Entertainment The Greatest TV Characters of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
1.1M votes 51.6k voters 654.3k views 1,833 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
7,616 10,318
Homer Simpson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Simpsons

2
4,648 10,274
Bart Simpson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Simpsons

3
10,623 7,695
Walter White is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Breaking Bad

4
3,323 9,801
Brian Griffin is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Family Guy

5
4,651 8,664
Peter Griffin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

6
10,270 5,910
Tyrion Lannister is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Game of Thrones

7
7,669 6,386
Spock is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Star Trek: The Original Series

8
5,765 8,303
Stewie Griffin is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Family Guy

9
5,720 4,410
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
7,556 6,192
Dr. Gregory House is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

11
6,741 5,785
Tony Soprano is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Sopranos

12
5,027 4,470
James T. Kirk is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Star Trek: The Original Series

13
5,674 4,881
Cosmo Kramer is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld

14
5,011 3,573
Lucy Ricardo is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
ShaneBird added I Love Lucy

15
6,929 5,616
Sheldon Cooper is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Big Bang Theory

16
6,584 3,750
Michael Scott is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Office

17
6,918 5,414
Buffy Summers is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

18
7,452 4,658
Chandler Bing is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Friends

19
6,235 4,271
Joey Tribbiani is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Friends

20
3,832 4,092
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
4,856 4,365
Jerry Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld

22
4,806 3,163
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
5,312 5,170
Eric Cartman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
South Park

24
3,811 4,160
Archie Bunker is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
All in the Family

25
4,805 4,522
George Costanza is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld