8 Television Villains We Love To Hate

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What’s a TV show without a memorable villain? Sometimes the characters we love are the worst ones, always scheming, lying and tricking their fellow characters. Here are eight TV villains we just can’t get enough of. (Note: these are characters on shows that are still airing new episodes in 2015).

8. Frank and Claire Underwood on House of Cards

Frank and Claire Underwood are the main characters on Netflix’s political drama House of Cards, but you can argue that they’re really more like villains than heroes. They constantly plot their rise to power, never caring who they might have to step on to get there. Although Frank makes his way to the presidency, we’re actually more terrified of Claire, who sounds perfectly sweet and calm even though her eyes indicate that she’d kill you in a second if she had to. “I can’t see her as evil and cunning. To me, she’s utilitarian and efficient,” Robin Wright said of her character in an April 2015 Vanity Fair profile.

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7. Nearly Everyone on Game of Thrones

When it comes to the best villains on Game of Thrones, we can’t pick just one. If you think Empire is crazy, check out the HBO drama, which throws dragons and an impossibly large cast into a supernatural world. For a while King Joffrey (played by Jack Gleeson) was our favorite GOT villain, but can he really top the list of he’s no longer with us? To cement his villain status, he made Sansa look at her beheaded father, shot a crossbow into Ros’ chest for fun, cut out someone’s tongue, murdered Sansa’s direwolf named Lady and the butcher’s boy, demanded that any bastard child of Robert Baratheon be killed, and demanded that innocent Ned be executed. A real charming fellow, huh? Now that he’s gone, we can look to Cersei Lannister, Viserys Targaryen, Ramsay Snow and Littlefinger to get our villainous fix.

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6. Klaus Mikaelson on The Vampire Diaries and The Originals

Why do bad guys have to be so hot? Klaus Mikaelson is so bad, his villainy is on two different shows, The Vampire Diaries and its spinoff The Originals. Played by Joseph Morgan, Klaus is an Original Vampire and a Werewolf, also known as Original Hybrid. Since he was born in the 10th century, he’s been causing trouble for over a thousand years. Klaus kills his own sister, tries to kill Bonnie (but she fakes her own death), tries to choke Haley, and generally attacks people and compels them to do whatever he wants. Klaus is always an emotionally tortured and troubled guy, but you can’t deny that he’s a pretty evil villain.

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5. June Stahl and Galen O’Shay on Sons of Anarchy

It was hard to pick a favorite villain from Sons of Anarchy, since lots of people on the FX drama are up to no good. Galen O’Shay (played by Timothy V. Murphy) is confident and handsome, but don’t let that fool you; he once sliced off someone’s hands. He also had two people killed just to send a message. We’re sad he’s no longer with us. Earlier in the series, June Stahl (played by Ally Walker) is an Agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in charge of investigating the Sons of Anarchy. She killed someone and then framed Gemma for it. Her actions also led to two other people dying and one being kidnapped.

© FX / Courtesy: Everett Collection Sources: sonsofanarchy.wikia.com

4. The Snow Queen on Once Upon a Time

You don’t have to be a brutal murderer on a premium cable show to be a fun villain. We also love the Snow Queen from Once Upon a Time, played by Elizabeth Mitchell. She used her powers of freezing to turn everyone in the town of Storybrook against her niece, Elsa, played by Georgina Haig (sound familiar? That’s right – the characters from Frozen have jumped into the world of Once Upon a Time).  She also uses mind tricks on Emma to convince her that her family doesn’t love her anymore (pretty evil, right?). “My whole theory has always been that villains never know they are villains,” Elizabeth Mitchell said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “That seems to be the case here, even though she does some crazy stuff. It’s been really fun.”

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3. Rowan Pope on Scandal

Pretty much everyone on Scandal does despicable things, but we can’t bring ourselves to call Olivia Pope or Fitz a villain. That title belongs to Olivia’s father Rowan, played by Joe Morton, who won an Emmy for his performance last year. He killed one of Olivia’s friends, Harrison, and even killed the President’s son. He supposedly does all of these things to protect his daughter, but how is he helping the situation at all? We’re not surprised that he ends up jail. “I read something the other day that said I was the worst parent on television,” he told Deadline AwardsLine.

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2. Jack Randall on Outlander

If you aren’t watching Starz’s drama Outlander, you need to start! The steamy romance between Claire and Jamie might make the most headlines, but we’re also intrigued by Jack Randall, the villain played by the same actor as Claire’s original husband, Frank. Claire accidentally traveled through time from post-WWII to the medieval Scottish Highlands and doesn’t know if she’ll ever be reunited with her husband (hence the romance with Jamie). It’s even more complicated when Jack is some kind of version of Frank, his descendant. Frank tries to rape Claire in the show’s first episode, which cements his status as a horrible villain.

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1. Lucious Lyon on Empire

One of the reasons everyone is so addicted to Fox’s Empire, which premieres its second season on Weds, Sept 23, is that its characters do NOT hold back. Drug dealer-turned-record company mogul Lucious Lyon (played be Terrence Howard) is not simply a man who makes threats; in the first season, he kept secret information about his company so that it could have a successful IPO, cheated on his fiancée, treated his gay son poorly — oh, and did we mention that he murdered one of his old friends? He also had a child with his son’s ex-girlfriend — back when she was still dating his son. We can’t wait for the new season because we know that Lucious will do anything to get what he wants. “Everything I do with Lucious is still me,” Terrence told Rolling Stone, which is a little terrifying.

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Amanda Young