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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.

The Greatest TV Characters of All Time Fictional Characters
  • 448 ReRanks
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    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
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  1. 1
    + 3993
    - 3070


    The Simpsons

    ;
  2. 2
    + 2381
    - 2789

    most listed
    The Simpsons

    ;
  3. 3
    + 1115
    - 2195

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Family Guy

    ;
  4. 4
    + 2366
    - 2571

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Family Guy

    ;
  5. 5
    + 1779
    - 2651

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

    ;
  6. 6
    + 4034
    - 2171

    ranked low on reranks
    Game of Thrones

    ;
  7. 7
    + 2992
    - 2111

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Star Trek: The Original Series

    ;
  8. 8
    + 3809
    - 2206

    ranked low on reranks
    The Sopranos

    ;
  9. 9
    + 3440
    - 2465


    House

    ;
  10. 10
    + 3764
    - 2159

    ranked low on reranks
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    ;
  11. 11
    + 2669
    - 1909


    Seinfeld

    ;
  12. 12
    + 2894
    - 1808


    The Big Bang Theory

    ;
  13. 13
    + 4377
    - 4125


    Breaking Bad

    ;
  14. 14
    + 1938
    - 1368

    added by ShaneBird
    I Love Lucy

    ;
  15. 15
    + 1895
    - 1735

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Baby Looney Tunes, Big House Bunny, Mutiny on the Bunny

    ;
  16. 16
    + 2053
    - 1752


    Star Trek: The Original Series

    ;
  17. 17
    + 2042
    - 1651


    M*A*S*H

    ;
  18. 18
    + 2812
    - 1782

    ranked low on reranks
    Friends

    ;
  19. 19
    + 2195
    - 1706


    Seinfeld

    ;
  20. 20
    + 2535
    - 2027


    South Park

    ;
  21. 21
    + 2268
    - 1476

    ranked low on reranks
    Friends

    ;
  22. 22
    + 2394
    - 1903


    Married... With Children

    ;
  23. 23
    + 903
    - 1510

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    South Park

    ;
  24. 24
    + 1310
    - 1225

    added by Richard777
    Columbo

    ;
  25. 25
    + 3079
    - 1973

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

    ;
  26. 26
    + 2426
    - 2208


    Seinfeld

    ;
  27. 27
    + 1837
    - 1496


    Friends

    ;
  28. 28
    + 1761
    - 1945

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    All in the Family

    ;
  29. 29
    + 1028
    - 1095

    often listed & added by MangoStarkey
    Mr. Bean, Mr. Bean, Mr. Bean's Holiday

    ;
  30. 30
    + 1987
    - 2353

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Dexter, Dexter: Early Cuts, Dexter Universe

    ;
  31. 31
    + 2012
    - 1450

    ranked low on reranks
    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

    ;
  32. 32
    + 1716
    - 1410

    ranked low on reranks
    Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: ...

    ;
  33. 33
    + 1421
    - 1113


    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

    ;
  34. 34
    + 2441
    - 2304


    How I Met Your Mother

    ;
  35. 35
    + 1840
    - 1584


    The Office

    ;
  36. 36
    + 1418
    - 1241


    Happy Days

    ;
  37. 37
    + 966
    - 831


    Golden Girls

    ;
  38. 38
    + 710
    - 690

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

    ;
  39. 39
    + 1285
    - 1434


    Seinfeld

    ;
  40. 40
    + 1284
    - 1422


    Futurama, Futurama

    ;
  41. 41
    + 1587
    - 1659


    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

    ;
  42. 42
    + 1430
    - 1572


    Game of Thrones

    ;
  43. 43
    + 841
    - 946


    Cheers

    ;
  44. 44
    + 1163
    - 1125


    The Walking Dead

    ;
  45. 45
    + 991
    - 871


    Frasier, Cheers

    ;
  46. 46
    + 1134
    - 1069


    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the Animated Series, Buffyverse

    ;
  47. 47
    + 1271
    - 1567


    Breaking Bad

    ;
  48. 48
    + 1342
    - 1858

    often listed
    The X-Files, The X Files 2, The X-Files

    ;
  49. 49
    + 1148
    - 1251


    Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural

    ;
  50. 50
    + 1373
    - 1359


    The Big Bang Theory

    ;
1451 +

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