Where once it was assumed an audience would automatically back the good guy, bad guys have made something of an impact on modern television. As antagonists they create the much needed tension of the show, while actors are able to flex their creative muscles to create a truly unique character.
There are certain actors who have portrayed their bad guy characters so well that they have become iconic. As audience members, we can’t imagine our favourite shows without them, and are placed into complex positions emotionally as we detest their on-screen actions but adore their charisma and attitude.
To celebrate these on-screen bad guys who have won us over, let’s take a look at some of the best actors to have portrayed an evil character on television in recent years.
Known for his role as King Joffrey in the hugely successful Game of Thrones, Jack Gleeson has managed to encompass one of the most evil, manipulative and arrogant characters to film, moving the character perfectly from George R. R. Martin’s highly acclaimed A Song of Ice and Fire series into film.
The Irish actor is famous for being a delight to his fans and friends, so to see him transform from a friendly student into one of the most disgusting characters to have featured on TV is quite surreal. We might all hate Joffrey, but we’d also hate to see him leave the show!
Once famous for playing the hapless Hal in comedy Malcolm in the Middle, Cranston has taken on one of the most complex characters in TV history – Walter White. At the start of the show, White was a simple chemistry teacher whose life was turned upside down by a cancer diagnosis.
Over the next five series, Cranston manipulated and shocked audiences with his subtle and certain transformation of White into a character who is now pure evil. Even Cranston’s physical side has changed – when once he was meek and unassuming, he now is one of the manliest men on TV according to Home Wet Bar.
Reasonably famous in Britain for several years, Morrissey became a household name internationally when he took on the infamous role of The Governor on the TV adaptation of The Walking Dead. In much the same way as Cranston, Morrissey has been praised for his subtle transformation from wise town leader to psychotic killer.
The original character was called one the best comic book villains of all time, and while Morrissey retained a lot of that creation, he also made it his own by adding emotional depth and manipulating his audience into understanding his sick and twisted motives.