Watchworthy

The Greatest TV Characters of All Time 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated April 20, 2020 1.3M votes 63.1k voters 740.6k views 1,429 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
2
Walter White is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
3
Chandler Bing is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
4
Lucy Ricardo is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
5
Bugs Bunny is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
6
Dr. Gregory House is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
7
Sherlock Holmes is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
8
Tony Soprano is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
9
Jean-Luc Picard is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
10
Buffy Summers is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
11
Michael Scott is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
12
Fonzie is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
13
Cosmo Kramer is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
14
Spock is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
15
George Costanza is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
16
Joey Tribbiani is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
17
Jon Snow is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
18
Sheldon Cooper is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
19
Phoebe Buffay is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
20
Kermit the Frog is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
21
Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
22
Dwight Schrute is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
23
Jerry Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
24
James T. Kirk is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
25
Will Smith is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time