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 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.

  • 381 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 1748
    - 1671

    most listed The Simpsons

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 2775
    - 2110

    ranked low on reranks The Simpsons

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 653
    - 962

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Family Guy

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 1654
    - 1505

    often listed Family Guy

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 1237
    - 1486

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

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 2695
    - 1683

    The Sopranos

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 1985
    - 1490

    ranked low on reranks Star Trek: The Original Series

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 2580
    - 1581

    ranked low on reranks Game of Thrones

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 3027
    - 2625

    Breaking Bad

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 2277
    - 1851
    ) open
  11. 11
    + 1767
    - 1359

    Seinfeld

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 1212
    - 905

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

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 1658
    - 1130

    The Big Bang Theory

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 2331
    - 1511

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 540
    - 737

    often listed & ranked high on reranks South Park

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 1770
    - 1423

    South Park

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 1355
    - 1123
    ) open
  18. 18
    + 1137
    - 895

    added by ShaneBird I Love Lucy

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 1672
    - 1367

    Married... With Children

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 1362
    - 1154

    Seinfeld

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 1369
    - 1230

    Star Trek: The Original Series

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 1719
    - 1204

    ranked low on reranks Friends

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 1341
    - 1358

    All in the Family

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 543
    - 522

    added by MangoStarkey Mr. Bean, Mr. Bean's Holiday, The London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony: ...

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 2188
    - 1463

    added by PeteBoyle Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 1777
    - 1626
    ) open
  27. 27
    + 1786
    - 1621

    How I Met Your Mother

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 1503
    - 1669

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

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 1327
    - 963

    ranked low on reranks The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 1289
    - 959
    ) open
  31. 31
    + 1318
    - 1104

    The Office

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 973
    - 988

    Futurama

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 916
    - 801

    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 1250
    - 1203

    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 1206
    - 1021

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

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 1057
    - 933

    Happy Days

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 1092
    - 1055
    ) open
  38. 38
    + 584
    - 509

    Golden Girls

    ) open
  39. 40
    + 882
    - 1053

    The Wire

    ) open
  40. 41
    + 233
    - 565

    the people's #1 & added by geyyy Life with Derek

    ) open
  41. 42
    + 887
    - 1074

    Seinfeld

    ) open
  42. 43
    + 1079
    - 1419

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

    ) open
  43. 44
    + 672
    - 640

    ranked low on reranks The Walking Dead

    ) open
  44. 45
    + 384
    - 403

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

    ) open
  45. 46
    + 947
    - 1202

    Game of Thrones

    ) open
  46. 47
    + 892
    - 1038

    The Cosby Show

    ) open
  47. 48
    + 802
    - 1051

    Breaking Bad

    ) open
  48. 49
    + 761
    - 878

    Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural

    ) open
  49. 50
    + 680
    - 779

    added by maniero Dallas

    ) open
  50. 51
    + 698
    - 909

    Monk, Monk Universe

    ) open
532 +

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