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.

  • 391 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 1825
    - 1791

    most listed The Simpsons

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 2895
    - 2209

    ranked low on reranks The Simpsons

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 696
    - 1101

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Family Guy

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 1725
    - 1626

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Family Guy

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 1291
    - 1617

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

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 2722
    - 1645

    ranked low on reranks Game of Thrones

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 2071
    - 1569

    ranked low on reranks Star Trek: The Original Series

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 2824
    - 1737

    ranked low on reranks The Sopranos

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 2418
    - 1916
    ) open
  10. 10
    + 3178
    - 2795

    Breaking Bad

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 1851
    - 1417

    Seinfeld

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 2505
    - 1581

    ranked low on reranks Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 1772
    - 1194

    The Big Bang Theory

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 1281
    - 1025

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

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 1841
    - 1495

    South Park

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 568
    - 863

    often listed & ranked high on reranks South Park

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 1396
    - 1181
    ) open
  18. 18
    + 1431
    - 1210

    Seinfeld

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 1191
    - 949

    added by ShaneBird I Love Lucy

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 1409
    - 1288

    Star Trek: The Original Series

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 1812
    - 1268

    ranked low on reranks Friends

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 1741
    - 1438

    Married... With Children

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 1851
    - 1703
    ) open
  24. 24
    + 2282
    - 1526

    added by PeteBoyle Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 1376
    - 1436

    often listed & ranked high on reranks All in the Family

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 1366
    - 1029
    ) open
  27. 27
    + 1397
    - 1033

    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 1560
    - 1771

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

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 590
    - 640

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

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 1851
    - 1734

    How I Met Your Mother

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 1258
    - 1071

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

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 972
    - 842

    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 1155
    - 1104
    ) open
  34. 34
    + 1373
    - 1179

    The Office

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 1015
    - 1039

    Futurama

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 1284
    - 1284

    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 1087
    - 977

    Happy Days

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 624
    - 544

    Golden Girls

    ) open
  39. 40
    + 416
    - 435

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

    ) open
  40. 41
    + 924
    - 1118

    Seinfeld

    ) open
  41. 42
    + 918
    - 1100

    The Wire

    ) open
  42. 43
    + 919
    - 1085

    The Cosby Show

    ) open
  43. 44
    + 1011
    - 1247

    Game of Thrones

    ) open
  44. 45
    + 716
    - 712

    The Walking Dead

    ) open
  45. 46
    + 1105
    - 1491

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

    ) open
  46. 47
    + 864
    - 1125

    Breaking Bad

    ) open
  47. 48
    + 703
    - 814

    added by maniero Dallas

    ) open
  48. 49
    + 757
    - 746

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy the Animated Series, Buffyverse

    ) open
  49. 50
    + 645
    - 593

    Frasier, Cheers

    ) open
584 +

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