The baddies that you know are ruining the lives of the heroes, but make you smile anyway:
10.) Sheriff Jim Valenti – Roswell
Portrayed by: William Sadler
He’s one of a few characters on this list who starts out bad guy and turns into one of the ultimate heroes on the show, but in Season 1…you hate his guts. Before you get his backstory and start to understand where he’s coming from, he’s an asshole. A high-ranking government official asshole, which is bound to cause all sorts of trouble for the innocent aliens and their human allies.
Why do we hate him in season 1? He treats Max, Michael, and Isabel (the alien in disguise) terribly. He knows something’s up and doesn’t mind using his position in office to threaten them. And they’re all high school aged.
So why do we like him in season 1? Well, for one thing he’s smart. He’s a real threat because he isn’t a bubbling Smokey and the Bandit type cop. He’s a single dad who loves his son and is trying his best to protect his town with the limited resources he’s given. When other oppositions does creep up in the town, like Agent Topolsky and Tess (I couldn’t put her on the list, though I consider her the main bad guy, cause I never enjoyed her, just kept muttering “diediediedie” whenever she was on the screen), he’s steps in to protect the people of Roswell (key word being “people.” Human people). And he has an adorable crush on Amy DeLuca. Finally, when Max saves Valenti’s son, he has no choice, but to team up with them against the future baddies.
9.) The Tribbles – Star Trek: The Original Series
Portrayed by: …Dust Bunnies? Created by Wah Chang and Jacqueline Cumere
Is this a cheat? Maybe.
They’re cute, they’re fluffy, they multiple beyond control. So, technically they’re a very real danger. Famous for possibly being the most ridiculous of all science fiction creatures (in anything ever), the little balls of fluff themselves aren’t much of a threat.
Tribbles don’t want to eat humans or destroy their spaceships (though they could, I suppose, suffocate you). But one Tribble becomes many Tribbles and that trouble when they whittle away your supplies, clog up your vents, and, of course, eat all the grain you’ve been storing. Which, funnily enough, saves the crew of the Enterprise. Because the Klingons poisoned the grain and when the Tribbles started dying the crew discovered this. The Tribbles also alert them to the disguised Klingon onboard the ship.
But really nobody i paying much attention to the madcap plot in this episode, because they’re all so distracted by the madcap dust-bunnies that basically just breath and purr. And goddamn it, it’s adorable. Even Spock can’t help, but like them. And Lieutenant Uhura is absolutely beside herself, she thinks they’re so cute.
The little hairballs have remained pop culture icons, even earning themselves a nod in the latest Star Trek film.
And admit it. You want one.
8.) Jefferson/The Mad Hatter – Once Upon a Time
Portrayed by: Sebastian Stan
Cause crazy people are loads of fun. Of course, in Jefferson’s case it’s not that cut and dry.
Now, I’ve never been a huge fan of the show and they’ve officially lost me (Dr. Frankenstein? What the fuck?!), but the reason I watched it as long as I did was that every once in awhile there would be moments of sheer brilliance. Little Red Riding Hood being a werewolf, Emma’s fight with the Maleficent dragon, things like that. But I never really liked the tone of the show. Then, three quarters of the way through the first season, there was an episode, Hat Trick (really the one episode he’s on the list for), where the tone was sort of skewed…off…something was different. And I loved it.
It was darker than usual. And it wasn’t just that there was danger. There had been danger in the show from the beginning, deaths even, but Jefferson doesn’t have anything left to loose: he doesn’t just want to kill people, he wants to torture, corrupt and create fear. And he wants to take his time. He’s gonna enjoy it. His violence was more realistic, which made it more disturbing. Plus, at this point in the show, we still diddn’t know what he wanted, so we didn’t know what he might do. How far he’d go.
Why’s Jefferson different? He remembers. He knows that they’re all in the wrong world. Which makes him sound like he’s nuts, but he’s one of only, what? Three characters who know who they really are?
I kept watching the show long after it was good, hoping to find a repeat of this episode’s tone, more glimpses of it’s occasional brilliance, but i didn’t get that. Captain Hook can be fun as well, and quite enjoyable to look at, but the show had already fallen apart by the time he showed up. Like, for real, the writer’s don’t have a clue what they’re doing anymore.
