Best TV The Greatest TV Characters of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
1M votes 48.6k voters 628.8k views 1,769 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.
list ordered by

1
7,282 9,588
Homer Simpson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Simpsons

2
4,423 9,518
Bart Simpson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Simpsons

3
3,127 9,022
Brian Griffin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Family Guy

4
4,400 7,982
Peter Griffin is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

5
9,800 7,323
Walter White is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Breaking Bad

6
7,287 6,006
Spock is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Star Trek: The Original Series

7
5,481 7,811
Stewie Griffin is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Family Guy

8
9,556 5,607
Tyrion Lannister is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Game of Thrones

9
5,306 4,150
Bugs Bunny is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Baby Looney Tunes, Big House Bunny, Mutiny on the Bunny

10
7,220 5,819
Dr. Gregory House is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

11
4,780 4,166
James T. Kirk is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Star Trek: The Original Series

12
6,334 5,498
Tony Soprano is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Sopranos

13
5,379 4,607
Cosmo Kramer is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld

14
4,760 3,336
Lucy Ricardo is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
ShaneBird added I Love Lucy

15
6,559 5,217
Sheldon Cooper is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Big Bang Theory

16
6,726 5,137
Buffy Summers is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

17
6,836 4,423
Chandler Muriel Bing is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

18
5,824 3,544
Michael Scott is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Office

19
5,724 4,049
Joey Tribbiani is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Friends

20
3,507 3,839
Mr. Bean is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
MangoStarkey added Mr. Bean, Mr. Bean, Mr. Bean's Holiday

21
4,601 4,146
Jerry Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld

22
4,517 2,967
Sherlock Holmes is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

23
5,073 4,908
Eric Cartman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
South Park

24
3,626 3,969
Archie Bunker is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
All in the Family

25
2,976 3,355
Lieutenant Columbo is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Richard777 added Columbo

26
4,257 3,069
Jean-Luc Picard is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: Insurrection

27
3,977 4,601
Dexter Morgan is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Dexter, Dexter: Early Cuts, Dexter Universe

28
4,569 4,336
George Costanza is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld

29
1,978 4,495
Stan Marsh is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
South Park

30
5,242 4,623
Barney Stinson is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
How I Met Your Mother

31
4,488 3,865
Phoebe Buffay is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Friends

32
4,372 4,178
Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Married... With Children

33
3,319 2,845
Fonzie is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Happy Days

34
4,476 3,399
Will Smith is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

35
3,677 3,238
Kermit the Frog is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

36
2,184 1,136
Scooby-Doo is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy!, Scooby-Doo, Chill Out

37
2,244 2,250
Sheriff Andy Taylor is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Johnny B added The Andy Griffith Show, Return to Mayberry, Return to Mayberry - The Andy Griffith Show

38
3,046 3,591
Fox Mulder is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The X-Files, The X Files 2, The X-Files

39
3,351 3,499
Eddard Stark is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Game of Thrones

40
3,176 3,044
Dean Winchester is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural

41
2,765 3,220
Elaine Benes is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld

42
2,561 2,355
Sophia Petrillo is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Golden Girls

43
3,578 4,038
Daenerys Targaryen is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Game of Thrones

44
2,782 3,360
Bender is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Futurama, Futurama

45
1,242 671
Mr. Rogers is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

46
1,160 657
Tom and Jerry is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Pots and Pans

47
3,435 3,182
Arya Stark is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Game of Thrones

48
3,412 3,310
Dwight Schrute is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Office

49
3,150 3,576
Jesse Pinkman is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Breaking Bad

50
3,301 3,177
Daryl Dixon is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Walking Dead