Gone are the days of black and white characters. For a while now, we have been blessed with complex beings on our screen. And more than often, even in these ‘villainous’ characters we find something to relate, something to empathise about.
Dwight Schrute (The Office)
The eccentric Dwight Schrute played the perfect foil to Jim and fit in weirdly with the dysfunctional team at Dunder & Mifflin’s Scranton branch. He would often be a pain in the ass but as the seasons progressed we saw a different side of him, without the show making any essential changes to who he was as a person.
Jim Moriarty (Sherlock)
Moriarty had no redeeming quality. He was evil through and through. But he was the perfect villain to the almighty Sherlock Holmes. Hell, he even made sure Sherlock suffered long after he was dead.
And the man is just gorgeous!
Louis Litt (Suits)
Louis started off a stingy man with distinct tastes and was always in competition with Harvey. But as the show progressed we witnessed a side of him that was not only fiercely loyal but also would do anything to save the firm.
Sandor Clegane (Game of Thrones)
When we first saw the Hound, he just seemed like one of the Lannister lackeys just like his brother. But the show has a history of amazing character developments and they had the best in store for the younger Clegane.
With his love of chicken and his hate of fire and Lannisters alike, he became one of our favourite characters on the show. And there is not one person who wouldn’t want him killing the Mountain when the show returns!
Erik Killmonger (Black Panther)
Killmonger was quite honestly the best villain MCU had till Thanos popped in. He was of the Wakandan royal family but suffered racism growing up in America. He did try to kill T’Challa but his cause was just; the liberation of black people everywhere.
Ser Jaime Lannister (Game of Thrones)
Jaime Lannister has done some terrible things and he has done some heroic things. But in the world of GoT, he will always be remembered as the Kingslayer.
We all hated Jaime in the beginning. But then we found out that the biggest mistake of his life was that he killed a king who wanted to burn the entire city.
Loki (Marvel Cinematic Universe)
Hearts stopped in the theatres when Thanos choked the life out of the God of mischief at the beginning of Infinity War. Loki has done some terrible things in the MCU. From the battle of New York to taking over Asgard to faking his death multiple times, Loki has betrayed Thor many times.
But he loved his brother, his mother and even his father. He loved Asgard. He just wanted to grow out of Thor’s shadow and rule his people as the true king. And honestly, he would have made a better king than Thor anyway.
Niklaus Mikaelson (The Vampire Diaries/ The Originals)
When he was introduced in The Vampire Diaries, Klaus was the most powerful creature to have ever lived, and he was evil. He slaughtered some of the fan favourite characters within days of arriving.
But soon we found out that he was just a deeply tormented soul, desperately looking for a family he could truly call his own after his own parents had hunted him for a 1000 years.
Severus Snape (Harry Potter)
For 6 books and 7 films, Severus Snape was the bad guy who bullied Potter and his friends, was friends with a bunch of racists and had killed Dumbledore. But in the final few moments of the last book, we know how pure his love for Lily was.
That kind of love is mad and rare but it lasts forever. And it did.
Pablo Escobar (Narcos)
Mind you, Escobar was a horrible person. Even the show’s adaptation of him shows him doing some terrible things and we are not supposed to like him.
But the show also tells us the story of a self-made man who came from nothing and loved his family to the bitter end. Who knows how he would have turned out to be if he wasn’t forced to resign from the parliament?
Darth Vader/ Anakin Skywalker (Star Wars)
Darth Vader is the best villain in the history of villains. Screw everything else, this dude ruled over a galaxy for well over two decades and defeated armies all by himself. But as we later find out in the prequels, Vader wasn’t evil but a victim of it.
He won many battles for the Jedis only to be shunned time and again. He was ruled by heart and not by reason unlike his Jedi brethren, which ultimately led to his fall.
Erik Lensherr/ Magneto (X-Men)
As a child, Erik Lensherr was forced to watch his mother die at a Nazi concentration camp. He watched his mutant brothers and sisters face discrimination and persecution due to their unique abilities.
In the X-Men universe, mutants were the next stage of human evolution, which meant that homo sapiens would naturally go extinct in the presence of a superior species. Magneto understood that. And unlike Charles Xavier, wanted to claim the world for his brethren.
Cersei Lannister (Game of Thrones)
Everyone hates Cersei. She is a horrible person, right? But if we skip past the murder and mayhem, as many of us already have, we witness a human side of her. She is a strong woman, who fiercely loves all those she calls family and protects them.
She fights her enemies with great cunning and is one of the smartest characters on the show. And boy, the way she separated religion and governance! Preach, sister, preach!
Kaleen Bhaiya (Mirzapur)
Pankaj Tripathi could play the worst guy on earth and we would end up loving him. That’s exactly what has happened in this case. Kaleen Bhaiya is a terrible person but he is a damn good bad guy! He is cold and calculated and is the most strategically brilliant character on the show
Wilson Fisk (Daredevil)
Fisk is an unholy mix of endless patience, cunning and brute strength. And yet for a man of such qualifications, he is pure of heart when it comes to the one he truly loves. His goal is to save the city but rebuilding it in his image.
He gets defeated once, gets thrown in jail. But makes the biggest comeback we’ve ever seen. He is a master manipulator who views everything like a man playing chess with people as the pieces.
Hey, okay I get it. He killed half of everyone in the universe. But technically, he wasn’t wrong. See, people are the problem. Like he said, ‘the universe is finite, it’s resources finite. If life is left unchecked, life would cease to exist’.
You have to give it to the showrunners and the directors. Some of these characters would have been downright repulsive if they actually existed!