Best TV The Greatest TV Characters of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
1M votes 47.5k voters 617.3k views 1,770 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
7,135 9,328
Homer Simpson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Homer Simpson The Simpsons

2
4,325 9,241
Bart Simpson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Bart Simpson The Simpsons

3
3,058 8,716
Brian Griffin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Brian Griffin Family Guy

4
4,305 7,702
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
9,533 7,193
Walter White is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Walter White Breaking Bad

6
7,143 5,876
Spock is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Spock Star Trek: The Original Series

7
5,379 7,604
Stewie Griffin is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Stewie Griffin Family Guy

8
9,344 5,467
Tyrion Lannister is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Tyrion Lannister Game of Thrones

9
5,148 4,068
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
7,101 5,682
Dr. Gregory House is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

11
4,698 4,052
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
6,219 5,377
Tony Soprano is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Tony Soprano The Sopranos

13
5,271 4,510
Cosmo Kramer is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Cosmo Kramer Seinfeld

14
4,651 3,250
Lucy Ricardo is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
ShaneBird added Lucy Ricardo I Love Lucy

15
6,421 5,059
Sheldon Cooper is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Sheldon Cooper The Big Bang Theory

16
6,654 5,003
Buffy Summers is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Buffy Summers Buffy the Vampire Slayer

17
6,607 4,314
Chandler Muriel Bing is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

18
5,563 3,476
Michael Scott is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Michael Scott The Office

19
5,533 3,959
Joey Tribbiani is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Joey Tribbiani Friends

20
4,492 4,060
Jerry Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Jerry Seinfeld Seinfeld

21
3,386 3,719
Mr. Bean is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
MangoStarkey added Mr. Bean Mr. Bean, Mr. Bean, Mr. Bean's Holiday

22
4,389 2,905
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
4,975 4,794
Eric Cartman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Eric Cartman South Park

24
3,550 3,892
Archie Bunker is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Archie Bunker All in the Family

25
2,916 3,285
Lieutenant Columbo is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Richard777 added Columbo Columbo

26
4,190 3,007
Jean-Luc Picard is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Jean-Luc Picard Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: Insurrection

27
3,914 4,526
Dexter Morgan is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Dexter Morgan Dexter, Dexter: Early Cuts, Dexter Universe

28
1,948 4,382
Stan Marsh is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Stan Marsh South Park

29
4,469 4,262
George Costanza is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
George Costanza Seinfeld

30
5,118 4,529
Barney Stinson is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Barney Stinson How I Met Your Mother

31
4,309 4,089
Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Al Bundy Married... With Children

32
4,361 3,779
Phoebe Buffay is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Phoebe Buffay Friends

33
3,259 2,798
Fonzie is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Fonzie Happy Days

34
4,379 3,331
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
3,591 3,200
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

36
2,086 1,092
Scooby-Doo is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Scooby-Doo Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy!, Scooby-Doo, Chill Out

37
2,209 2,207
Sheriff Andy Taylor is listed (or ranked) 37 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

38
3,007 3,543
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
3,283 3,446
Eddard Stark is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Eddard Stark Game of Thrones

40
3,102 2,994
Dean Winchester is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Dean Winchester Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural

41
2,516 2,319
Sophia Petrillo is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Sophia Petrillo Golden Girls

42
3,491 3,961
Daenerys Targaryen is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Daenerys Targaryen Game of Thrones

43
2,694 3,169
Elaine Benes is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Elaine Benes Seinfeld

44
2,739 3,317
Bender is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Bender Futurama, Futurama

45
3,348 3,132
Arya Stark is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Arya Stark Game of Thrones

46
3,242 3,113
Daryl Dixon is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Daryl Dixon The Walking Dead

47
3,067 3,516
Jesse Pinkman is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Jesse Pinkman Breaking Bad

48
1,169 638
Mr. Rogers is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

49
4,621 4,141
Spike is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
PeteBoyle added Spike Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

50
1,078 629
Tom and Jerry is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Tom and Jerry Pots and Pans