The Greatest TV Characters of All Time Fictional Characters
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121  reranks 137,504 votes 7,254 voters 154,042 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 1355
    Down 1094

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

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  2. 2
    Up 1511
    Down 965

    ranked low on reranks The Sopranos

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  3. 3
    Up 1173
    Down 929

    House, House Universe

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  4. 4
    Up 1244
    Down 735

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

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  5. 5
    Up 1537
    Down 1089

    the people's #1 Breaking Bad

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  6. 6
    Up 986
    Down 730

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

    open report item
  7. 7
    Up 217
    Down 138

    The Big Bang Theory

    open report item
  8. 8
    Up 1036
    Down 766

    Married... With Children

    open report item
  9. 9
    Up 1115
    Down 909

    Seinfeld

    open report item
  10. 10
    Up 893
    Down 731

    The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show, Do the Bartman

    open report item
  11. 11
    Up 1009
    Down 763

    Seinfeld

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  12. 12
    Up 984
    Down 800

    How I Met Your Mother

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  13. 13
    Up 1018
    Down 830

    South Park

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  14. 14
    Up 883
    Down 754

    All in the Family

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  15. 15
    Up 814
    Down 655

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

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  16. 16
    Up 906
    Down 866

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

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  17. 17
    Up 838
    Down 685

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

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  18. 18
    Up 882
    Down 620

    Friends

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  19. 19
    Up 1125
    Down 672

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

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  20. 20
    Up 985
    Down 680

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

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  21. 21
    Up 159
    Down 102

    Breaking Bad

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  22. 22
    Up 701
    Down 673

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

    open report item
  23. 23
    Up 418
    Down 307

    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

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  24. 25
    Up 786
    Down 614

    MASH

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  25. 26
    Up 817
    Down 726

    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

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  26. 28
    Up 543
    Down 294

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

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  27. 29
    Up 478
    Down 350

    Friends

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  28. 30
    Up 586
    Down 390

    Friends

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  29. 31
    Up 569
    Down 605

    Game of Thrones

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  30. 32
    Up 745
    Down 666

    Seinfeld

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  31. 33
    Up 525
    Down 570

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Game of Thrones

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  32. 34
    Up 614
    Down 481

    Happy Days

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  33. 35
    Up 729
    Down 637

    The Office

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  34. 36
    Up 722
    Down 555

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

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  35. 37
    Up 673
    Down 533

    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

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  36. 38
    Up 605
    Down 594

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

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  37. 39
    Up 379
    Down 427

    Monk, Monk Universe

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  38. 40
    Up 573
    Down 537

    The Cosby Show

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  39. 41
    Up 664
    Down 651

    The Office

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  40. 42
    Up 344
    Down 262

    Game of Thrones

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  41. 43
    Up 631
    Down 752

    Lost, Lost

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  42. 44
    Up 349
    Down 282

    The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, The Addams Family

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  43. 45
    Up 550
    Down 620

    The Wire

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  44. 46
    Up 336
    Down 357

    MacGyver, MacGyver

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  45. 47
    Up 463
    Down 458

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

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  46. 48
    Up 399
    Down 399

    added by maniero Dallas

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  47. 49
    Up 477
    Down 399

    The Big Bang Theory

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  48. 50
    Up 485
    Down 506

    Seinfeld

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  49. 51
    Up 291
    Down 371

    Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural

    open report item
  50. 52
    Up 534
    Down 556

    Futurama, Futurama

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  51. 334 +

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