Best TV The Greatest TV Characters of All Time  

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Originally by Ranker Community
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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
7,286 9,593
Homer Simpson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Simpsons

2
4,426 9,522
Bart Simpson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Simpsons

3
3,128 9,029
Brian Griffin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Family Guy

4
4,402 7,988
Peter Griffin is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

5
9,807 7,325
Walter White is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Breaking Bad

6
7,290 6,008
Spock is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Star Trek: The Original Series

7
5,482 7,815
Stewie Griffin is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Family Guy

8
9,559 5,610
Tyrion Lannister is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Game of Thrones

9
5,308 4,153
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
7,224 5,823
Dr. Gregory House is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

11
4,782 4,168
James T. Kirk is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Star Trek: The Original Series

12
6,336 5,501
Tony Soprano is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Sopranos

13
5,381 4,609
Cosmo Kramer is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld

14
4,761 3,339
Lucy Ricardo is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
ShaneBird added I Love Lucy

15
6,560 5,221
Sheldon Cooper is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Big Bang Theory

16
6,726 5,141
Buffy Summers is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

17
6,840 4,426
Chandler Muriel Bing is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

18
5,831 3,547
Michael Scott is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Office

19
5,727 4,054
Joey Tribbiani is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Friends

20
3,507 3,843
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
4,604 4,148
Jerry Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld

22
4,518 2,969
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
5,075 4,913
Eric Cartman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
South Park

24
3,628 3,972
Archie Bunker is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
All in the Family

25
2,978 3,359
Lieutenant Columbo is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Richard777 added Columbo

26
4,259 3,072
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
3,978 4,604
Dexter Morgan is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Dexter, Dexter: Early Cuts, Dexter Universe

28
4,571 4,338
George Costanza is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld

29
1,978 4,500
Stan Marsh is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
South Park

30
5,244 4,625
Barney Stinson is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
How I Met Your Mother

31
4,489 3,869
Phoebe Buffay is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Friends

32
4,372 4,182
Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Married... With Children

33
3,320 2,846
Fonzie is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Happy Days

34
4,476 3,403
Will Smith is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

35
3,678 3,241
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
2,186 1,138
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
2,245 2,252
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
3,047 3,593
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 3,502
Eddard Stark is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Game of Thrones

40
3,179 3,047
Dean Winchester is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural

41
2,767 3,222
Elaine Benes is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld

42
2,561 2,358
Sophia Petrillo is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Golden Girls

43
3,579 4,041
Daenerys Targaryen is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Game of Thrones

44
2,782 3,364
Bender is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Futurama, Futurama

45
1,244 674
Mr. Rogers is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

46
1,161 659
Tom and Jerry is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Pots and Pans

47
3,435 3,186
Arya Stark is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Game of Thrones

48
3,413 3,314
Dwight Schrute is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Office

49
3,153 3,579
Jesse Pinkman is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Breaking Bad

50
3,301 3,181
Daryl Dixon is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Walking Dead