The Greatest TV Characters of All Time Fictional Characters

The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

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127,260 views 310 items 116,875 votes 6,296 voters 176 followers 114reranks
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 Criteria: Only fictional characters created for television programs

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    1. 1
      Up 1350
      Down 823
      The Sopranos More
      93
    2. 2
      Up 1171
      Down 934

      most listed &ranked high on reranks
      Homer Simpson

      The Simpsons, Stand Up to Cancer, Do the Bartman More
      92
    3. 3
      Up 1016
      Down 774
      House, House Universe More
      89
    4. 4
      Up 1032
      Down 629

      ranked low on reranks
      Tyrion Lannister

      Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire More
      88
    5. 5
      Up 1309
      Down 877

      the people's #1
      Walter White

      Breaking Bad More
      86
    6. 6
      Up 850
      Down 621
      Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek: ... More
      83
    7. 7
      Up 1018
      Down 791
      Seinfeld More
      81
    8. 8
      Up 905
      Down 673
      Married... With Children More
      81
    9. 9
      Up 776
      Down 613
      The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show, Do the Bartman More
      78
    10. 10
      Up 894
      Down 660
      Seinfeld More
      78
    11. 11
      Up 809
      Down 645
      All in the Family More
      78
    12. 12
      Up 872
      Down 657
      How I Met Your Mother More
      78
    13. 13
      Up 893
      Down 718
      South Park More
      77
    14. 15
      Up 743
      Down 602
      In Living Color, Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Animated ... More
      74
    15. 16
      Up 796
      Down 754
      Dexter, Dexter: Early Cuts, Dexter Universe More
      74
    16. 17
      Up 686
      Down 557
      Family Guy, Family Guy Universe More
      74
    17. 18
      Up 954
      Down 566

      ranked low on reranks
      Spike

      Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse More
      72
      added by: PeteBoyle
    18. 19
      Up 747
      Down 549
      Friends More
      72
    19. 20
      Up 620
      Down 570

      often listed &ranked high on reranks
      Fox Mulder

      The X-Files, The X Files 2, The X-Files More
      72
    20. 21
      Up 826
      Down 594
      Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse More
      71
    21. 23
      Up 19
      Down 11

      often listed &ranked high on reranks
      Sheldon Cooper

      The Big Bang Theory More
      70
    22. 24
      Up 712
      Down 545
      MASH More
      70
    23. 25
      Up 735
      Down 623
      Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy More
      70
    24. 27
      Up 319
      Down 242
      Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes More
      68
    25. 28
      Up 532
      Down 417
      Happy Days More
      67
    26. 29
      Up 646
      Down 594
      Seinfeld More
      67
    27. 30
      Up 442
      Down 236
      Baby Looney Tunes, Big House Bunny, Mutiny on the Bunny More
      67
    28. 31
      Up 640
      Down 490
      Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: ... More
      67
    29. 32
      Up 646
      Down 569
      The Office More
      66
    30. 33
      Up 452
      Down 485

      often listed &ranked high on reranks
      Daenerys Targaryen

      Game of Thrones More
      66
    31. 34
      Up 358
      Down 281
      Friends More
      65
    32. 35
      Up 436
      Down 464

      often listed &ranked high on reranks
      Eddard Stark

      Game of Thrones More
      65
    33. 36
      Up 326
      Down 354

      often listed &ranked high on reranks
      Adrian Monk

      Monk, Monk Universe More
      65
    34. 37
      Up 569
      Down 460

      ranked low on reranks
      Will Smith

      The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air More
      64
    35. 38
      Up 510
      Down 469
      The Cosby Show More
      64
    36. 39
      Up 460
      Down 331

      ranked low on reranks
      Joey Tribbiani

      Friends More
      63
    37. 40
      Up 510
      Down 506
      Family Guy, Family Guy Universe More
      63
    38. 41
      Up 589
      Down 571
      The Office More
      63
    39. 43
      Up 355
      Down 330
      Dallas More
      61
      added by: maniero
    40. 44
      Up 551
      Down 653
      Lost, Lost More
      61
    41. 45
      Up 480
      Down 547
      The Wire More
      60
    42. 46
      Up 388
      Down 316

      ranked low on reranks
      Penny

      The Big Bang Theory More
      60
    43. 47
      Up 276
      Down 294
      MacGyver, MacGyver More
      59
    44. 48
      Up 400
      Down 396
      The X-Files, The X Files 2, The X-Files More
      59
    45. 49
      Up 409
      Down 436
      Seinfeld More
      59
    46. 50
      Up 227
      Down 194
      Game of Thrones More
      58
    47. 51
      Up 274
      Down 226
      The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, The Addams Family More
      58
    48. 52
      Up 216
      Down 258

      often listed &ranked high on reranks
      Dean Winchester

      Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural More
      58
    49. 53
      Up 232
      Down 145
      Wile E. Coyote and The Road Runner, Looney Tunes: Stranger Than Fiction, ... More
      58
    50. 54
      Up 457
      Down 479
      Futurama, Futurama More
      57
    51. 311 +

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