Who is the Best Irredeemable TV Villain?
Today, I’m looking for who you think is the best irredeemable TV villain.
Pop Culture Theme Time is a feature where I put a question to you to see what you think about a particular theme. I might later revisit the theme for a future Drawing Crazy Patterns or Top Five.
Television shows, in general, tend to try to make all characters multi-faceted, and that’s a very good idea, in general, but sometimes, you just really want a villain who ISN’T redeemable, and that’s what I’m looking for here – who do you think is the best TV villain who is purely irredeemable?
And I don’t mean one-off villains, I mean villains who were major characters.
For me, I’m going with Lorne Malvo, played so well by Billy Bob Thornton on the first season of Noah Hawley’s Fargo. Malvo was basically the devil. Heck, some people think he literally WAS the devil in flesh. Which, hey, maybe he was, but one way or the other, he was excellent as someone who, when he wasn’t killing people as a hitman, was tormenting people for sport. He was a true force of nature.
That’s my pick. How about you?
And feel free to suggest future Pop Culture Theme Time topics to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
5 thoughts on “Who is the Best Irredeemable TV Villain?”
Lalo Salamanca from Better Call Saul. He’s sort of an evil Columbo, using his seemingly lackadaisical attitude to belie his sharp detective mind… and his love of causing pain and chaos. He does care about his family and the people who work for him but that doesn’t stop him from doing awful stuff, like having a “friend” look just like him for the sole purpose of allowing him to fake his death. Completely divorced from any form of empathy, it’s an evil played both for dark laughs and pure terror.
Homelander on The Boys is my irredeemable vote.
Irredeemable is pretty much the whole character.
I’ll go with an oldy, Roger Delgado as the original Master on Doctor Who. Simultaneously an amazingly intelligent man with vast scientific knowledge and a sociopath who will compress your atoms into an agonizing death if you cross him in the slightest.
Gul Dukat from STAR TREK: DS9 may be pretty close. Just because he was charismatic doesn’t mean he also was irredeemable.
Victor Larue turned up in 3 episodes of “WALKER: TEXAS RANGER” and while that show had many cartoonishly evil villains, he was easily the worst. In the end Walker just shoots him dead, forgoing any roundhouse kicks, just to finally be rid of him. I don’t know if “reoccurring villain” counts as a “major character,” though.
TV animation has quite a few examples. Fire Lord Ozai from the original “AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER” fits the bill pretty well. He eagerly sacrifices underlings, permanently scarred his son Zuko for a minor infraction, and gleefully attempted mass genocide of an entire nation. Virtually all of the previous Avatars were telling Aang to just kill him because he was so irredeemable.
The much maligned “CAPTAIN PLANET & THE PLANETEERS” had a few of them, but choosing between Dr. Blight, Looten Plunder and Verminous Skumm is tough. Dr. Blight casually burns down towns for experiments and at her worst, went back in time to WWII to literally try to sell a nuclear bomb to Adolf Hitler. Looten Plunder is an avid warmonger, slaughters elephants in an ivory smuggling ring, and routinely uses the law to get around consequences (in one season 6 episode he successfully, and legally, defeated the Planeteers and clear cut an entire forest). But Skumm may get it for “Mind Pollution,” where he creates a designer drug just to torment and control teenagers, including Linka and her cousin Boris (who Skumm goads into dying on screen of an OD). Even the usually hammy Captain Planet was furious when summoned at the end.
Newman on Seinfeld because he’s a known stool pigeon who got Jerry and his friends in trouble.