Best TV The Greatest TV Characters of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
1M votes 49k voters 632.4k 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.
list ordered by

1
7,324 9,680
Homer Simpson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Simpsons

2
4,456 9,611
Bart Simpson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Simpsons

3
3,152 9,130
Brian Griffin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Family Guy

4
4,431 8,085
Peter Griffin is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

5
9,916 7,366
Walter White is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Breaking Bad

6
7,349 6,046
Spock is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Star Trek: The Original Series

7
5,524 7,879
Stewie Griffin is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Family Guy

8
9,652 5,643
Tyrion Lannister is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Game of Thrones

9
5,361 4,183
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
7,265 5,862
Dr. Gregory House is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

11
4,815 4,200
James T. Kirk is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Star Trek: The Original Series

12
6,387 5,529
Tony Soprano is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Sopranos

13
5,418 4,638
Cosmo Kramer is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld

14
4,794 3,362
Lucy Ricardo is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
ShaneBird added I Love Lucy

15
6,609 5,276
Sheldon Cooper is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Big Bang Theory

16
6,758 5,172
Buffy Summers is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

17
6,918 4,454
Chandler Muriel Bing is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

18
5,928 3,570
Michael Scott is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Office

19
5,793 4,075
Joey Tribbiani is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Friends

20
3,548 3,872
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
4,633 4,171
Jerry Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld

22
4,555 2,988
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
5,112 4,942
Eric Cartman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
South Park

24
3,650 3,993
Archie Bunker is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
All in the Family

25
2,992 3,383
Lieutenant Columbo is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Richard777 added Columbo

26
4,289 3,090
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
4,002 4,629
Dexter Morgan is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Dexter, Dexter: Early Cuts, Dexter Universe

28
4,597 4,363
George Costanza is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld

29
1,994 4,529
Stan Marsh is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
South Park

30
5,280 4,643
Barney Stinson is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
How I Met Your Mother

31
4,531 3,893
Phoebe Buffay is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Friends

32
4,403 4,202
Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Married... With Children

33
3,342 2,861
Fonzie is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Happy Days

34
4,503 3,418
Will Smith is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

35
3,703 3,258
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
2,222 1,152
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
2,260 2,268
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
3,063 3,613
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
3,376 3,522
Eddard Stark is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Game of Thrones

40
3,207 3,065
Dean Winchester is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural

41
2,786 3,239
Elaine Benes is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld

42
3,614 4,061
Daenerys Targaryen is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Game of Thrones

43
2,572 2,374
Sophia Petrillo is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Golden Girls

44
2,803 3,379
Bender is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Futurama, Futurama

45
1,188 671
Tom and Jerry is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Pots and Pans

46
1,260 685
Mr. Rogers is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

47
3,453 3,327
Dwight Schrute is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Office

48
3,466 3,206
Arya Stark is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Game of Thrones

49
3,185 3,595
Jesse Pinkman is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Breaking Bad

50
3,321 3,197
Daryl Dixon is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Walking Dead