The Greatest TV Characters of All Time Fictional Characters
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115  reranks 119,070 votes 6,376 voters 130,258 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
  • 115 ReRanks
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 1361
    Down 833
    The Sopranos More
    93
  2. 2
    Up 1186
    Down 945

    most listed
    Homer Simpson

    The Simpsons, Stand Up to Cancer, Do the Bartman More
    93
  3. 3
    Up 1022
    Down 793
    House, House Universe More
    89
  4. 4
    Up 1049
    Down 643

    ranked low on reranks
    Tyrion Lannister

    Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire More
    88
  5. 5
    Up 1331
    Down 897

    the people's #1
    Walter White

    Breaking Bad More
    85
  6. 6
    Up 863
    Down 632
    Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek: ... More
    83
  7. 7
    Up 1028
    Down 803
    Seinfeld More
    81
  8. 8
    Up 917
    Down 679
    Married... With Children More
    81
  9. 9
    Up 787
    Down 622
    The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show, Do the Bartman More
    78
  10. 10
    Up 904
    Down 669
    Seinfeld More
    78
  11. 11
    Up 817
    Down 657
    All in the Family More
    78
  12. 12
    Up 881
    Down 669
    How I Met Your Mother More
    77
  13. 13
    Up 906
    Down 725
    South Park More
    77
  14. 15
    Up 808
    Down 766
    Dexter, Dexter: Early Cuts, Dexter Universe More
    75
  15. 16
    Up 750
    Down 611
    In Living Color, Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Animated ... More
    74
  16. 17
    Up 697
    Down 564
    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe More
    74
  17. 18
    Up 979
    Down 575

    ranked low on reranks
    Spike

    Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse More
    73
    added by: PeteBoyle
  18. 19
    Up 627
    Down 580

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Fox Mulder

    The X-Files, The X Files 2, The X-Files More
    72
  19. 20
    Up 847
    Down 600
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse More
    72
  20. 21
    Up 757
    Down 553
    Friends More
    72
  21. 22
    Up 31
    Down 21

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Sheldon Cooper

    The Big Bang Theory More
    71
  22. 24
    Up 719
    Down 550
    MASH More
    70
  23. 25
    Up 743
    Down 634
    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy More
    70
  24. 27
    Up 326
    Down 247
    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes More
    68
  25. 28
    Up 544
    Down 421
    Happy Days More
    67
  26. 29
    Up 652
    Down 600
    Seinfeld More
    67
  27. 30
    Up 449
    Down 240
    Baby Looney Tunes, Big House Bunny, Mutiny on the Bunny More
    67
  28. 31
    Up 648
    Down 496
    Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: ... More
    67
  29. 32
    Up 463
    Down 491

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Daenerys Targaryen

    Game of Thrones More
    66
  30. 33
    Up 654
    Down 575
    The Office More
    66
  31. 34
    Up 444
    Down 474

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Eddard Stark

    Game of Thrones More
    66
  32. 35
    Up 368
    Down 286
    Friends More
    66
  33. 36
    Up 581
    Down 464

    ranked low on reranks
    Will Smith

    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air More
    65
  34. 37
    Up 327
    Down 363

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Adrian Monk

    Monk, Monk Universe More
    64
  35. 38
    Up 516
    Down 474
    The Cosby Show More
    64
  36. 39
    Up 472
    Down 333

    ranked low on reranks
    Joey Tribbiani

    Friends More
    64
  37. 40
    Up 522
    Down 512
    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe More
    64
  38. 41
    Up 597
    Down 576
    The Office More
    63
  39. 43
    Up 361
    Down 335
    Dallas More
    61
    added by: maniero
  40. 44
    Up 554
    Down 662
    Lost, Lost More
    61
  41. 45
    Up 483
    Down 553
    The Wire More
    60
  42. 46
    Up 406
    Down 401
    The X-Files, The X Files 2, The X-Files More
    60
  43. 47
    Up 394
    Down 325

    ranked low on reranks
    Penny

    The Big Bang Theory More
    60
  44. 48
    Up 282
    Down 300
    MacGyver, MacGyver More
    60
  45. 49
    Up 241
    Down 197
    Game of Thrones More
    59
  46. 50
    Up 282
    Down 230
    The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, The Addams Family More
    59
  47. 51
    Up 223
    Down 270
    Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural More
    59
  48. 52
    Up 416
    Down 442
    Seinfeld More
    59
  49. 53
    Up 467
    Down 484
    Futurama, Futurama More
    57
  50. 54
    Up 210
    Down 181
    Cheers More
    57
  51. 311 +

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