best TV The Greatest TV Characters of All Time  

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Originally by Ranker Community
1M votes 46k voters 605.8k views 1,755 items

List Rules 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.

1
6,950 8,906
Homer Simpson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Homer Simpson The Simpsons

2
4,196 8,825
Bart Simpson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Bart Simpson The Simpsons

3
2,958 8,245
Brian Griffin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Brian Griffin Family Guy

4
4,131 7,320
Peter Griffin is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Peter Griffin Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

5
6,942 5,639
Spock is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Spock Star Trek: The Original Series

6
9,181 6,998
Walter White is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Walter White Breaking Bad

7
5,219 7,312
Stewie Griffin is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Stewie Griffin Family Guy

8
9,027 5,275
Tyrion Lannister is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Tyrion Lannister Game of Thrones

9
4,918 3,931
Bugs Bunny is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Bugs Bunny Baby Looney Tunes, Big House Bunny, Mutiny on the Bunny

10
6,939 5,456
Dr. Gregory House is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

11
4,546 3,879
James T. Kirk is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
James T. Kirk Star Trek: The Original Series

12
6,066 5,180
Tony Soprano is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Tony Soprano The Sopranos

13
5,125 4,340
Cosmo Kramer is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Cosmo Kramer Seinfeld

14
4,485 3,125
Lucy Ricardo is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
ShaneBird added Lucy Ricardo I Love Lucy

The Funniest TV Characters of All Time

15
6,209 4,845
Sheldon Cooper is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Sheldon Cooper The Big Bang Theory

16
6,558 4,812
Buffy Summers is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Buffy Summers Buffy the Vampire Slayer

17
6,319 4,159
Chandler Muriel Bing is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

18
5,169 3,374
Michael Scott is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Michael Scott The Office

19
3,217 3,541
Mr. Bean is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
MangoStarkey added Mr. Bean Mr. Bean, Mr. Bean, Mr. Bean's Holiday

20
5,295 3,817
Joey Tribbiani is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Joey Tribbiani Friends

21
4,314 3,919
Jerry Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Jerry Seinfeld Seinfeld

28 Creepy Photos Inspired by Children's Nightmares

22
4,186 2,783
Sherlock Holmes is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Sherlock Holmes Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

23
4,839 4,614
Eric Cartman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Eric Cartman South Park

24
2,825 3,160
Lieutenant Columbo is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Richard777 added Columbo Columbo

25
3,427 3,770
Archie Bunker is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Archie Bunker All in the Family

26
3,824 4,396
Dexter Morgan is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Dexter Morgan Dexter, Dexter: Early Cuts, Dexter Universe

27
4,049 2,907
Jean-Luc Picard is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Jean-Luc Picard Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: Insurrection

28
1,894 4,203
Stan Marsh is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Stan Marsh South Park

The Most Annoying TV and Film Characters Ever

29
4,330 4,144
George Costanza is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
George Costanza Seinfeld

30
4,207 3,959
Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Al Bundy Married... With Children

31
4,958 4,395
Barney Stinson is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Barney Stinson How I Met Your Mother

32
4,194 3,629
Phoebe Buffay is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Phoebe Buffay Friends

33
3,153 2,712
Fonzie is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Fonzie Happy Days

34
4,227 3,215
Will Smith is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Will Smith The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

35
3,445 3,128
Kermit the Frog is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Kermit the Frog Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

Famous People You Didn't Know Were Married to Each Other

36
2,123 2,128
Sheriff Andy Taylor is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Johnny B added Sheriff Andy Taylor The Andy Griffith Show, Return to Mayberry, Return to Mayberry - The Andy Griffith Show

37
1,925 1,032
Scooby-Doo is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Scooby-Doo Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy!, Scooby-Doo, Chill Out

38
2,939 3,461
Fox Mulder is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Fox Mulder The X-Files, The X Files 2, The X-Files

39
3,165 3,357
Eddard Stark is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Eddard Stark Game of Thrones

40
2,449 2,247
Sophia Petrillo is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Sophia Petrillo Golden Girls

41
2,990 2,906
Dean Winchester is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Dean Winchester Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural

42
3,361 3,846
Daenerys Targaryen is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Daenerys Targaryen Game of Thrones

The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

43
2,590 3,092
Elaine Benes is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Elaine Benes Seinfeld

44
2,646 3,236
Bender is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Bender Futurama, Futurama

45
4,575 4,023
Spike is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
PeteBoyle added Spike Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

46
3,152 3,015
Daryl Dixon is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Daryl Dixon The Walking Dead

47
3,222 3,053
Arya Stark is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Arya Stark Game of Thrones

48
2,958 3,422
Jesse Pinkman is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Jesse Pinkman Breaking Bad

49
1,061 597
Mr. Rogers is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

50
2,305 2,301
Morticia Addams is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Morticia Addams The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, The Addams Family