Popular Opinion The Greatest TV Characters of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
1.1M votes 52.9k voters 662.9k views 1,838 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
7,766 10,680
Homer Simpson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Simpsons
2
4,749 10,652
Bart Simpson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Simpsons
3
10,976 7,889
Walter White is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Breaking Bad
4
3,414 10,150
Brian Griffin is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Family Guy
5
4,753 8,967
Peter Griffin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Family Guy, Family Guy Universe
6
10,718 6,041
Tyrion Lannister is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Game of Thrones
7
7,866 6,548
Spock is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Star Trek: The Original Series
8
5,894 8,535
Stewie Griffin is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Family Guy
9
5,914 4,541
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
7,720 6,366
Dr. Gregory House is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
11
6,914 5,933
Tony Soprano is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Sopranos
12
5,811 5,037
Cosmo Kramer is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld
13
5,153 4,606
James T. Kirk is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Star Trek: The Original Series
14
5,148 3,698
Lucy Ricardo is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
ShaneBird added I Love Lucy
15
6,893 3,872
Michael Scott is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Office
16
7,123 5,786
Sheldon Cooper is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Big Bang Theory
17
7,011 5,556
Buffy Summers is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
18
7,692 4,798
Chandler Bing is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Friends
19
6,433 4,408
Joey Tribbiani is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Friends
20
4,003 4,216
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
4,966 4,497
Jerry Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld
22
4,987 3,261
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
5,446 5,299
Eric Cartman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
South Park
24
3,899 4,270
Archie Bunker is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
All in the Family
25
4,264 4,920
Dexter Morgan is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Dexter, Dexter: Early Cuts, Dexter Universe