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.
  • 124 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    Up 1501
    Down 1221

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

    open
  2. 2
    Up 1643
    Down 1056

    ranked low on reranks The Sopranos

    open
  3. 3
    Up 1394
    Down 812

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

    open
  4. 4
    Up 1292
    Down 1033

    House, House Universe

    open
  5. 5
    Up 1709
    Down 1214

    the people's #1 Breaking Bad

    open
  6. 6
    Up 1100
    Down 794

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

    open
  7. 7
    Up 342
    Down 253

    The Big Bang Theory

    open
  8. 8
    Up 1122
    Down 840

    Married... With Children

    open
  9. 9
    Up 1194
    Down 995

    Seinfeld

    open
  10. 10
    Up 986
    Down 817

    The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show, Do the Bartman

    open
  11. 11
    Up 1088
    Down 837

    Seinfeld

    open
  12. 12
    Up 1125
    Down 905

    South Park

    open
  13. 13
    Up 1072
    Down 906

    How I Met Your Mother

    open
  14. 14
    Up 946
    Down 826

    All in the Family

    open
  15. 15
    Up 905
    Down 728

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

    open
  16. 16
    Up 907
    Down 750

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

    open
  17. 17
    Up 973
    Down 687

    Friends

    open
  18. 18
    Up 978
    Down 950

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

    open
  19. 19
    Up 1235
    Down 742

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

    open
  20. 20
    Up 1064
    Down 750

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

    open
  21. 21
    Up 503
    Down 350

    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

    open
  22. 22
    Up 758
    Down 759

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

    open
  23. 23
    Up 265
    Down 217

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Breaking Bad

    open
  24. 25
    Up 857
    Down 657

    MASH

    open
  25. 26
    Up 630
    Down 332

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

    open
  26. 28
    Up 868
    Down 787

    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

    open
  27. 29
    Up 556
    Down 423

    Friends

    open
  28. 30
    Up 671
    Down 520

    Happy Days

    open
  29. 31
    Up 668
    Down 447

    ranked low on reranks Friends

    open
  30. 32
    Up 795
    Down 691

    The Office

    open
  31. 33
    Up 579
    Down 637

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Game of Thrones

    open
  32. 34
    Up 803
    Down 719

    Seinfeld

    open
  33. 35
    Up 788
    Down 601

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

    open
  34. 36
    Up 620
    Down 707

    Game of Thrones

    open
  35. 37
    Up 432
    Down 485

    Monk, Monk Universe

    open
  36. 38
    Up 675
    Down 669

    Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

    open
  37. 39
    Up 740
    Down 606

    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

    open
  38. 40
    Up 616
    Down 588

    The Cosby Show

    open
  39. 41
    Up 401
    Down 323

    The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, The Addams Family

    open
  40. 42
    Up 713
    Down 705

    The Office

    open
  41. 43
    Up 404
    Down 320

    Game of Thrones

    open
  42. 44
    Up 381
    Down 398

    MacGyver, MacGyver

    open
  43. 45
    Up 580
    Down 667

    The Wire

    open
  44. 46
    Up 669
    Down 826

    Lost, Lost

    open
  45. 47
    Up 431
    Down 445

    added by maniero Dallas

    open
  46. 48
    Up 497
    Down 525

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

    open
  47. 49
    Up 603
    Down 607

    Futurama, Futurama

    open
  48. 50
    Up 350
    Down 452

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

    open
  49. 51
    Up 529
    Down 477

    The Big Bang Theory

    open
  50. 52
    Up 531
    Down 566

    Seinfeld

    open
  51. 370 +

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