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The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

Updated October 5, 2020 1.2m votes 66.5k voters 768.4k 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 is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
    14,806
    8,524

    Walter White

    Breaking Bad
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  • 2
    Tyrion Lannister is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
    12,573
    8,168

    Tyrion Lannister

    Game of Thrones
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  • 3
    Sherlock Holmes is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
    6,944
    4,197

    Sherlock Holmes

    Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles
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  • 4
    Chandler Bing is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
    10,165
    6,635
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  • 5
    Michael Scott is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
    10,701
    4,644

    Michael Scott

    The Office
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  • 6
    Bugs Bunny is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
    7,341
    5,670

    Bugs Bunny

    Baby Looney Tunes, Big House Bunny
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  • 7
    Jon Snow is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
    4,387
    3,243

    Jon Snow

    Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire
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  • 8
    Joey Tribbiani is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
    8,292
    5,253
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  • 9
    Dr. Gregory House is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
    8,449
    7,089
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  • 10
    Tony Soprano is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
    7,972
    6,508

    Tony Soprano

    The Sopranos
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  • 11
    Kermit the Frog is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
    4,713
    3,536

    Kermit the Frog

    Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie
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  • 12
    Scooby-Doo is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
    4,187
    2,187

    Scooby-Doo

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  • 13
    Dwight Schrute is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
    5,890
    3,658

    Dwight Schrute

    The Office
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  • 14
    Fonzie is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
    4,149
    3,465

    Fonzie

    Happy Days
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  • 15
    Batman is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
    3,338
    2,434

    Batman

    Batman Beyond, Young Justice
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  • 16
    Jesse Pinkman is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
    5,132
    3,979

    Jesse Pinkman

    Breaking Bad
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  • 17
    Lucy Ricardo is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
    5,698
    4,963

    Lucy Ricardo

    I Love Lucy
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    #9 of 935 The Greatest Female TV Characters of All Time#12 of 26 The Best Lady BFFs in TV History

  • 18
    George Costanza is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
    5,544
    4,746
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  • 19
    Will Smith is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
    5,499
    4,070

    Will Smith

    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
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  • 20
    Jean-Luc Picard is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
    4,863
    4,174

    Jean-Luc Picard

    Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Generations
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  • 21
    Phoebe Buffay is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
    6,044
    4,902
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  • 22
    Cosmo Kramer is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
    6,351
    5,593

    Cosmo Kramer

    Seinfeld
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  • 23
    Mr. Rogers is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
    2,520
    1,383
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  • 24
    Tom and Jerry is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
    2,989
    1,465

    Tom and Jerry

    Pots and Pans
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  • 25
    Arya Stark is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
    4,950
    3,761

    Arya Stark

    Game of Thrones
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