Who Are TV’s Most Infamous Recent Anti-Hero Characters

We’re not talking Mr Burns or The Daleks here.

The distinction between hero and villain was once easily recognizable. Heroes were, most popularly, associated with good while villains waded through the realm of evil. Over time more characters began to blur the lines drawn between protagonist and antagonist, turning the dichotomy into something that is less distinguishable. The classification system of who is good or bad began to crumble as characters who did not-so-right things for not-so-wrong reasons emerged on-screen.

Television is now rampant with characters that people hate to love. They implore viewers to see reason in their imperfections, beauty in their flaws and, ultimately, light in their dark. Contrary to what Taylor Swift surmises in her song “Anti-Hero” it isn’t exhausting rooting for these characters. Here’s a look at some of the most infamous anti-heroes on television.

10 Moriarty (Sherlock)

Professor James Moriarty was a staple of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes anthology. Andrew Scott’s take on this iconic character in Sherlock was one for the ages.

Sherlock‘s Moriarty captured the best parts of Conan Doyle’s original character. At his best, this character is an equal match to Sherlock Holmes’ mind. This battle of wills and constant push-pull translated particularly well in Sherlock.

Scott’s Moriarty was just so delightfully bizarre. His humor and chaos balanced perfectly with the horror he created throughout the BBC ministry. Even when the rest of Sherlock felt stale, this version of Moriarty never did.

9 Dan Scott (One Tree Hill)

One Tree Hill fans remember the visceral hate for this character in the best possible way. Even in a dream-sequence episode, Dan Scott was just the absolute worst in every way.

Every interaction with his family was filled with angst and resentment. Although One Tree Hill was filled with moments of redemption, Dan Scott always remained the one character to root against.

The evil embodied by Dan Scott is a banal one. At his core, he was a neglectful father who displayed a stunning entitlement complex. He’s a perfectly ordinary villain (

8 Damon Salvatore-The Vampire Diaries

The Vampire Diaries was made swoon-worthy when wholesome Stefan Salvatore graced the screen as Elena Gilbert’s love interest. But when his mischievous, raven-haired brother Damon was introduced, the success of the show was sealed.

Whether it was compelling humans to do his bidding or his devil-may-care attitude, fans fell for the anti-hero of Mystic falls. Viewers endured his chaotic personality for a glimpse of humanity— that is, if he hadn’t already turned it off.

7 Klaus Mikaelson- The Originals

The Originals’ supreme vampire-werewolf, Klaus, was the head honcho of the Mikaelson clan whose love language was daggering his siblings until they learned not to cross him.

Viewers followed Klaus’ vindictive pursuits for revenge as he made all in New Orleans fear him. His maniacal, sociopathic tendencies were overlooked because of his daddy issues, and the occasional tear he would shed right after ripping someone’s throat out.

6 Fiona Gallagher- Shameless

Fiona, the head runt of runts on Shameless, had a way of earning viewer’s trust in one episode only to lose it the next. While Fiona tried to atone for Frank Gallagher’s negligence as a father, she ended up mirroring him in more ways than one.

Despite her substance abuse, incessant infidelity or being responsible for her baby brother’s cocaine use, viewers hoped that Fiona would eventually get her life together.

5 Annalise Keating- How To Get Away With Murder

Annalise Keating was the mother hen of the dysfunctional troupe of law students on How To Get Away With Murder.

Viewers watched as her students, her on-and of-again lover Nate and even the truth about actual murders all came second to her image. It all could be swept under rug, though, because any student who didn’t oppose her got to assist her on cases.

4 Dexter Morgan- Dexter

The crime drama Dexter introduced eponymous anti-hero, Dexter Morgan, the onscreen precursor that birthed television viewers’ infatuation with serial killer documentaries.

It was easy to excuse the handsome, forensic technician from his side-gig as a serial killer, because he was just doing what his victims had already done: killing people.

3 Blair Waldorf- Gossip Girl

While the teen drama Gossip Girl centered its attention around blonde demoiselle, Serena van der Woodsen, it was Blair Waldorf’s character that truly gave the show’s main protagonist an incredible foil. Viewers became accustomed to the expiration date on the brunette’s kindness because according to her, “You can’t make people love you, but you can make them fear you.”

Blair’s conniving ways paired with her heart-on-sleeve vulnerability made her a complexity that secured her crown in the Upper East Side as anti-heroine.

2 Walter White/Heisenberg – Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad gave viewers Walter White, a high school chemistry-teacher-turned- drug-lord who adopted the alias “Heisenberg”. Walter’s journey was enough to attract sympathy as he was an underpaid teacher, whose revelation of having cancer— and growing family size— prompts him to get into the drug business.

As Walter’s character grew darker and more sinister throughout the series, it was difficult to forget that this anti-hero’s intentions began as somewhat noble.

1 Tony Soprano

When The Sopranos debuted on HBO, it introduced the fragrant essence of an anti-hero: Tony Soprano. The series leading character exposed viewers to the core of American mobster culture.

While Tony Soprano was ruthlessly untrusting, unapologetically racist and homophobic, the mobster also went to therapy. Even if he couldn’t help himself from “whacking” someone, at least the series saw him try to help himself in every session with his psychiatrist, Dr. Melfi.

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Stevie Flavio
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