Television provides a stage for some villains to shine. A compelling villain can often elevate a show from good to great, and many of them send shivers down our spines. Here’s our ranking of the 8 best TV villains of all time:
8. Wilson Fisk – Daredevil
Wilson Fisk’s appearances on ‘Daredevil‘ and ‘Hawkeye‘ introduced us to a man scarred by a tumultuous past that was marked by traumatic incidents, such as his father’s violent outburst. According to the series’ executive producer Steven DeKnight, Vincent D’Onofrio’s portrayal added emotional depth to the character as well.
7. Homelander – The Boys
With a demeanor ranging between maniacal and empathetic, Homelander has left fans at the edge of their seats. His unpredictability, whether it’s his quirks or his ruthless actions, is a central feature of the character. As a reflection of the chaotic superhero genre, he embodies the darker aspects of superhuman commercialization.
6. Villanelle – Killing Eve
Villanelle in ‘Killing Eve’ is a character who combines various traits ranging from humor to threat, resulting in moments that range from comedic to shocking. Her interactions with the protagonist, Eve, played by Sandra Oh, add depth and conflict to the narrative.
5. Hannibal Lecter – Hannibal
Previously explored in films, Hannibal Lecter finds another perspective in the TV series ‘Hannibal.’ Mads Mikkelsen’s portrayal in the series introduced audiences to a character possessing charisma, intelligence, and menace. Hannibal’s relationship with Will Graham further enriches the storyline, and Mikkelsen’s rendition of the character somehow resonates with viewers.
4. Cersei Lannister – Game of Thrones
Always multiple steps ahead, Cersei’s expertise in manipulation sets her apart from other antagonists. Beyond the violence, it’s her strategic mind that has kept fans hooked. Her maneuvers to navigate the political landscape of Westeros remind us of Tywin Lannister’s advice: ‘Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.’
3. Jim Moriarty – Sherlock
BBC’s ‘Sherlock’ introduced a modernized version of Arthur Conan Doyle’s nemesis, Jim Moriarty. Played by Andrew Scott, Moriarty’s cold demeanor, paired with his unpredictable behavior, provides a counterpart to the series’ protagonist, Sherlock Holmes.
2. Gustavo Fring – Breaking Bad
In ‘Breaking Bad,’ Gustavo Fring transitions from a business owner to a significant player in the story. Portrayed by Giancarlo Esposito, Gus is known for his composed demeanor, which masks an underlying ruthlessness. His strategic mindset and calculated decisions make him a great villain in the ‘Breaking Bad’ series.
1. Ramsay Bolton – Game of Thrones
Ramsay Bolton is a major antagonist both in the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ book series and its TV adaptation, ‘Game of Thrones.’ His malevolent acts, whether it’s torturing Theon Greyjoy or betraying allies, make him pure evil. Portrayed by Iwan Rheon, Ramsay’s methods of torture, manipulation, and strategic brutality draw attention to key plot developments in the series, but he’s much more worse in the books.