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 1598
    Down 1013

    The Sopranos

    open
  2. 2
    Up 1449
    Down 1178

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

    open
  3. 3
    Up 1350
    Down 779

    Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire

    open
  4. 4
    Up 1263
    Down 989

    House, House Universe

    open
  5. 5
    Up 1659
    Down 1180

    the people's #1 Breaking Bad

    open
  6. 6
    Up 1074
    Down 760

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

    open
  7. 7
    Up 308
    Down 198

    The Big Bang Theory

    open
  8. 8
    Up 1091
    Down 803

    Married... With Children

    open
  9. 9
    Up 1166
    Down 953

    Seinfeld

    open
  10. 10
    Up 948
    Down 785

    The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show, Do the Bartman

    open
  11. 11
    Up 1060
    Down 803

    Seinfeld

    open
  12. 12
    Up 1093
    Down 870

    South Park

    open
  13. 13
    Up 1046
    Down 861

    How I Met Your Mother

    open
  14. 14
    Up 922
    Down 789

    All in the Family

    open
  15. 15
    Up 871
    Down 697

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

    open
  16. 16
    Up 955
    Down 915

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

    open
  17. 17
    Up 944
    Down 656

    Friends

    open
  18. 18
    Up 885
    Down 722

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

    open
  19. 19
    Up 1212
    Down 711

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

    open
  20. 20
    Up 1042
    Down 716

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

    open
  21. 21
    Up 482
    Down 327

    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

    open
  22. 22
    Up 739
    Down 728

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

    open
  23. 23
    Up 226
    Down 186

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Breaking Bad

    open
  24. 25
    Up 828
    Down 638

    MASH

    open
  25. 26
    Up 599
    Down 316

    ranked low on reranks Baby Looney Tunes, Big House Bunny, Mutiny on the Bunny

    open
  26. 27
    Up 539
    Down 394

    Friends

    open
  27. 28
    Up 854
    Down 761

    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

    open
  28. 30
    Up 647
    Down 423

    Friends

    open
  29. 31
    Up 651
    Down 499

    Happy Days

    open
  30. 32
    Up 769
    Down 664

    The Office

    open
  31. 33
    Up 560
    Down 613

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Game of Thrones

    open
  32. 34
    Up 780
    Down 703

    Seinfeld

    open
  33. 35
    Up 762
    Down 580

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

    open
  34. 36
    Up 606
    Down 666

    Game of Thrones

    open
  35. 37
    Up 420
    Down 449

    Monk, Monk Universe

    open
  36. 38
    Up 723
    Down 573

    ranked low on reranks The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

    open
  37. 39
    Up 643
    Down 637

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

    open
  38. 40
    Up 600
    Down 564

    The Cosby Show

    open
  39. 41
    Up 693
    Down 678

    The Office

    open
  40. 42
    Up 386
    Down 295

    Game of Thrones

    open
  41. 43
    Up 385
    Down 302

    The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, The Addams Family

    open
  42. 44
    Up 367
    Down 378

    MacGyver, MacGyver

    open
  43. 45
    Up 660
    Down 797

    Lost, Lost

    open
  44. 46
    Up 420
    Down 422

    added by maniero Dallas

    open
  45. 47
    Up 569
    Down 646

    The Wire

    open
  46. 48
    Up 485
    Down 491

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

    open
  47. 49
    Up 513
    Down 443

    The Big Bang Theory

    open
  48. 50
    Up 520
    Down 533

    Seinfeld

    open
  49. 51
    Up 328
    Down 420

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

    open
  50. 52
    Up 577
    Down 585

    Futurama, Futurama

    open
  51. 372 +

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