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January 28 2007

Entertainment Weekly's 10 greatest TV villains. Angelus comes in at no. 3 beating the likes of Twin Peaks' Leland Palmer and The One-Armed Man from The Fugitive.

Which begs the question "who's in your top tv villains list?"

Number 10's the most evil of them all, evil, evil b*stards!
Villians that have actually scared me:
1. The Borg
2. Angelus
Glory and The Mayor are my favourite Buffy villains. They both have that funny crazy person on the outside, terrifying psychotic on the inside thing going for them.

From other shows, Scorpius (Farscape) is a great villain. Very scary! I'd also vote for the Cylons from Battlestar Galactica. They freak me out.
Yeah, I would have added the Borg. And Cylons. And, of course, to #10, the "committee" that cancelled Firefly.
is it me but shouldn't dubya be ranked as well?
I think Wolfram and Hart should rank pretty high on the list.
Yep, I'm with palehorse, I wish he'd added Firefly to #10!
I would go with

1) The Mayor
2) DS9's Gul Dukat and Weyoun
3) Baal from Stargate SG1 (smoothy villain)
4) The Daleks
5) Boyd from Point Pleasant
6) Lilah, Lyndsey and Holland Manners.

To name but a few.
The real ones are way scarier than anything anyone can dream up. 'Cause they really can come and get you. Which is why #10 is the scariest on that list. The best fictional ones are the best metaphors for the real ones.
I think Wolfram and Hart is pretty damn scary; but then I'm a lawyer.

[ edited by toast on 2007-01-28 18:25 ]
Oh, and the Mayor is sensational.
i always thought jasmine was rather creepy....waaay too shiny and happy
For Angel, Holtz is quite high on my list. Initially you just feel so bad for him because of what Darla and Angelus did to his family. But by stealing Connor and brainwashing him was probably the most wicked act commited against Angel. Holtz wasn't a wizard or a god, he was just a man deeply scorned which shows how dangerous revenge is. I think that's what makes him so scary.
Oh and The Blue Hand guys, Jubal Early, Niska, Der Kindestod, Drusilla, Billy, the Scourge and that creepy kid from "I've Got You Under My Skin".

And David Boreanaz was so damn good as Angelus. He knocked that one out of the park.
For BtVS, Angelus was my #1 villain. Then Glory, The Mayor, and the Master were my other favorites.

[ edited by maje on 2007-01-28 18:46 ]
I just saw Pan's Labyrinth (go Doug Jones!) last week, and the Captain was one of the scariest villains I can remember... as for favorite, though, I think I'd have to go with the Mayor.
Al Swearengen. One of my favorite characters, period.
MySerenity...I agree. Holtz is by far the villain I find the scariest from the Buffyverse. Angelus is certainly up there, though. And I also have to second (or at this point, third or fourth) the Borg nomination.

But without question, the villain I find the scariest is Sean Patrick Flannery's Greg Stillson from the TV version of The Dead Zone. Reminds me a lot of John Edwards with his charming, clever folksiness.
For me Al Swearengen is the good guy, Cy Tolliver is the bad guy.
Scorpius from Farscape is a great villian.
Wolfram & Hart are exelent, and best of all is Lilah.
Hands of blue were great at killing every thing. Jubal Early was perfect.

But for the greatest villain I have to go back in time, in the exelent "I, Claudius" no one was as Evil as Livia (played by Siân Phillips) who killed all of her husband's descendants so her son will be Emperor.
And Caleb!
1. The Borg
2. Hands of Blue
3. Niska
4. Khan Noonien Singh
5. FOX.
Both Livias-I, Claudius and the Sopranos-way up there. Their self-deception is a really chilling contributing factor in the greatness of their villainy..I always wondered if the second was a tribute to the first one.

[ edited by toast on 2007-01-28 20:26 ]

[ edited by toast on 2007-01-28 21:43 ]
If they're going to include comedic villains, then I have to chime in with:

Siegfried - Get Smart
Boris Badanov - Rocky and Bullwinkle
Marvin the Martian - Bugs Bunny

And from the Buffyverse, I have a warm spot for Harmony and Andrew.
Andrew is my cuddlebunny and sooo hard to think of as a baddie anymore, 'specially after the comics preview. As for villainy villains....

