The 10 Greatest TV Characters Of All Time

Actor James Gandolfini in scene from HBO TV drama series The Sopranos. (Photo by Anthony Neste/Getty Images)

10. Dexter Morgan Dexter (Hulu)

The murderer’s row of great Drama shows in the 2000’s: Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, and Dexter. Dexter Morgan is an odd duck. All of us have had a “psycho ex-girlfriend,” but Dexter…Dexter introduced me to what the word “psychotic” actually entailed. Because he does not know how to act like a normal person, the entire show you are screaming at him to stop being a dumbass and go home to Rita’s kids or whatever girlfriend he’s with at the time instead of creatively killing scumbag people and dropping their bodies in the ocean. I’m very excited for the new season because the character, the audience, and everyone involved deserved something better than Dex ending up as a fucking lumberjack. 

9. Peggy Olson Mad Men (Amazon Prime)

The terms “girl boss” and “queen” get thrown around every time a girl tweets about having IBS nowadays, but Peggy Olson embodies what it means to ACTUALLY fight the good fight. Peggy goes from a timid secretary to a confident copywriter who blazed her trail through taking risks, working her ass off, and not letting any man in the male-dominated advertising world of the semi-fictional 1960s tell her what she couldn’t and could do. In a show where the protagonist is far more than imperfect, Peggy is the character most Mad Men fans love the most.

8. Larry David Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO Max)

Sure, Larry might be kind of an asshole, but most of the time… let’s be honest… he’s right. There’s a little bit of Larry in all of us. I don’t care how religious you are or how noble you are for your “social media activism,” Larry David acts the way most of us think. In what has been said to be the last season of Curb’s monstrous run on HBO, the hyperbolized version of Larry David that Larry David plays will go down as one of the funniest television characters of all time.

7. Tony Soprano The Sopranos (HBO Max)

Tony Soprano redefined television as a character. Without Tony, there is no Walter White, Tommy Shelby, Dexter Morgan, Don Draper, or Jimmy McNulty. He is the first dramatic protagonist I can think of that was wildly flawed, but we all still rooted in favor of. As a New Jersey native, the pinpoint accuracy of how David Chase wrote this character is flawless. While The Sopranos might not be as hot in the streets as some other shows I’ve listed at the moment, it’s essential to acknowledge how impactful the show and Tony were to the way television shows are written.

6. Michael Scofield Prison Break (Hulu)

As I mentioned in the very first part of this series, I truly believe season one of Prison Break was the best season of any television show I’ve ever watched. Wentworth Miller’s portrayal of Michael Scofield is excellent throughout the entire series. Michael Scofield has all of the intangibles of a superhero without any of the bullshit. He doesn’t fly like Superman, run like The Flash, or evade his taxes like Batman- he’s just sharp as a tac. It’s a damn shame Wentworth Miller refuses to play straight characters anymore, which is just a psychotic move, but I guess that’s what happens when you’ve made your money. 

5. Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson Orange is The New Black (Netflix)

Orange Is The New Black will go down as one of my favorite shows of all time, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t have my favorite character in the top five. Ninety percent of you reading this right now are guys; I know what you’re thinking- why the fuck would I ever want to watch a show about a women’s prisonIs there hot lesbian sex in it? That’s valid. And eh…not really much hot lesbian sex. I refused to watch this show until I had an ex-girlfriend who made me. We broke up around season three, and I kept the train rolling… it’s that fucking good. Taystee represents the misfortunes a lot of Americans struggle with that I didn’t even consider. It’s one thing to see statistics about how hard it is to make it out of a bad area, but it’s another to watch it play out. Taystee navigates her life with high morals; however, the girl just can’t catch a break. Even as she gets fucked by forces outside of her control, she radiates positive energy. 

4. Eric Cartman South Park (

Crack baby basketball, making chilli out of Scott Tenorman’s parents, smuggling KFC fried chicken across state borders, Jenífer Lopez, pretending to be autistic, rapant anti-semitism, Awesom-O, and so, so many other examples of the greatest satire the world has ever seen. Eric Cartman is the most repugnant child of all time, and that’s why he is funny. Comedy is supposed to be about doing the wrong thing, not going on stage and making a bunch of “orange man bad” jokes. Season twenty-four can not come soon enough.

3. Michael Scott The Office (Peacock)

Not wasting my breath here. 

2. Fiona Gallagher Shameless (Netflix)

The first scene of Shameless tells you everything you need to know about Fiona Gallagher; she’s a Southside-Chicago girl with a big heart. The greatest part of Shameless’ long run on Showtime is how we can see each character evolve through the help of Fiona. Every time she’s down, the bitch gets right back up. She is also the most attractive TV character of all time, bar none.  

1. Charlie Kelly It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Hulu)

With the trailer’s release for Sunny’s new season, it’s only fitting that Charlie Kelly is at the top of this list. He’s the product of a failed abortion, who shares a futon with a man that may or may not be his father. He spends his free time under a bridge where he lurks for jeans and sells eggs. He’s an illiterate small-business part-owner who has only left Pennsylvania to drink over sixty beers on a cross-country flight to LA. Charlie Kelly is the funniest character of all time. 

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