popular opinion The Greatest TV Characters of All Time  

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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
5,894 6,644
Homer Simpson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Homer Simpson The Simpsons

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2
3,538 6,567
Bart Simpson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Bart Simpson The Simpsons

3
3,234 5,198
Peter Griffin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
voting closed at #4 Peter Griffin Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

4
5,657 4,231
Spock is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Spock Star Trek: The Original Series

5
2,276 5,936
Brian Griffin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Brian Griffin Family Guy

6
4,204 5,516
Stewie Griffin is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Stewie Griffin Family Guy

7
7,129 4,114
Tyrion Lannister is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Tyrion Lannister Game of Thrones

8
7,318 6,018
Walter White is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Walter White Breaking Bad

9
5,779 4,282
Dr. Gregory House is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

10
3,761 3,053
Bugs Bunny is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Bugs Bunny Baby Looney Tunes, Big House Bunny, Mutiny on the Bunny

11
5,287 4,052
Tony Soprano is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Tony Soprano The Sopranos

12
3,696 2,954
James T. Kirk is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
James T. Kirk Star Trek: The Original Series

13
5,686 3,741
Buffy Summers is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Buffy Summers Buffy the Vampire Slayer

14
4,209 3,421
Cosmo Kramer is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Cosmo Kramer Seinfeld

15
5,104 3,611
Sheldon Cooper is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Sheldon Cooper The Big Bang Theory

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16
3,499 2,437
Lucy Ricardo is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
ShaneBird added Lucy Ricardo I Love Lucy

17
4,851 3,225
Chandler Muriel Bing is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

18
2,393 2,499
Mr. Bean is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
MangoStarkey added Mr. Bean Mr. Bean, Mr. Bean, Mr. Bean's Holiday

19
3,444 3,086
Jerry Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Jerry Seinfeld Seinfeld

20
4,047 2,881
Joey Tribbiani is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Joey Tribbiani Friends

21
3,938 3,621
Eric Cartman is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Eric Cartman South Park

22
2,269 2,434
Lieutenant Columbo is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Richard777 added Columbo Columbo

23
3,006 2,119
Sherlock Holmes is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Sherlock Holmes Sherlock, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes

24
3,261 2,351
Jean-Luc Picard is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Jean-Luc Picard Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: Insurrection

25
2,814 3,102
Archie Bunker is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Archie Bunker All in the Family

26
3,604 3,171
Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Al Bundy Married... With Children

27
1,542 3,187
Stan Marsh is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Stan Marsh South Park

28
3,158 3,734
Dexter Morgan is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Dexter Morgan Dexter, Dexter: Early Cuts, Dexter Universe

29
3,500 2,782
Michael Scott is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Michael Scott The Office

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30
3,298 2,794
Phoebe Buffay is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Phoebe Buffay Friends

31
3,533 3,524
George Costanza is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
George Costanza Seinfeld

32
4,033 3,615
Barney Stinson is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Barney Stinson How I Met Your Mother

33
3,397 2,551
Will Smith is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Will Smith The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

34
2,494 2,222
Fonzie is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Fonzie Happy Days

35
4,203 3,252
Spike is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
PeteBoyle added Spike Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffyverse

36
2,718 2,695
Kermit the Frog is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Kermit the Frog Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

37
1,573 1,681
Sheriff Andy Taylor is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Johnny B added Sheriff Andy Taylor The Andy Griffith Show, Return to Mayberry, Return to Mayberry - The Andy Griffith Show

38
2,349 2,979
Fox Mulder is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Fox Mulder The X-Files, The X Files 2, The X-Files

39
1,056 634
Scooby-Doo is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Scooby-Doo Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy!, Scooby-Doo, Chill Out

40
1,900 1,789
Sophia Petrillo is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Sophia Petrillo Golden Girls

41
2,542 2,391
Daryl Dixon is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Daryl Dixon The Walking Dead

42
2,555 2,787
Eddard Stark is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Eddard Stark Game of Thrones

43
2,170 2,686
Bender is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Bender Futurama, Futurama

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44
2,084 2,591
Elaine Benes is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Elaine Benes Seinfeld

45
2,589 3,144
Daenerys Targaryen is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Daenerys Targaryen Game of Thrones

46
1,904 1,867
Morticia Addams is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Morticia Addams The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, The Addams Family

47
2,277 2,386
Dean Winchester is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Dean Winchester Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural

48
2,367 2,802
Jesse Pinkman is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Jesse Pinkman Breaking Bad

49
2,474 2,454
Arya Stark is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Arya Stark Game of Thrones

50
1,934 1,892
Frasier Crane is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Frasier Crane Frasier, Cheers