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The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

Updated October 5, 2020 1.2m votes 67.2k voters 773.4k views1.3k items

List RulesOnly 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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  • 1
    Walter White
    15,101
    8,675

    Walter White

    Breaking Bad
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  • 2
    Tyrion Lannister
    12,762
    8,315

    Tyrion Lannister

    Game of Thrones
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  • 3
    Sherlock Holmes
    7,102
    4,362

    Sherlock Holmes

    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles
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  • 4
    Chandler Bing
    10,385
    6,802
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  • 5
    Michael Scott
    10,960
    4,763

    Michael Scott

    The Office
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  • 6
    Bugs Bunny
    7,444
    5,783

    Bugs Bunny

    Baby Looney Tunes, Big House Bunny
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  • 7
    Jon Snow
    4,514
    3,385

    Jon Snow

    Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire
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  • 8
    Joey Tribbiani
    8,474
    5,387
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  • 9
    Tony Soprano
    8,153
    6,593

    Tony Soprano

    The Sopranos
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  • 10
    Dr. Gregory House
    8,535
    7,191
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  • 11
    Kermit the Frog
    4,798
    3,623

    Kermit the Frog

    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie
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  • 12
    Scooby-Doo
    4,301
    2,268

    Scooby-Doo

    Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy!, Scooby-Doo
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  • 13
    Dwight Schrute
    6,066
    3,733

    Dwight Schrute

    The Office
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  • 14
    Batman
    3,418
    2,506

    Batman

    Batman Beyond, Young Justice
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  • 15
    Fonzie
    4,198
    3,546

    Fonzie

    Happy Days
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  • 16
    George Costanza
    5,636
    4,810
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  • 17
    Jesse Pinkman
    5,132
    3,979

    Jesse Pinkman

    Breaking Bad
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  • 18
    Lucy Ricardo
    5,770
    5,025

    Lucy Ricardo

    I Love Lucy
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  • 19
    Jean-Luc Picard
    4,932
    4,223

    Jean-Luc Picard

    Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Generations
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  • 20
    Will Smith
    5,605
    4,129

    Will Smith

    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
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  • 21
    Cosmo Kramer
    6,428
    5,649

    Cosmo Kramer

    Seinfeld
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  • 22
    Phoebe Buffay
    6,160
    4,989
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  • 23
    Mr. Rogers
    2,601
    1,423
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  • 24
    Arya Stark
    5,059
    3,817

    Arya Stark

    Game of Thrones
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  • 25
    Tom and Jerry
    3,093
    1,512

    Tom and Jerry

    Pots and Pans
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