Even when a TV hero is having a rough day — and 24's Jack Bauer has had plenty of them — our nights are made immeasurably better by their tireless efforts. Generations of viewers have slept more peacefully after cheering on their favorite do-gooders, whether patrolling the Western plains or navigating the farthest reaches of space, battling terrorists from the underworld or vanquishing monsters from the netherworld. In the photo gallery below, we champion the champions. Plus: Some of the shows' stars reveal what it means to save the day.
Pick up this week's issue of TV Guide Magazine on newsstands Thursday, June 12!