1. Dark Willow
2. Vampire Willow
3. Glorificus
4. Faith (S3)
5. Drucilla

I like hot chicks with superpowers. Especially when their evil!
Yeah, FOX get's my vote too.
The Borg are up there cos that kind of unreasoning, impersonal, almost bureaucratic relentlessness is scary (as with proto-Borg, the Daleks). At least with guys like Scorpius you can come to understand him, even to some extent sympathise (especially towards the end of 'Farscape').

Angelus on the other hand did have a sort of relentless resolve but what made him such a great villain was the personal care he took executing his evil. He could always zero straight in on any weakness and exploit it to cause rifts (both intra and inter personal) like he had an instinct for the basest qualities in all of us.

Spike was a good villain, you believed his evil but you also found it entertaining but (possibly Angelus apart) the best 'verse villain has to be The Mayor for me. Harry Groener's brilliant balancing act between scarily mild mannered man of the people, all out evil and caring surrogate father for Faith just made him endless fun to watch as well as giving him that unpredictable edge that a lot of the best villains have.

Other notables: Cigarette Smoking Man (because he thought he was doing the right thing. I like the idea of villains that have basically the same ends in mind as the hero but are just willing to use unacceptable - to us - means to get there), Weyoun (Jeffrey Combs made you want to reach through the screen and throttle the smug little bastard ;), Jasmine (the whole 'invasion of the body snatchers' idea of being alone against everyone is pretty scary, and also because she actually makes a pretty good case for her way. Apart from, y'know, the eating people ;) and of course Khaaaannnnn ! (for sheer operatic, scenery chewing villainy and for indirectly causing both "Scotty, I need warp speed in 3 minutes or we're all dead !" and "I am, and always shall be, your friend". Awww ;).
For actually scary villians gotta go with Angelus, Caleb, Faith (when shes evil), and Holtz.
Scorpius and the Gentlemen are really the best as scary/bad villains, and I´ve always loved to hate Babylon 5´s Mr. Morden, but I like some funny or more rounded villains even more:
The magnificent mr. Burns, Weyoun (brilliantly played by Jeffrey Combs on the great ds9), Emily Gilmore, Angel´s Holtz, Buffy´s Spike, D´Hoffryn, Sweet and Holden Webster, and Firefly´s JoSaffBridge.
And Francis Urquhart. Oh how we cheered as he blackmailed, humiliated and murdered anyone he saw as a threat.
Well, you might as well think that, I couldn't possibly comment...except I remember Ian Richardson on the "House of Cards" trilogy, and he was great and scary. Thing is, in the original book, Urquhart died. The sequels started with the premise that it was the journalist he was having an affair with who killed herself.

[ edited by impalergeneral on 2007-01-28 21:54 ]

[ edited by impalergeneral on 2007-01-28 21:58 ]
Nobody's voting for Jim Profit?
Newman!? Newman's like an annoying gnat next to the other villains folks here have suggested, that were not on the list.

Even though I was heartbroken at the time, I'm very partial to Stephen McHattie's villain, Gabriel, on Beauty and the Beast, who had Lance Henriksen as one of his uber minions, Snow.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2007-01-28 22:45 ]
Angelus and Faith (in her bad old days), because the intimate enemy provides the greatest test and revelation of character. (I think I read that in a book.)

Here's hoping Season 8 brings some baaaaaaddd slayers.

ETA: Or any other cool thing from the mind O'Whedon.

[ edited by Pointy on 2007-01-29 00:08 ]
One of the creepiest villians, IMO, was the Doctor in "I Fall To Pieces". An Uber-stalker. He gave me the heebiest of jeebies.

I think because that's the way stalkers in real life feel. You know the "If I can't have you, NOONE will have you" frame of mind. Yikes. Too real.
Of all the Buffyverse bads, Angelus and yes, Caleb top my list.

I had such a negative reaction to Caleb I put off watching Firefly for awhile. Dumb, I know, but in those pre-Whedonesque days I didn't realize I detested him because of his damn fine acting. I thought I just detested him period. Thanks to this site, I popped in my first Firefly DVD and fell in luuuuuurve with Nathan during the first few minutes of "Serenity". Around the time Bendis was shot. I've had nothing but love for NF ever since.

Angelus? DB proved his acting chops. He OWNED that role.

Biggest evil on the list: The cancellation committees, of course. Freaks and Geeks was pure gold.
Angelus rates really highly on my personal list, but I'd have to go with Scorpius from Farscape as my all-time favorite villain.