7.) Evony Fleurette Marquise (The Morrigan) – Lost Girl
Portrayed by: Emmanuelle Vaugier
On the whole, Lost Girl is far from polished. But guess what? I’ve seen every last episode. So that counts for something. And while there are a lot of bad guys on the show, the Morrigan is by far the most fun. She’s the leader of the Dark Fae, but doesn’t hermit away in a dark dank cave. Quite the contrary. She likes the limelight, she dresses like a fashionista, and she acts as her entire sides PR manager.
How bad she becomes has a lot to do with what Bo decides. While she refuses to pick a side, her allegiances tend to be to the Light Fae and the Morrigan knows it. She doesn’t have to be the smartest or the strongest or the most dangerous. She just has to control them and she does. She has a put-down for every occasion. Plus she and Vex, the Russell Brand-esque Dark Fae Mesmer, make a brilliant double act.
She has all the slimy qualities you’d expect from a bad guy: she exploits, well, everyone, manipulates, steals other beings abilities, or straight-up drain and kill them. So just when we’re starting to kinda like her, she’ll go and do something like that so we can’t like her anymore. Except then we do by the next episode (granted I was predisposed to like her, being a major Supernatural fan…Madison). But that’s what this list is all about anyway.
And if I’m being completely honest with myself, I really enjoyed it when Vex made her dance to MC Hammer.
6.) Benjamin Linus – Lost
Portrayed by: Michael Emerson
This character caused so much inner turmoil that it actually started to really frustrate me. You know from the get-go that he’s lying through his teeth about being from the plane. And he’s a bad guy, just a bad guy for the entire run of the show.
A bad guy with a fleshed-out backstory and excellent character arc (to be honest i really like all the episodes with him as a kid), but a bad guy nonetheless. So much so that I was absolutely positive that in the end…hasn’t happened yet? Well, in the very end…still no? At the last second, he was going to do something so wildly heroic I’d be cheering from my couch, flinging popcorn to the heavens. But he doesn’t. He’s just the bad guy. Okay, there is that one moment when he saves Hurley, but for the most part you just hate his guts.
He’s so twitchy and weasely and slimy and paranoid and out for his own good that while you’re hating him, you’re sort of fasinated. You want to know what horrible thing he’ll do next. And he never fails to disappoint.
Now there is an alternate version of Linus who’s a sympathetic schoolteacher, which further twisted my image of him. If he hadn’t been sent to the island as a child, he would have been totally different. But as we all now those alternate dimension episodes were pretty much just more goddamn padding and nothing ever came of them. The Linus of the relevant universe was all entertaining baddie.
And apparently he can randomly time/dimension travel. So that’s kinda cool.
5.) Morgana – Merlin
Portrayed by: Katie McGrath
I actually had a bit of a hard time putting her on this list. If she’s on it, she certainly deserves this high a placement. But I liked her so much before she was evil!
I’m in the middle of the last season of Merlin right now and am really dreading finishing it, because the way the Arthur legend ends is with most all the leads biting the dust. Including Morgana. And I still like her.
Alright, in season 1, she’s introduced as the King’s ward, and later turn out to be his daughter and Arthur’s half-sister. Morgana also has a half-sister from her mother (still with me?) and this sister is a witch and teaches Morgana, who already showed signs of magic, all sorts of witchy things and convinces her to take the the throne from her jackass king father.
And she does, and that doesn’t really work out and she goes to live in the woods and be a hag. Don’t get me wrong, Katie McGrath is a smoking hot hag, but she does some truly nasty things to the people who she used to consider her family and closest friends, including getting into a proper sword fight with Gwen (which was awesome and way too short).
But, yeah, there’s still a part of me that’s happy to see her onscreen. You know, before she utterly ruins all the other characters that I care so much about.
4.) Cancer Man – The X-Files
Portrayed by: William B. Davis
It could easily be argued that The X-Files is the best Science Fiction show ever made, and the main villain of the piece is Cancer Man (or Cigarette Smoking Man as they later had to call him for reasons of political correctness).
The character wasn’t originally intended to be a character at all. He was just an anonymous suit that was hanging around in the pilot. But one of those anonymous suits that’s really high up in the most secret organization the government runs.
He was so good, so mysterious, that they kept calling him back, to the point where Cancer Man became a huge and integral character (and obstacle) in the X-Files universe. He was always there to thwart a well crafted plan, an important discovery, or a daring escape. And he’d always take care of business quietly, with as little fuss as humanly possible, while the audience could do little more that angrily grit their teeth at him.
Of course, he’s part of the reason the shows so fun: the nameless adversary that you knew so little about, and was therefore so difficult to get rid of or even throw off your trail. You’d just see a smoking cigarette and know you’d been foiled again.
