The Greatest TV Characters of All Time Fictional Characters

The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

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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.

List Photo: user uploaded image
Collection Photo: user uploaded image
  • 476 ReRanks
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  • 2 See list ranked by
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  1. 1
    + 4,498
    - 3,716


    The Simpsons

    ;
  2. 2
    + 2,668
    - 3,481

    most listed & ranked high on reranks
    The Simpsons

    ;
  3. 3
    + 3,536
    - 2,524

    ranked low on reranks
    Star Trek: The Original Series

    ;
  4. 4
    + 1,338
    - 2,903

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Family Guy

    ;
  5. 5
    + 2,713
    - 3,193

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Family Guy

    ;
  6. 6
    + 4,764
    - 2,576

    ranked low on reranks
    Game of Thrones

    ;
  7. 7
    + 2,107
    - 3,213

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

    ;
  8. 8
    + 4,201
    - 2,593

    ranked low on reranks
    The Sopranos

    ;
  9. 9
    + 3,979
    - 2,845


    House

    ;
  10. 10
    + 4,269
    - 2,499


    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    ;
  11. 11
    + 3,447
    - 2,176


    The Big Bang Theory

    ;
  12. 12
    + 4,991
    - 4,620

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Breaking Bad

    ;
  13. 13
    + 3,050
    - 2,232


    Seinfeld

    ;
  14. 14
    + 2,249
    - 2,019

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Baby Looney Tunes, Big House Bunny, Mutiny on the Bunny

    ;
  15. 15
    + 2,360
    - 1,973


    Star Trek: The Original Series

    ;
  16. 16
    + 2,244
    - 1,612

    added by ShaneBird
    I Love Lucy

    ;
  17. 17
    + 3,247
    - 2,075

    ranked low on reranks
    Friends

    ;
  18. 18
    + 2,288
    - 1,898


    M*A*S*H

    ;
  19. 19
    + 2,850
    - 2,331


    South Park

    ;
  20. 20
    + 2,459
    - 2,023


    Seinfeld

    ;
  21. 21
    + 2,651
    - 1,778

    ranked low on reranks
    Friends

    ;
  22. 22
    + 2,669
    - 2,190


    Married... With Children

    ;
  23. 23
    + 1,539
    - 1,472

    added by Richard777
    Columbo

    ;
  24. 24
    + 1,036
    - 1,850

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    South Park

    ;
  25. 25
    + 2,662
    - 2,484


    Seinfeld

    ;
  26. 26
    + 2,144
    - 1,777


    Friends

    ;
  27. 27
    + 1,295
    - 1,383

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

    ;
  28. 28
    + 3,379
    - 2,274

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

    ;
  29. 29
    + 1,928
    - 2,243

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    All in the Family

    ;
  30. 30
    + 2,217
    - 2,694

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

    ;
  31. 31
    + 1,986
    - 1,662

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

    ;
  32. 32
    + 2,769
    - 2,668


    How I Met Your Mother

    ;
  33. 33
    + 2,276
    - 1,747

    ranked low on reranks
    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

    ;
  34. 34
    + 1,680
    - 1,358


    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

    ;
  35. 35
    + 2,121
    - 1,929


    The Office

    ;
  36. 36
    + 1,604
    - 1,550


    Happy Days

    ;
  37. 37
    + 844
    - 1,016

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

    ;
  38. 38
    + 1,781
    - 2,023


    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

    ;
  39. 39
    + 1,456
    - 1,808


    Seinfeld

    ;
  40. 40
    + 1,471
    - 1,816


    Futurama, Futurama

    ;
  41. 41
    + 1,104
    - 1,171


    Golden Girls

    ;
  42. 42
    + 700
    - 487

    ranked low on reranks & added by DanielLahaie
    The Walking Dead

    ;
  43. 43
    + 1,659
    - 2,014


    Game of Thrones

    ;
  44. 44
    + 1,475
    - 1,560


    The Walking Dead

    ;
  45. 45
    + 1,536
    - 2,272

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

    ;
  46. 46
    + 1,193
    - 1,243


    Frasier, Cheers

    ;
  47. 47
    + 994
    - 1,329


    Cheers

    ;
  48. 48
    + 1,483
    - 2,034


    Breaking Bad

    ;
  49. 49
    + 1,613
    - 1,781

    ranked low on reranks
    The Big Bang Theory

    ;
  50. 50
    + 1,155
    - 1,347


    The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, The Addams Family

    ;
1590 +

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