Other faves would be Jim Profit from Profit, Al Swearengen from Deadwood, Gul Dukat from Deep Space Nine, and Tony Soprano.
I think The Gentlemen are much scarier, but for strictly long-term villains Angelus is the top of the Whedonverse for me.

For non-Verse? Lucas Buck in American Gothic. He was creepier than Angelus, eviler than Angelus (hey, the Devil!), and (sorry, David) hotter than Angelus. ;-D

And I found an old 411mania column that agreed with me on The Gentleman!
I have to add Warren to the list. Human evil, the scariest to me.
Yes, Angelus. I have other favourite Whedon villains--the Mayor, Glory (when handled particularly well), Dark Willow, Warren, the Gentlemen, Drusilla, Faith, and Billy Fordham from Buffy, Lindsey, Lilah, Holland and W&H generally, plus Holtz and Jasmine from Angel, plus Hands of Blue and Jubal and Niska (and Patience!) from Firefly. But Angelus is the most iconic villain that Joss has created for TV--not necessarily the most complex, or even the most meaningful, but the one that catipulted the show from a good one to a great one.

I totally agree with Mr. Burns and Newman for the comic ones on the list; I unfortunately haven't seen most of those shows so I can't comment on the others. But I agree with the mentions of the Borg and the Cigarette Smoking Man and Dukat and Weyoun from DS9.

Can I add in #2 from The Prisoner, even if he was different every week? And can't forget Chris Finch from The Office (British).

From recent TV, I'd say the Cylons from BSG (natch), as well as Rudy from Dexter, and both the season-ender-revealed killers from seasons one and two from Veronica Mars.
I love humorous villains (like Dr. Loveless) as well as the nasty. One of my favorites was Q on ST:TNG.

And let us not forget Dr. Smith on Lost in Space.
For me, the creepiest villain by far in the Buffyverse is Gnarl. Skin-eating bastard.

The scariest, though, might be bad Cordy, because she gave us the darkest moment on either Angel or Buffy, the moment when Connor drags off an innocent young woman to be butchered by the pregnant Cordelia. No coming back from that without a whole lot of forgetting.

My favourite villain right now is Dr. Gaius Baltar from Battlestar Galactica, probably because though much of the time he's so self-serving and evil he can also be extraordinarily sympathetic and funny. He's human because he can rarely see the consequences of his actions: he's not a moustache-twirling villain hatching evil plans to further some goal, he's just trying to survive, and watching him try can be hilarious and touching.
Re Fillion as Caleb. I don't know that I'd say Caleb was a great villain, in that a) his reign was short-lived, and b) he was only The First's middle man. Caleb had no power of his own; he was a dirty little, self-loathing sycophant who could only allow himself to get it on at all, with a supernatural power. Fillion played the role with great relish but I just hated that guy. His misogyny was so disgusting that I wanted him dead, dead, dead as soon as writer-ly possible (and of course it was fitting that Joss wrote the episode [Chosen]that finally got Caleb scythed in half).
Jordan Levin, after him all others are sudo-evil.
For sheer creepy I'd go with Gnarl because Willow was so helpless. But for humans, yes, Warren. It took me a very long time to separate the actor from the role and I gather that many still cannot.
For sheer entertainment value, the Mayor.
And just recently, the cop on House has had me cursing his appearance. Which is interesting because I don't think he was all bad, or even meant to be.
Arvin Sloane of "Alias" and Henry Gale/Benjamin Linus of "Lost" are two of my favorite villains even if they're really good guys.
Arvin Sloane is a good guy?! He's kinda responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people... :P
I'm gonna just go with the truly scary and not the funny scary - I like them, but in a different way.

My biggest villains:

Angelus - at his worst, he's so scary that I occasionally kinda sorta forget that the same actor plays Angel.

Bad Faith - what a great moniker. She's especially villainous when she tortures Wes in Angel.

Caleb - in "Dirty Girls" especially. That fake, chummy, caring... Loathesome and frightening...

Evil Willow - 'cause almost nothing's worse than a friend gone bad. Maybe, as Pointy says, 'cause of the intimacy...

Jubal Early - 'specially since he terrified our Kaylee. Boo, hiss.

The Gentlemen - Euw, euw, euw.

Wolfram and Hart - Corporate villains are too true-to-life.

Jasmine - 'cause, as buffyfanatic18 says, of the shiny and the happy. And the koolaid.

