Who Is Your Favorite Reformed TV Villain?
Today, I want to know who is your favorite reformed 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.
A standard thing in pretty much ALL serialized fiction is the pull of a good villain being SO good that the writers of the series feel compelled to redeem them and make them a hero because, well, TV shows are mainly about the heroes, so if you’re a hero, you get to be in more scenes.
For the sake of this question, I’ll allow instances where a villain doesn’t necessarily become a hero, though, just that they’re clearly no longer a villain. For instance, I would consider Ian McShane’s Al Swearengen on Deadwood as a “reformed” TV villain despite him still technically being a bit of a bastard by the end of the series, just clearly no longer treated as a villain like he was early in the series.
Swearengen would be an excellent pick, but I can’t help but go with James Marsters’ Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Introduced as an over-the-top villain in Season 2, he was ultimately forced to help the good guys due to a microchip placed into his body. Once he began doing heroic things, though, he slowly became more and more heroic (while still being without a soul since he was a vampire, so it was very difficult staying good, as seen when he tried to rape Buffy at one point). He eventually earned a soul so he could be fully good (Angel doesn’t count, by the way, since he debuted AS a hero. I’ll leave it up to you whether you think Cordelia was a villain or not when she debuted).
Okay, that’s my pick. How about you?
Thanks to Geno P. for the suggestion! Everyone, feel free to suggest future Pop Culture Theme Time topics to me at my new, much shorter e-mail, email@example.com!
6 thoughts on “Who Is Your Favorite Reformed TV Villain?”
The Shade on Stargirl or the Crock family on Stargirl. The Crocks were particularly fun as they had no idea how to be good people.
Yeah Spike. That was a great transformation. Would add Ted Danson’s Michael on The Good Place. He was a big part of the “surprise” in the middle and then again at the end of the series.
My first thought was Margaret on MASH but sure she was ever really a villain like Frank was. But could see it.
I almost just went with Klingons, going from main adversary to allies.
But I think will go with Mick Rory Heatwave. although he remained a thief, he became the one Sara Lance could most count on to have her back.
I’m not sure if G’Kar (from Babylon 5) was ever truly a “villain” per se, although in the first season he tended to be used as something of a villain, antagonist, and/or comic relief; I think the intent was for audiences to see him as a villain before both his character changed and the audience perception of him changed, at which point he became a more straightforward heroic figure and moral leader.
But anyway, I’m going with G’Kar.
quite a number of possibles to choose from
Crais (Farscape), Turlough (Doctor Who), Tenaya (Power Rangers RPM), etc
I’ll give an honourable mention to Garcia Flynn in Timeless – he was the main antagonist in the first series (though misunderstood and lied about rather than truly bad) and joins the heroes against the real bad guys in the second
But, my number one choice is….
Xena, Warrior Princess
a villainess when she was first introduced in Hercules but so popular she soon reformed and got her own spin-off series to seek redemption
I’ll go with Lena Luthor on Supergirl. She was never truly evil but definitely crossed a number of moral lines (planning to shoot Morgan Edge, experimenting with human subjects) before becoming a villain in season 5, and then spending the early part of season 6 trying to make up for her mistakes, almost to the point of overcompensating.