Best TV The Greatest TV Characters of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
1M votes 48k voters 622.6k views 1,760 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
7,199 9,441
Homer Simpson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Simpsons

2
4,372 9,363
Bart Simpson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Simpsons

3
3,090 8,852
Brian Griffin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Family Guy

4
4,350 7,832
Peter Griffin is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Family Guy, Family Guy Universe

5
9,641 7,257
Walter White is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Breaking Bad

6
7,213 5,933
Spock is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Star Trek: The Original Series

7
5,429 7,701
Stewie Griffin is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Family Guy

8
9,445 5,531
Tyrion Lannister is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Game of Thrones

9
5,216 4,111
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
7,157 5,748
Dr. Gregory House is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

11
4,740 4,104
James T. Kirk is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Star Trek: The Original Series

12
6,269 5,435
Tony Soprano is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Sopranos

13
5,315 4,561
Cosmo Kramer is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld

14
4,710 3,293
Lucy Ricardo is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
ShaneBird added I Love Lucy

15
6,486 5,129
Sheldon Cooper is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Big Bang Theory

16
6,694 5,066
Buffy Summers is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

17
6,700 4,366
Chandler Muriel Bing is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

18
5,666 3,510
Michael Scott is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Office

19
5,617 4,002
Joey Tribbiani is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Friends

20
3,436 3,782
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
4,535 4,110
Jerry Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld

22
4,467 2,933
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
5,013 4,855
Eric Cartman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
South Park

24
3,593 3,932
Archie Bunker is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
All in the Family

25
2,948 3,320
Lieutenant Columbo is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Richard777 added Columbo

26
4,228 3,036
Jean-Luc Picard is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: Insurrection

27
3,948 4,562
Dexter Morgan is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Dexter, Dexter: Early Cuts, Dexter Universe

28
4,512 4,305
George Costanza is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld

29
1,962 4,442
Stan Marsh is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
South Park

30
5,172 4,575
Barney Stinson is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
How I Met Your Mother

31
4,339 4,138
Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Married... With Children

32
4,417 3,817
Phoebe Buffay is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Friends

33
3,290 2,820
Fonzie is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Happy Days

34
4,427 3,364
Will Smith is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

35
3,628 3,221
Kermit the Frog is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Sam and Friends, The Muppet Movie, The Christmas Toy

36
2,127 1,116
Scooby-Doo is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy!, Scooby-Doo, Chill Out

37
2,224 2,228
Sheriff Andy Taylor is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Johnny B added The Andy Griffith Show, Return to Mayberry, Return to Mayberry - The Andy Griffith Show

38
3,027 3,565
Fox Mulder is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The X-Files, The X Files 2, The X-Files

39
3,316 3,469
Eddard Stark is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Game of Thrones

40
3,141 3,016
Dean Winchester is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Supernatural The Animation, Supernatural, Supernatural

41
2,539 2,333
Sophia Petrillo is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Golden Girls

42
3,531 3,994
Daenerys Targaryen is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Game of Thrones

43
2,726 3,193
Elaine Benes is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Seinfeld

44
2,761 3,337
Bender is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Futurama, Futurama

45
3,390 3,149
Arya Stark is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Game of Thrones

46
1,112 639
Tom and Jerry is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Pots and Pans

47
3,270 3,147
Daryl Dixon is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Walking Dead

48
3,102 3,546
Jesse Pinkman is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
Breaking Bad

49
1,198 653
Mr. Rogers is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

50
3,328 3,285
Dwight Schrute is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest TV Characters of All Time
The Office