The Greatest TV Characters of All Time Fictional Characters
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119  reranks 129,753 votes 6,949 voters 145,440 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
  • 119 ReRanks
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 1289
    Down 1029

    most listed
    Homer Simpson

    The Simpsons, Stand Up to Cancer, Do the Bartman More
    93
  2. 2
    Up 1449
    Down 919

    ranked low on reranks
    Tony Soprano

    The Sopranos More
    92
  3. 3
    Up 1113
    Down 883
    House, House Universe More
    89
  4. 4
    Up 1172
    Down 700

    ranked low on reranks
    Tyrion Lannister

    Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire More
    89
  5. 5
    Up 1461
    Down 1017

    the people's #1
    Walter White

    Breaking Bad More
    85
  6. 6
    Up 941
    Down 693
    Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek: ... More
    83
  7. 7
    Up 995
    Down 735
    Married... With Children More
    82
  8. 8
    Up 161
    Down 86
    The Big Bang Theory More
    81
  9. 9
    Up 1084
    Down 878
    Seinfeld More
    80
  10. 10
    Up 857
    Down 691
    The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show, Do the Bartman More
    79
  11. 11
    Up 969
    Down 729
    Seinfeld More
    78
  12. 12
    Up 949
    Down 752
    How I Met Your Mother More
    77
  13. 13
    Up 977
    Down 798
    South Park More
    77
  14. 14
    Up 858
    Down 725
    All in the Family More
    76
  15. 15
    Up 773
    Down 621
    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe More
    75
  16. 16
    Up 879
    Down 836
    Dexter, Dexter: Early Cuts, Dexter Universe More
    74
  17. 17
    Up 116
    Down 37
    Breaking Bad More
    74
  18. 18
    Up 802
    Down 657
    In Living Color, Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Animated ... More
    74
  19. 19
    Up 832
    Down 598
    Friends More
    73
  20. 20
    Up 1070
    Down 640

    ranked low on reranks
    Spike

    Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse More
    73
    added by: PeteBoyle
  21. 21
    Up 669
    Down 640

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Fox Mulder

    The X-Files, The X Files 2, The X-Files More
    72
  22. 22
    Up 932
    Down 652
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse More
    72
  23. 24
    Up 760
    Down 586
    MASH More
    70
  24. 26
    Up 787
    Down 693
    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy More
    69
  25. 27
    Up 383
    Down 285
    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes More
    69
  26. 28
    Up 512
    Down 272
    Baby Looney Tunes, Big House Bunny, Mutiny on the Bunny More
    68
  27. 29
    Up 436
    Down 327
    Friends More
    67
  28. 30
    Up 547
    Down 366
    Friends More
    67
  29. 31
    Up 589
    Down 455
    Happy Days More
    67
  30. 32
    Up 713
    Down 644
    Seinfeld More
    67
  31. 33
    Up 537
    Down 563
    Game of Thrones More
    67
  32. 34
    Up 498
    Down 532

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Eddard Stark

    Game of Thrones More
    67
  33. 35
    Up 701
    Down 528
    Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: ... More
    67
  34. 36
    Up 701
    Down 615
    The Office More
    67
  35. 37
    Up 639
    Down 505

    ranked low on reranks
    Will Smith

    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air More
    65
  36. 38
    Up 360
    Down 400
    Monk, Monk Universe More
    65
  37. 39
    Up 575
    Down 565
    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe More
    64
  38. 40
    Up 559
    Down 508
    The Cosby Show More
    64
  39. 41
    Up 640
    Down 625
    The Office More
    63
  40. 42
    Up 605
    Down 720
    Lost, Lost More
    61
  41. 43
    Up 315
    Down 235
    Game of Thrones More
    61
  42. 44
    Up 531
    Down 592
    The Wire More
    61
  43. 45
    Up 319
    Down 330
    MacGyver, MacGyver More
    61
  44. 46
    Up 390
    Down 372
    Dallas More
    61
    added by: maniero
  45. 47
    Up 457
    Down 367

    ranked low on reranks
    Penny

    The Big Bang Theory More
    60
  46. 48
    Up 436
    Down 439
    The X-Files, The X Files 2, The X-Files More
    60
  47. 49
    Up 319
    Down 264
    The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, The Addams Family More
    59
  48. 50
    Up 269
    Down 334
    Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural More
    59
  49. 51
    Up 459
    Down 485
    Seinfeld More
    58
  50. 52
    Up 504
    Down 529
    Futurama, Futurama More
    57
  51. 346 +

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