Only Whedon-'verse villains have really scared me as an adult (except for most of our politicians, who scare me each and every day.) As a child, I was frightened mainly by The Wicked Witch of the West. These days, I identify with her.

What a world, what a world...
It is true that Jasmine puts us up against that age old question. Would you sacrifice a few for the good of many?
I can't include Bad Willow myself because I ached for her too much but yes, I should have included Angelus in my list because he was so good at evil. Took such pleasure in it.
"Even though I was heartbroken at the time, I'm very partial to Stephen McHattie's villain, Gabriel, on Beauty and the Beast, who had Lance Henriksen as one of his uber minions, Snow."
Totally agree Tonya, Gabriel was so creepy and Snow was awesome. The final fight between Vincent and Snow I can still remember, what? 18 years later?

"Jordan Levin, after him all others are sudo-evil."
RavenU, I really agree.

Angelus, Spike and Dru when they first came to town, Gnarl, but the Gentlemen were the scariest of the Buffyverse to me. That scene when they are cutting out that guys heart and he can't scream is terrifying. The stuff of nightmares for sure.

I have to admit I was a little creeped out when I heard that "Tara" was dating "Warren" in real life. As I matter of fact I had a hard time warming up to Ted on Alyson's new show because he reminded me of Warren.
But I didn't find him scary as much as I just hated him. Same with Caleb. Just wanted him to die.
Totally agree Tonya, Gabriel was so creepy and Snow was awesome. The final fight between Vincent and Snow I can still remember, what? 18 years later?

Xane, 20 years since the first season, 1987. And I am still in love with that show. Sadly, only the first season is on DVD (Elliott Burch and Paracelsus were also great villains).
Tonya J, the entire series comes out on dvd in February. ska-wee!
Whoo-Hoo! Thanks.

I know when I'm a really old biddy, I'll still be pulling out my Buffy Chosen collection and popping discs in the DVD player.

Now if only an Angel U.S. collection would be released ... Whistles innocently.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2007-01-29 04:01 ]
Oooooooooh Villains! I don’t post to much but you have to love villains. Got to make a list. It’s hard to pick a favorite so this is in no particular order.
1. Gull Dukat and Weyoun are awesome characters but the changelings take the cake for me as for as trek goes. They caused such paranoia in that series that forced some real violations of the holier than thou righteousness that the Federation and Star trek in general holds so dear. That and they were just scary, the example that springs to mind is when Garek asked the female changeling If there were any survivors from the romulan cardasian attack on there home world.
Founder : “Cardassian Survivors?”
Garak : “Yes.”
Founder : “There were no Cardassian Survivors.”
Garak : “You mean, they’re all dead?”
Founder : “They’re dead. You’re dead. Cardassia is dead. Your people were doomed the moment they attacked us. I believe that answers your question.”
Great stuff.
2. The new Cylons for much of the same reasons I like the changelings so much. Plus you can’t really kill them which is so frustrating in a good way.
3. John Doe from Seven, Kevin Spacey rules!
4. Scorpius from farscape. Completely Justified evil. At least in my opinion.
5. Lord Humongous from the road warrior, no particular reason, I just like busting into his “just walk away” speech at random…. God I’m a Dork.
6. The Operative, for the same reasons I like Scorpius.
7. The Mayor, for obvious reasons.
8. Aaron Echols form Veronica Mars, I just wanted to cave that guys head in. What a Bastard.
9. Ares from Hercules and more so on Xena, For that matter let toss Caesar as another one form that show, come to think of it Xena had a ton of great Villains.
10. Al Swearengen. I know he’s not really a villain, But he’s not a good guy either. But that character is one of the most freighting and loveable characters ever.

The borg would have made the list if I t wasn’t for Voyager completely making then toothless
I have to say that the EW list is particularly light on evil, IMO. (I'll also admit -- I'm not familiar with all the names on their list.) Some of these EW villains were just nasty, or irritating, rather than in a league with Angelus, Jubal Early, Niska, The Mayor, The Borg, etc. I mean, torturing a man to death to "meet the real you," or threatening to rape our Kaylee if she doesn't cooperate or cheerfully saying gosh and gee while explaining how you're going to convert into a snake that will eat everyone in an entire town or absorbing the minds of all your enemies while leaving them alive, versus releasing the hounds if someone comes on your property? No contest! Our list is much villainy-er! ;-)

