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The Greatest TV Characters of All Time 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated March 23, 2020 1.2M votes 60.7k voters 722k views 1,423 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.
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list ordered by
1
Tyrion Lannister is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Game of Thrones
2
Walter White is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Breaking Bad
3
Chandler Bing is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Friends
4
Lucy Ricardo is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
ShaneBird added I Love Lucy
5
Jean-Luc Picard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: Insurrection
6
Bugs Bunny is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Baby Looney Tunes, Big House Bunny, Mutiny on the Bunny
7
Dr. Gregory House is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
8
Buffy Summers is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
9
Tony Soprano is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Sopranos
10
Sherlock Holmes is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes
11
Spock is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Star Trek: The Original Series
12
Sheldon Cooper is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Big Bang Theory
13
Cosmo Kramer is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld
14
Fonzie is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Happy Days
15
Michael Scott is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Office
16
George Costanza is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld
17
James T. Kirk is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Star Trek: The Original Series
18
Joey Tribbiani is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Friends
19
Phoebe Buffay is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Friends
20
Jon Snow is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
yankeesmdfan added Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire
21
Will Smith is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
22
Kermit the Frog is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy
23
Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Married... With Children
24
Jerry Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld
25
Dwight Schrute is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Office