The Decade's Best Television Villains

Long before Spencer Pratt weaseled his way onto The Hills and Simon Cowell dressed down his first off-note performer, television audiences relied on fictional characters for their daily doses of evil. Take a scoundrel like J.R. Ewing of Dallas: viewers could watch as he swindled his own mama out of her rightful stake of the Ewing Oil fortune, click off the television, and not have to worry about hearing that J.R. got a D.U.I. on a late night burger run or was arrested for child molestation. Sure, our airwaves may have been invaded by parasitic reality evildoers, but this decade could still boast some of the best fictional television villains of all time. So please join us as we remember the best TV creeps of the last decade (no antiheroes allowed!):


Sylar, Heroes (2006 - 2009)

Portrayed By: Zachary Quinto

Profile: Superpowered serial killer and skilled watch repairman.

Powers: Intuitive aptitude, which allowed him to figure out how other powers worked and acquire more after murdering the people who possess them. Powers gained from murder include telekinesis, lie detection, shape shifting, flight and rapid cell regeneration.

Weakness: Brain theft

Teen Choice Award Nominations: 2 ("Choice TV Villain," 2007 and 2008)

Quote: "I believe in fate and karma, and I'm not just saying that 'cause you're Indian."


T-Bag, Prison Break (2005 - 2009)

Portrayed By: Robert Knepper

Profile: One of the nastiest prisoners to come out of Fox River State Penitentiary, Theodore "T-Bag" Bagwell was even conceived criminally (his father raped his Down syndrome-afflicted sister), which perhaps explains his interests in vandalism, animal torture, murder, rape, kidnapping, pedophilia and racism. T-Bag even convinced a veterinarian to reattach his severed hand once (it was chopped off with an ax, long story), before killing the Good Samaritan.

Powers: Ability to rig a set of cards, adeptness with a razor blade, intelligence (studied encyclopedias as a child) and charm.

Weakness: The law.

Leadership Experience: Established a white supremacy gang at the prison, giving him serious pull with his inmates.

Claim to Fame: Was once featured on an episode of America's Most Wanted within an episode of Prison Break.

Teen Choice Award Nominations: 1 ("Choice TV Villain," 2007)

Quote: "All cons are equal."


Wilhelmina Slater, Ugly Betty (2006 - 2009)

Portrayed By: Vanessa Williams

Profile: The daughter of a senator, Wilhelmina is an egotistical former supermodel and co-editor in chief of Mode. She makes Betty Suarez's life a living hell and boasts an impressive list of flings including Mick Jagger, Andre Agassi and the Prince of Dubai.

Powers: Possesses blackmail information on fashion industry rivals, tempts recovering alcoholics to forfeit their sobriety, manipulates press expertly

Weakness: Botox, the rare wave of emotion, Chanel

Teen Choice Award Wins: 1 ("Choice TV Villain," 2007 -- 2009)

Quote: "That is the absolute cruelest thing I've ever seen. Someone's getting a raise."

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  • James says:

    No mention of pro wrestling's greatest villain Paul Heyman?
    You guys missed the entire Brock Lesnar era, and looked at it like "oh it's just wrestling", without looking at the brilliance of the performance.

  • cade peterson says:

    two weeks is not a long time for someone with a job, dick.

  • Sylar Durden says:

    I believe Sylar repairs TIME PIECES!!!!! Gosh, doesn't anyone here watch Heroes? 😛

  • Me says:

    Where the hell is lionel luthor on this list?

  • The Cantankerist says:

    Seriously? You saw that the section header was John Lithgow, the Trinity Killer, from the 2009 season of Dexter, and nothing in your brain said that there might be spoilers ahead about the 2009 season of Dexter and perhaps it might be a good idea not to read the rest of the entry?
    Dude, sorry for your misfortune. But Movieline is very clearly based in north America, where the Dexter season is over. The site has also been posting week by week episode recaps of seasons of Mad Men and True Blood that are yet to screen on free-to-air elsewhere, without feeling any need to panic-tag the posts as spoilers. The easy way to remain unspoiled is ... wait for it... NOT to read articles/sections that are likely to spoil you. Crazy, I know, but there it is.
    Please take responsibility for your own screw-up - relying on others to police the world for you just leads to frustration and disappointment all round, n'est ce pas?

  • The Cantankerist says:

    oh, God, another one. Dude: "I scrolled down as fast as I could but I saw it anyway"? STOP READING! Is it so hard? The headline of the section was pretty clear as to what it was about. The Trinity Killer. John Lithgow. Dexter, 2009. Why on earth would you keep reading after that, in an article about the decade's best television villains, if you wanted to remain unspoiled about the details of his villainy?
    Don't blame others. Nut up and take some responsibility for your own actions, will you? Spoiler alerts are for things TO COME: movies that (presumably) lots of folks haven't seen, or television shows that are yet to be aired. I live in Australia, for instance, where Dexter S4 has not yet aired. It probably won't for another six months. Should everyone put spoiler alerts on their posts for the next six months? Of course not. If I want to stay spoiler-free, IT'S MY RESPONSIBILITY.

  • Interesting review and i have to agree mostly.

  • Hwa Buchana says:

    Hey I love Lesnar! Hope he will win!

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  • Hi nice blog i am thinking to buy this now after the good reviews of it. Thanks ill be back to comment on it once experienced it.

  • This is good! How did you learn this stuff when you were getting started?

  • Excellent piece of writing, thanks. Can you expand on the second point in additional detail please?

  • instantempo says:

    I wish I would have read your post. But unfortunately the code is messed up on my end. Is it just me? I can barely see the box for leaving comments. You may want to give it a check...