Where would some of our favorite TV shows be without the villains? On sitcoms we call them “characters we love to hate”, but in action and drama there is no hiding it. They are villains. They are out only for themselves with no regard for who they step on along the way. Here now are five of my favorite TV villains. You will notice they all have one thing in common, charm.

#5. Boss Hogg (The Dukes of Hazard)

Before someone says it, yes Roscoe was probably more fun but he wasn’t really evil I think he was just a pushover. Boss Hogg was one of the most enjoyable villain’s ever I think. When I was a kid I watched Dukes for the car chases and Daisy Duke, but you had to love Boss Hog. He was greedy, unethical, and was always chomping on his cigars. Sorrell Booke did such a great job with the character that he almost stole the show. If Boss Hogg were a character on Star Trek he would have been Quark, just a greedy guywho would do anything for profit even if it was illegal. Deep down he probablywasn’t a bad guy, his lust for greed just took over. He hates the Dukes becausethey are always getting in the way of his schemes, and his scenes with Roscoeon that show were some of the funniest.

#4. Lex Luthor (Lois & Clark/Smallville)
Since there was no way to decide between the two I chose to sort of make it a tie. On Lois & Clark John Shea created a Lex Luthor who was a nasty billionaire who controlled the city and loved every second of it.He was afraid of nothing, and when he decided he wanted something he took it.That included Lois Lane. He hated Superman because he was supposed to be themost powerful man in the city, and was determined to kill him no matter who or what got in the way. On Smallville,Michael Rosenbaum created a different spin on the character. Since this showwas about Clark Kent’s beginnings we got a real insight into Luthor what makes this guy a true villain. In the start he and Clark Kent are friends. But as the seriesprogresses their lives diverged. We see how Luthor’s growing lust for power causes him to work to discover Clark’s secret, and leads him down the path to the evil megalomaniac he would become. He did anything for power from tricking Lana to marrying him to killing his own father. It’s not hard to imagine Rosenbaum’sLuthor turning into Shea’s at some point. Luthor is a great villain and evenwhen played horribly (Kevin Space *cough cough*) he is still menacing and evil.

#3. Dr. Romano (ER)

It may be a tad unfair to call this guy evil. But what a magnificent bastard this guy was. I’m serious! He was mean, cold, and didn’t care who he offended. Paul McCrane did such a good job with this guy that fans started hating the actor, who is really a nice enough guy. The list of the horrible things about this guy could go on all day. He was rude, bigoted, insensitive,and so on. They finally killed the character off in a memorable episode involving a helicopter, and afterward no one mourned him at all except Dr.Corday. He was a good doctor, I will grant that, but man what a jackass he was to people. He only cared abouth himself and insulted others without any concern. The reason why he was tolerated is because once in awhile we did get glimpses behind the gruff exterior. There was a real person in there and once in awhile he would lethis guard down and show his real self. But those times were rare; he was just aclass A Jerk! For instance he not only fired Dr.Benton, but blacklisted the guy so he couldn’t get another ob and forced him to crawl back to Romano and accepta horrible positiion.

#2. Q (Star Trek-The Next Generation)

There were many things wrong with Star Trek-TNG when it first premiered. The one thing they got right was the villainous Q, played superbly by John DeLancie. Q was an omnipotent being who, in the pilot, put the crew on trial for crimes against humanity. He was so popular that he came back later that same season, and then six or seven times after that. Oh sure not all his episode were gold, anyone remember “Q-Pid?” Q was mean, sadistic,had a warped sense of humor and (sorry Janeway) was a huge liar who would do anything, from throwing the Enterprise in front of a Borg cube to killing ayoung girl if so ordered. And even when he was stripped of his powers, he was still fun to watch. The final episode couldn’t have included anyone else, and that episode is the perfect Q appearance because we see all his sides. His evil menacing side, his humorous lighthearted side, and even his softer side as he shows he does care about Picard and what happens to him. Like Data once pointed out, Q’s relationship to Picard was analogous to a master and his beloved pet.Q also appeared in Voyager, but his character got damaged with each appearance.

#1. J.R. Ewing (Dallas)

I have never watched Dallas. Ever. Not once. Never watched the show growing up. Never watched the reunions or re-runs. Never watched the new version currently running. In that case, why is J.R. #1 on my list? Let me tell you a story from 1980. At the end of Season 3 J.R. ends up getting shot. By who? Well that was the question everyone wanted to know, and in the first prime time cliffhanger thousands of fans were left wondering Who Shot JR? And people were crazy obsessed about this, there we even betting pools in Vegas taking odds on who did it. When the answer was finally revealed it was watched in record numbers, it was the most watched TV program ever at the time. The point to this is that while I never actually watched Dallas, I am very familiar with this character by virtue of how famous this guyis. Larry Hagman created a character so nasty, so mean, and yet so ultimately likeable that people watched the show just to see him. He was a Texas oil man and all he cared about was money and he didn’t care who he stepped on to get, including his own family. Everyepisode he would smile that sinister smile and people hated him, and couldn’tget enough. He set a standard which inspired other notable villains, including Joan Collins’ Alexis from Dynasty. Larry Hagman passed away a few months ago,but he left behind a powerful legacy as one of, if not the, most famous TV villains to ever exist.

Lots of villains I am sure a I missed, including Gul Dukart (DS9), Ben Linus (Lost), and Mr.Burns (The Simpsons). You could argue that last one isn’t a villain but they did do a Who Shot JR? parody with him so why not? If you think Ioverlooked someone who should be here please comment and let me know.

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