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 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.
  • 123 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    Up 1477
    Down 1197

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

    open
  2. 2
    Up 1616
    Down 1039

    ranked low on reranks The Sopranos

    open
  3. 3
    Up 1278
    Down 1009

    House, House Universe

    open
  4. 4
    Up 1366
    Down 799

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

    open
  5. 5
    Up 1677
    Down 1198

    the people's #1 Breaking Bad

    open
  6. 6
    Up 1082
    Down 783

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

    open
  7. 7
    Up 315
    Down 228

    The Big Bang Theory

    open
  8. 8
    Up 1105
    Down 821

    Married... With Children

    open
  9. 9
    Up 1176
    Down 978

    Seinfeld

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  10. 10
    Up 966
    Down 802

    The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show, Do the Bartman

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  11. 11
    Up 1070
    Down 824

    Seinfeld

    open
  12. 12
    Up 1105
    Down 889

    South Park

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  13. 13
    Up 1055
    Down 885

    How I Met Your Mother

    open
  14. 14
    Up 932
    Down 814

    All in the Family

    open
  15. 15
    Up 890
    Down 711

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

    open
  16. 16
    Up 892
    Down 738

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

    open
  17. 17
    Up 957
    Down 673

    Friends

    open
  18. 18
    Up 962
    Down 935

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

    open
  19. 19
    Up 1225
    Down 726

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

    open
  20. 20
    Up 1054
    Down 736

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

    open
  21. 21
    Up 490
    Down 340

    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

    open
  22. 22
    Up 745
    Down 748

    often listed & ranked high on reranks The X-Files, The X Files 2, The X-Files

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  23. 23
    Up 242
    Down 199

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Breaking Bad

    open
  24. 25
    Up 846
    Down 648

    MASH

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  25. 26
    Up 615
    Down 325

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

    open
  26. 28
    Up 862
    Down 776

    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

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  27. 29
    Up 546
    Down 409

    Friends

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  28. 30
    Up 657
    Down 432

    Friends

    open
  29. 31
    Up 658
    Down 513

    Happy Days

    open
  30. 32
    Up 778
    Down 681

    The Office

    open
  31. 33
    Up 569
    Down 626

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Game of Thrones

    open
  32. 34
    Up 791
    Down 712

    Seinfeld

    open
  33. 35
    Up 772
    Down 593

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

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  34. 36
    Up 612
    Down 689

    Game of Thrones

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  35. 37
    Up 425
    Down 471

    Monk, Monk Universe

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  36. 38
    Up 660
    Down 650

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

    open
  37. 39
    Up 730
    Down 594

    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

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  38. 40
    Up 606
    Down 579

    The Cosby Show

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  39. 41
    Up 701
    Down 693

    The Office

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  40. 42
    Up 396
    Down 307

    Game of Thrones

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  41. 43
    Up 391
    Down 314

    The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, The Addams Family

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  42. 44
    Up 374
    Down 389

    MacGyver, MacGyver

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  43. 45
    Up 663
    Down 813

    Lost, Lost

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  44. 46
    Up 572
    Down 660

    The Wire

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  45. 47
    Up 425
    Down 436

    added by maniero Dallas

    open
  46. 48
    Up 490
    Down 509

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

    open
  47. 49
    Up 341
    Down 436

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural

    open
  48. 50
    Up 593
    Down 595

    Futurama, Futurama

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  49. 51
    Up 526
    Down 551

    Seinfeld

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  50. 52
    Up 517
    Down 462

    The Big Bang Theory

    open
  51. 331 +

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