Television’s had more than its fair share of villains. Where movies have antagonists - bad guys that exist to face off against the protagonist over two hours and three acts of cinematic back-and-forth - TV has the time to bring us complex, nuanced rascals, reprobates and ruffians with story arcs independent of whatever the white hats are up to.
But the advent of the internet - and especially social media - has meant that every fan of a TV show now has a platform to say exactly who they hate the most and why, and a community to share that perspective with… and over the last ten or fifteen years, the results have been more than a little surprising.
Villains like JR Ewing in Dallas or Theodore ‘T-Bag’ Bagwell in Prison Break are terrible, terrible people that actually have fans rooting for them, cheering on their worst excesses. They’re heels you love to hate, so much so that you barely hate them at all. Meanwhile, on many occasions it’s the heroes that are vilified.
In the twenty-first century, you don’t need to be the bad guy to get booed, and TV’s writers and producers don’t have a handle on who the television audience decides to despise anymore.
This article covers the most hated, loathed characters in television, based purely upon fan responses. Some are genuine bast*rds, some are misunderstood heroes; some are the victims of poor writing, others martyrs to chauvinism… oh, and here be spoilers, for those of you that care about such things. Check out the video version below, and then click next to read on with the rest of the article.