But if you have to be outwitted, this is the guy you’d want to do it.
3.) The Master (the Tennant Years) – Doctor Who
Portrayed by John Simm
Now before you lose all your respect for me, answer this question: have you only ever seen Doctor Who via Netflix? If so look up the I Can’t Decide sequence. My favorite scene from the whole show and it was cut from Netflix for copy write issues.
Simm gets a bum rap for playing the character a little hammy, chewing the scenery, pulling a Shatner, but to be honest, I thought this was the perfect portrayal of that character for at that time. The last canonical version of the Master we saw (and it is canon, deal with it) was Eric Roberts in the movie from ’96. Now THAT was overacting.
The Master has gone proper mad from the drumming, which was legit as we find out later. There was drumming and it was a warning.
So why did it work for Simm when it didn’t work for Roberts? Well, the answers too bleeding simple. In the movie, it was bad acting (and the direction couldn’t have been much of a help). Simm was doing it on purpose.
The Master has gone so wonky at this point that he really enjoys coming up with the most twisted punishments. Then executing those plans with perfect precision. See video. He tortures the Doctor physically, mentally, morally (remember this is a show about the madcap adventures of a time-traveling alien…who committed DOUBLE GENOCIDE), emotionally, even spiritually. And we’re all singing along to the Scissor Sisters. A lot of people still disagree, but-
Sorry, I blanked out for a minute, what was I saying?
2.) Crowley – Supernatural
Portrayed by: Mark Sheppard
Lovelovelovelovelove this character. Aside from the fact that his namesake is from one of my favorite books ever (Good Omens), Crowley’s character is one of the most fun in all of TV-dom. And the show has some amazingly fun characters to start with.
Crowley first shows up in season 5. He’s a demon and unlike in past seasons he seems to be single-handedly running any and all crossroad deals. But he’s a secondary bad guy, cause the big bad that season was Lucifer. Crowley even suggests that he wants to help the Winchesters. But when the Winchesters lock Lucifer away at the end of the season, you start to understand what was in it for Crowley as he becomes the king of hell in Lucifer’s absence.
By season 8 he finally got to be the big bad and he steps up his game. After doing some particularly nasty things, particularly to the prophet, Kevin, I thought, “well, that’s that. I Can’t like hi anymore, but by the next episode I’d be holding my breath, hoping to see his name in the opening credits and cracking up over his one-liners.
And the reason the character has lasted as long as he has is that he makes himself invaluable. He always makes sure that the Winchesters, or Cas(s), or someone the Winchesters care about, need him and need him alive. He’s always got some important piece of intel or has some mythological object, Bobby’s soul…Kevin.
Now after the season 8 finale, he make come back a little tweaked in future episodes, but Crowley is Crowley is Crowley.
1.) Spike – Buffy, the Vampire Slayer
Portrayed by: James Marsters
It does NOT get better than this. Even forgetting his character arc for a moment, putting the fact that he became the bleedin’ love interest aside, this is one of the greatest TV baddies. Like Crowley, before he was a proper good guy, he was a helpful villain, when he wasn’t trying to kill Buffy, but he was still a proper threat.
Spike is snide, sarcastic, sardonic, sadistic, sexy (all the s words), dangerous (he’s killed two slayers), chilling and a total crack up. Throw in a little attempted rape and you’ve got yourself a party. He likes being a bad guy. And he’s good at it.
He’s got it all, from the long leather coat to the British accent (as you probably all know, Marsters is NOT actually British), to his love of punk music. Also, he’s the only TV bad boy who I’ve ever fallen for. In my delusional egocentric brain, I like to think in the big scheme of things that amounts to something.
I’m also a little conflicted because Buffy was the beginning of the whole “I’m in a love triangle with a vampire” story that lead to the unfortunate Twilight phenomenon. The difference is, the vampires in Buffy have some teeth (see what I did there). They aren’t sweet, they aren’t what a love interest is supposed to be. I’m speaking in plurals here because I know some people like Angel…eh. Again I found him most entertaining as a bad guy. But the point is, we come to love them as they learn about, and find themselves wanting, humanity. That’s what redeems Spike over the course of the show. But I digress.
This list is for those bad guys that make you smile when they show up. I actually have trouble watching the first season of Buffy again. I just don’t want to wait a season for his introduction. The show seriously shot up a couple of stars when he showed up. And while I adored him as a good guy, I worshipped him as a villain.