19. 19
    Up 1147
    Down 687

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

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  20. 20
    Up 1004
    Down 690

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

    open report item
  21. 21
    Up 710
    Down 684

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

    open report item
  22. 22
    Up 174
    Down 123

    Breaking Bad

    open report item
  23. 23
    Up 434
    Down 311

    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

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  24. 25
    Up 799
    Down 618

    MASH

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  25. 26
    Up 827
    Down 737

    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

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  26. 28
    Up 561
    Down 300

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

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  27. 29
    Up 497
    Down 362

    Friends

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  28. 30
    Up 608
    Down 398

    Friends

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  29. 31
    Up 628
    Down 485

    Happy Days

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  30. 32
    Up 580
    Down 624

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Game of Thrones

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  31. 33
    Up 756
    Down 679

    Seinfeld

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  32. 34
    Up 534
    Down 585

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Game of Thrones

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  33. 35
    Up 741
    Down 646

    The Office

    open report item
  34. 36
    Up 734
    Down 560

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

    open report item
  35. 37
    Up 688
    Down 544

    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

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  36. 38
    Up 619
    Down 608

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

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  37. 39
    Up 389
    Down 434

    Monk, Monk Universe

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  38. 40
    Up 585
    Down 544

    The Cosby Show

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  39. 41
    Up 672
    Down 658

    The Office

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  40. 42
    Up 353
    Down 273

    Game of Thrones

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  41. 43
    Up 348
    Down 361

    MacGyver, MacGyver

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  42. 44
    Up 359
    Down 287

    The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, The Addams Family

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  43. 45
    Up 638
    Down 765

    Lost, Lost

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  44. 46
    Up 556
    Down 628

    The Wire

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  45. 47
    Up 406
    Down 404

    added by maniero Dallas

    open report item
  46. 48
    Up 467
    Down 466

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

    open report item
  47. 49
    Up 489
    Down 408

    ranked low on reranks The Big Bang Theory

    open report item
  48. 50
    Up 491
    Down 514

    Seinfeld

    open report item
  49. 51
    Up 300
    Down 383

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

    open report item
  50. 52
    Up 544
    Down 565

    Futurama, Futurama

    open report item
  51. 327 +

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