The 15 Best TV Characters Of All Time

August 27, 2014  |  
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The Emmy’s are over, but we’re not done reminiscing about the best TV characters of all time. These are the characters who made us laugh, cry and hang on through commercials. If we couldn’t squeeze your favorites into the list, give them a shout out in the comments section.

Olivia Pope

Scandal is one of the best shows on TV to date. And thanks to Olivia Pope, millions of Scandal fans know that when you put your white hat on and keep your gladiators by your side, anything is possible.

The Huxtables

How do you single out just one Huxtable as your favorite? The Cosby Show will go down in history as one of the best casts on TV whether you took Cliff’s side or Claire’s. All of the Cosby’s taught us how to be better parents, better kids and how to laugh the whole time we were doing it.

Mary Richards

How can we forget TV’s first single lady making it on her own in the big city? The Mary Tyler Moore Show was a funny, sweet Nick at Nite staple and it’s star was exactly the inspiration that millions of women needed to know that they really could make it after all.

Omar Little

We’ll never understand why The Wire suffered so many Emmy snubs. Especially when it was home to one of the best characters on TV: Omar Little. He played the game fearlessly, ruled his domain with Shakespearean flair and left his legacy on every TV gangster written after him. Michael K. Williams may not have gotten a nod from the Emmy committee for one of the best roles of all time, but he can have one from us.

Tyrion Lannister

The Lion of Lannister is the smartest player in the Game of Thrones. And he’s taught us that no matter what deck of hands fate deals you, it doesn’t have to hold you back from being one of the baddest heroes on TV.

Everyone on Orange Is The New Black

Red? Taystee? Poussey? Piper? How can we pick just one of the women who taught us so much about life, friendship and human anatomy?

Fred G. Sanford

If quotability is the mark of a great TV character, Fred Sanford wins the competition hands down. Whether he was calling his son a “Big Dummy,” teasing Aunt Esther or telling Elizabeth that he was coming, he was one of the best most irritable characters on TV and he will be missed.

Steve Urkel

It was easy to take good old Steve for granted, but he kept millions of us laughing during one of the longest-running sitcoms on TV with a predominantly black cast. The patron saint of TV nerds taught us to be ourselves no matter what anyone thought. Just have fun, enjoy your life and not even Laura Winslow will be able to resist falling in love with you.

Mary Jane

TV side chicks have been catching a lot of heat lately, but we like to think Being Mary Jane is around to remind us to calm the side eyes down because we all have flaws that we’re trying to work on.


Charles S. Dutton fans will never stop being salty that Roc never got it’s due. It tackled race, poverty, drugs and violence with laughter and heart. Watching Roc struggle to make an honest living was one of the best parts of 90s TV — and Mr. Dutton did it all live in front of a studio audience.

All of the Girlfriends

Were you a Joan, Lynn, Maya or Toni? All of the Girlfriends taught us all something about sisterhood, dating, interracial relationships and being a black woman in the 21st century.

The Cast of Living Single

If we can’t pick between Girlfriends, we definitely can’t chose between Khadijah, Synclaire, Régine, Max. Overton and Kyle. For five years, Living Single was the best thing on Fox and you’ll never get us to say that Friends is better.

Al Bundy

Of all the TV dads, Al Bundy will always be one of our favorites. He loved beer, being a smart mouth and maybe even Peggy, Bud and Kelly. And we loved him for keeping us laughing throughout most of the 90s.

The Fresh Prince

If you love Will Smith, you have to love The Fresh Prince. After all, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air was loosely based on his own life and that of his co-producer Benny Medina. The Emmy’s may not have ever give the Fresh Prince an award, but Will and his antics will always have a special place in all of our hearts.

Michael Scott

Michael Gary Scott is everyone’s favorite TV boss and 90% of what made The Office one of the most beloved shows in television history.

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