Best TV The Greatest TV Characters of All Time  

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Originally by Ranker Community
1M votes 49.8k voters 638.9k views 1,832 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
7,426 9,864
Homer Simpson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Simpsons

2
4,517 9,811
Bart Simpson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Simpsons

3
3,211 9,338
Brian Griffin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Family Guy

4
4,499 8,286
Peter Griffin is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

5
10,133 7,471
Walter White is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Breaking Bad

6
7,454 6,162
Spock is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Star Trek: The Original Series

7
5,599 8,014
Stewie Griffin is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Family Guy

8
9,845 5,731
Tyrion Lannister is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Game of Thrones

9
5,476 4,246
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
7,345 5,969
Dr. Gregory House is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

11
6,501 5,610
Tony Soprano is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Sopranos

12
4,874 4,287
James T. Kirk is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Star Trek: The Original Series

13
5,497 4,721
Cosmo Kramer is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld

14
4,863 3,427
Lucy Ricardo is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
ShaneBird added I Love Lucy

15
6,712 5,389
Sheldon Cooper is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Big Bang Theory

16
6,805 5,256
Buffy Summers is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

17
6,151 3,609
Michael Scott is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Office

18
7,096 4,519
Chandler Bing is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Friends

19
5,939 4,134
Joey Tribbiani is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Friends

20
3,645 3,943
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
4,701 4,230
Jerry Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld

22
4,621 3,039
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
5,189 5,006
Eric Cartman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
South Park

24
3,695 4,046
Archie Bunker is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
All in the Family

25
3,028 3,434
Lieutenant Columbo is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Richard777 added Columbo

26
4,046 4,683
Dexter Morgan is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Dexter, Dexter: Early Cuts, Dexter Universe

27
4,337 3,132
Jean-Luc Picard is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: Insurrection

28
4,657 4,406
George Costanza is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld

29
2,010 4,596
Stan Marsh is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
South Park

30
5,368 4,693
Barney Stinson is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
How I Met Your Mother

31
4,623 3,952
Phoebe Buffay is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Friends

32
4,445 4,243
Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Married... With Children

33
3,390 2,892
Fonzie is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Happy Days

34
4,577 3,453
Will Smith is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

35
3,769 3,295
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
2,301 1,184
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
2,297 2,301
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
3,088 3,650
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
3,437 3,559
Eddard Stark is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Game of Thrones

40
3,688 4,110
Daenerys Targaryen is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Game of Thrones

41
3,253 3,109
Dean Winchester is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural

42
1,260 692
Tom and Jerry is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Pots and Pans

43
2,817 3,282
Elaine Benes is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld

44
2,842 3,420
Bender is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Futurama, Futurama

45
2,598 2,405
Sophia Petrillo is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Golden Girls

46
3,559 3,351
Dwight Schrute is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Office

47
1,308 710
Mr. Rogers is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

48
3,246 3,629
Jesse Pinkman is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Breaking Bad

49
3,536 3,234
Arya Stark is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Game of Thrones

50
3,361 3,228
Daryl Dixon is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Walking Dead