Also, the peeps who cancelled Arrested Development might be the same peeps who cancelled Firefly, so they might already be on the list. If not -- the Firefly-cancellers go to number 1! ;-)

And, if they included movie villains, my number 1 might be The Operative. He was so -- reasonable with explaining why he slaughtered innocent adults and children. *shudders*
Not on the list -
Jim Profit (another boner move by Fox was killing Profit)
Lucas Buck from American Gothic
Kronos on Highlander
Cancer Man on X Files
Krycek on X Files
I bet there's hardly anyone old enough here to remember Diana on V
For non-whedonverse characters, Gary Oldman's portrayal of "Stansfield" the corrupt detective in "The Professional" ranks high on my list. The back crunching, pill taking was super creepy-cool. And he was a great villain in "Fifth Element" too.

In the Whedonverse, The Gentlemen, The Mayor, Glory (I liked her tantrums), Angelus (In Buffy), Caleb, but for full-on, fun evil over a longish term: The Spike/Drusilla combo.
Not in the Whedonverse, but Sylar belongs in there somewhere. Angelus, Niska, Gul Dukat & Weyoun, the Borg, Arvin Sloan, Caleb, Cigarette Smoking Man, Aaron Echolls, and Henry Gale all belong on there, too.
Beauty and the Beast is coming out on DVD? Oh man, I never thought I would see the day. I put myself on a notification list years ago.
What's this about the first season being out already? Trust me, I have searched!
And yeah Paracelsus was great too, but Elliot Burch, I never really saw him as a bad guy. I loved him, as long as he kept his mitts off Catherine.
I bet there's hardly anyone old enough here to remember Diana on V

Those shoulder pads STILL give me nightmares. *shudder*
Yes, but how many villains can unhinge their jaw to eat a live rat?

Xane, I saw Season 1 at Amazon dot com, but check this link out:

TV DVD Collectors
Thanks you Tonya!
And yeah, that rat thing was gross.
Gonna go for Time in Sapphire and Steel. It might just have been a small light being shone on some stairs, but it was the evilest small light of the most sadistic intent you ever saw.
I don't think Monty Burns' evil is as simple as releasing the hounds if someone comes onto his property. He's the representation of the evils of corporate America rolled into a cartoon. He knows that his plant causes mutations, he knows that there's every chance people are dying from what he's doing, and we get moments like this:

Mr. Burns: "I'm not that different from Oskar Schindler! We both made munitions for the Nazis, but mine *worked*, dammit!"

Like Mr. Potter from It's a Wonderful Life, one of his forerunners (who was something like #5 on the American Film Institute's top villains), it doesn't matter if he's less physically threatening, or even less personally threatening. He does a lot more damage to a lot more lives than someone like Jubal did.
imo twin peaks had a few of the creepiest characters/ best villains ever: not leland palmer (he's just evil and crazy), but leo johnson (throughout the series) and especially nadine hurley (the drape)! or another alltime-favorite: catherine packard-martell! just great! but maybe I'm in the wrong forum for that...
Since no one's mentioned it yet, I'll say the Devil from Brimstone. I love villians that are fun, not just scary.
Besides the obvious, Angelus, Spike, and the Gentleman, beyond the Buffyverse:
1) Nicholas Cage and John Travolta as Caster Troy in Face/Off. I'm sorry but the good guy character was boring in comparison to Caster Troy
2) Denzel Washington as Alonzo in Training Day

I remember V. I loved it!
Who can remember Barnabus Collins?
Barnabas, the original Vampire with a Soul. He was so broody and tortured. Sound like anyone we know?
Jim Fenner in Bad Girls is the creepiest that comes to mind. Not favourite at all, though. He kind of makes me feel helpless --- I basically can't watch the show because of him.
Angelus will always be my all time favorite television villian. He was dark, sexy and sinister. Joss really brought out the angst with that storyline. David Boreanaz was born to play that role. Whoever said he owned it, was dead on right.

Other favorites:

The Master and Luke. Pretty creepy.
The Gentlemen.
Faith and The Mayor.
Bob from Twin Peaks.
That creepy monkey from Twin Peaks.
Abby from Knots Landing (Anybody remember her?) Scary scary woman.
Henry on Lost is pretty darn creepy too.
I can't decide if I'm upset Dr. Loveless ranked so low or glad because, well, by comaprison to soem of those others he was quite a charming fellow. Rest in peace, Michael.

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