The Greatest TV Characters of All Time Fictional Characters
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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 famous 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 top long-running TV show can provide.

Who is the greatest TV character ever? This list contains the names of 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 popular characters aren't represented, go ahead and re-rank the list to contribute to the discussion.
  • 322 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 1622
    - 1540

    most listed The Simpsons

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 2610
    - 2002

    ranked low on reranks The Simpsons

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 563
    - 800

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Family Guy

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 1529
    - 1363

    Family Guy

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 1147
    - 1334

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 2546
    - 1604

    The Sopranos

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 1857
    - 1410

    Star Trek: The Original Series

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 2377
    - 1477

    ranked low on reranks Game of Thrones

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 2816
    - 2407

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Breaking Bad

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 2096
    - 1761
    ) open
  11. 11
    + 1655
    - 1274

    Seinfeld

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 1494
    - 1007

    The Big Bang Theory

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 2107
    - 1402

    ranked low on reranks Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 1688
    - 1348

    South Park

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 1292
    - 1058
    ) open
  16. 16
    + 1056
    - 809

    added by ShaneBird I Love Lucy

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 1108
    - 769

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

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 1605
    - 1302

    Married... With Children

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 1607
    - 1137
    ) open
  20. 20
    + 1309
    - 1176

    Star Trek: The Original Series

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 1293
    - 1291

    All in the Family

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 1282
    - 1106

    Seinfeld

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 1696
    - 1555
    ) open
  24. 24
    + 1432
    - 1573

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

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 2054
    - 1364

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

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 1678
    - 1525

    How I Met Your Mother

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 1208
    - 878

    ranked low on reranks Friends

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 471
    - 634

    often listed & ranked high on reranks South Park

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 1233
    - 915

    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 929
    - 930

    Futurama

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 851
    - 718

    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 464
    - 461

    often listed & added by MangoStarkey Mr. Bean, Mr. Bean's Holiday, The London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony: ...

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 1236
    - 1043

    The Office

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 1204
    - 1134

    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 1012
    - 858

    Happy Days

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 1014
    - 971
    ) open
  37. 38
    + 1152
    - 981

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

    ) open
  38. 39
    + 542
    - 461

    Golden Girls

    ) open
  39. 40
    + 1041
    - 1321

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

    ) open
  40. 41
    + 843
    - 1002

    The Wire

    ) open
  41. 42
    + 829
    - 992

    Seinfeld

    ) open
  42. 43
    + 850
    - 994

    The Cosby Show

    ) open
  43. 44
    + 736
    - 954

    Breaking Bad

    ) open
  44. 45
    + 337
    - 339

    added by Johnny B The Andy Griffith Show, Return to Mayberry The Andy Griffith Show

    ) open
  45. 46
    + 888
    - 1137

    Game of Thrones

    ) open
  46. 47
    + 651
    - 737

    added by maniero Dallas

    ) open
  47. 48
    + 652
    - 853

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Monk, Monk Universe

    ) open
  48. 49
    + 710
    - 830

    Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural

    ) open
  49. 50
    + 671
    - 698

    The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, Addams Family Reunion

    ) open
  50. 51
    + 609
    - 561

    The Walking Dead

    ) open
529 +

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