Posted: 23 Oct 2012 03:58 AM PDT
When it comes to vile and loathsome villainy, TV certainly isn't a wasteland.
VILLAINS are truly compelling to watch, aren't they? Especially when they're ordinary people (not monsters or aliens) who are driven by very basic and ordinary desires: power, money, control … you know, things you and I sometimes think about.
Over the years we've seen many villains on TV in varying degrees of "evilness". In my mind, a character like Wilhelmina Slater (Vanessa Williams) on Ugly Betty isn't really a villain; she's a problem.
Then we have Stewie Griffin of Family Guy. Stewie is a lot more disturbing than Wilhelmina – he's a one-year-old on steroids who wants to kill his mother, for goodness' sake. Here are a couple of my favourite (that's a funny word) villains whom I love to hate.
The first is Roman Grant, the prophet (aka polygamist leader) of Juniper Creek on the TV show Big Love. He is, perhaps, one of the vilest and most morally reprehensible characters I've come across on the small screen in a while.
Usually, TV villains have at least one redeeming quality about them: maybe it's the love they have for a pet or a child or something. Even Stewie has some redeeming qualities: he does show some compassion to his sister Megan. Sometimes, at least.
But Grant has absolutely no redeeming qualities and actor Harry Dean Stanton (at 82), does an excellent job in making him look as hateful as he behaves.
Grant excommunicates and expels a potential rival from the commune, Bill (Bill Paxton) - the grandson of his former leader. Grant is a megalomaniac who will stop at nothing in his quest for power and this includes manipulating the lives of his children (he has 31 children from 14 wives).
But my No 1 TV villain of the moment has to be Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) from Game of Thrones. Joffrey started off as a whiny, lying, spiteful spoilt brat who was heir to the throne. When King Robert Baratheon dies from a hunting injury, Joffrey ascends the throne.
As King of Westeros, he is still spiteful (in fact, more so), and just as whiny, smug and spoilt ... also, incredibly lily-livered. Yes, he is cowardly and pathetic and makes up for it by being a really wicked ruler. His reign is cruel and sadistic, and begins with numerous executions (just for the sport of it) such as that of Ned Stark (Sean Bean … weep!) in a pathetic show of authority.
Joffrey is not King Robert's son but the product of incest between his mother Cersei (Lena Headey) and her twin brother Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau).
Cersei thoroughly spoilt the boy, resulting in his gigantic (unwarranted) sense of self-worth. He sees himself as a great king though he is nothing but a weak coward with great power.
Game Of Thrones has more than its fair share of villainous characters but Joffrey's on top of my list. Having not read the books, I can only hope he gets what he deserves – payback in spades! – S.I.
** BAD guys on TV... I'm trying to think of some and it's strangely difficult, possibly because on weekly crime dramas (my staple TV diet), the bad guy usually changes and is brought to justice within the hour-long episode. Although, every now and then there are recurring characters like Arthur Miller aka the Trinity Killer (played murderously well by John Lithgow) or the Ice Truck Killer (Mark Sanchez) on Dexter: both of them were psychopathic serial killers, as was Nate Haskell (Bill Irwin) in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. And while they were only on TV for short stints at most, they remain fresh in the mind as bad guys with gumption. What makes a bad guy good to watch?
Take True Blood's Russell Edgington, for example. Once the vampire king of Mississippi, this 3,000-year-old fella is probably the oldest and most powerful vampire in Bon Temps. He's crazy and it took more than a whole tentful of fairies to finally get rid of the guy, but he sure gave us something to remember in terms of a creepy, you-don't-want-to-mess-with-this-dude-ever performance.
Then there are the "bad guys" like Mr Burns on The Simpsons. Charles Montgomery "Monty" Burns is the kind of boss everyone loathes. Ably voiced by Harry Shearer, Mr Burns is only interested in wealth and power and doesn't give two hoots about his employees, one of whom is Homer. And as lazy and obnoxious as Homer is, you just got to empathise sometimes when his boss makes a mockery of him.
One of my favourite bad girls, ahem, is Number Six (Tricia Helfer in the Battlestar Galactica reboot). One of 12 Cylons, Number Six is a humanoid version who is extra seductive, and she basically works as a double agent or infiltrator. When you're faced with a bad girl like that, what chance do you have really?
Sylar Gray (Zachary Quinto in Heroes) was another quite outstanding villain. A hateful mutant, Sylar was able to make your blood curdle, with his vile ways and icy glare, and Quinto personified the role with malevolent flair.
And that's about all I have for this episode. Oh wait, do Skeletor (He-man And The Masters Of The Universe) and Mumm-ra (Thundercats) count as villains? What about the Hash-slinging Slasher (Spongebob Squarepants)? If you haven't yet watched it, catch the Graveyard Shift which finds Squidward and SpongeBob working late into the night at the Krusty Krab, and Squidward tells SpongeBob the story of the fictional "Hash-slinging Slasher" ... which suddenly then becomes reality. It's way cool. – AMC
|You are subscribed to email updates from The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio |
To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe now.
|Email delivery powered by Google|
|Google Inc., 20 West Kinzie, Chicago IL USA 60610|