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Top 10 Best TV Villains of 2018

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
These are the characters we loved to hate this year. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten best TV villains of 2018. For this list, we’ll be looking at who we consider to be the greatest villains of the 2018 television season. We’ll be considering both primary and secondary villains, and defining “villain” as anyone who portrays immoral or evil tendencies and motivations, even if they are the protagonist of their respective story. We’ll also be discussing some major story elements, so a spoiler warning is in effect.
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These are the characters we loved to hate this year. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten best TV villains of 2018.

For this list, we’ll be looking at who we consider to be the greatest villains of the 2018 television season. We’ll be considering both primary and secondary villains, and defining “villain” as anyone who portrays immoral or evil tendencies and motivations, even if they are the protagonist of their respective story. We’ll also be discussing some major story elements, so a spoiler warning is in effect.


#10: Hill House “The Haunting of Hill House” (2018)


The haunted house story has remained a staple of entertainment for centuries. But few have been portrayed on television quite as effectively as Hill House. Hill House is a massive, imposing structure with its own agenda, and it doesn’t attack its residents so much as it gets into their heads. It manipulates and drives them to madness and suicide, all while creepy (albeit harmless) ghosts watch on from the corners. Yes, the final episode put a divisive twist on the story and made Hill House into some utopic afterlife where “everyone walks together,” but for the preceding nine hours, it was pure Hell on Earth for all who entered its doors.


#9: Cornelius Hickey “The Terror” (2018-)


It’s telling that a massive monster that stalks from the darkness and rips people apart ISN’T the most memorable villain of a story. That would be the depraved and completely insane Hickey, who was brilliantly played by newcomer Adam Nagaitis. Of course, this man is not the real Cornelius Hickey, but some kind of psychotic and inhumane imposter. As his real personality slips through and Hickey seemingly degrades into sheer madness, he puts the expedition at great danger by murdering helpful families (including a child), betraying (and murdering) shipmates, and allying himself with the dangerous Tuunbaq. He’s insanity incarnate, and we loved every second he was on the screen.




#8: Bullseye [aka Benjamin ‘Dex’ Poindexter] “Daredevil” (2015-)


He’s been a long time coming, but Bullseye is finally here. While Dex’s sadism is entertaining, what makes him interesting is that he serves (like many comic villains) as a dark mirror to Daredevil. Both lost their parents at a young age, but Matt was cared for whereas Dex was left alone, which Fisk uses to his advantage. They are both in law enforcement, although Dex is looked down upon for being a total psychopath. And finally, both are proficient fighters, although Matt is a hand-to-hand brawler whereas Dex prefers weapons and distance. We love what the show did to humanize Bullseye, and we can’t wait to see what everyday item he utilizes next.


#7: Adora Crellin “Sharp Objects” (2018)


Man, can Gillian Flynn write scary female characters or what? Before Gone Girl there was Sharp Objects, and HBO beautifully adapted Flynn’s novel into one of the year’s greatest shows. “Sharp Objects” centers around the deeply troubled and alcoholic reporter Camille Preaker returning to her small hometown and confronting her abusive socialite mother, played with scary aplomb by Patricia Clarkson. Adora was raised by a sociopathic mother and arguably became one herself, even going so far as to poison her own children to gain sympathy and attention from others. She’s the worst type of mother – uncaring, unloving, and, you know, one who poisons their own children. Did we mention that?


#6: Bushmaster [aka John McIver] “Luke Cage” (2016-18)





“Luke Cage” may have been cancelled in 2018, but at least it left on a high note. And that high note was season 2’s primary antagonist, John McIver. Bushmaster is a Jamaican gangster with aspirations to control Harlem’s criminal underworld, and his methods are incredibly brutal, like decapitating opponents and sticking their heads on pikes, Joffrey Baratheon style. However, he also veers into anti-villain territory, making him much more than a one-note character. He genuinely loves his family (especially his mother), he reasons with Luke, and he conveys friendliness and politeness, even towards his enemies. He’s kind of like Gus Fring – totally psychotic, but a delightful person nevertheless. Talking about loving to hate someone.






#5: Villanelle “Killing Eve” (2018-)



“Killing Eve” was one of the greatest shows of 2018, thanks in part to Jodie Comer’s performance as the psychotic Villanelle. The show follows Sandra Oh’s Eve Polastri, an MI5 agent tasked with hunting down Russian assassin Villanelle. Villanelle is unlike most assassins found in these types of stories. Not only is she cultured, but she also shows great admiration and sexual attraction towards Eve. She’s also less a proficient assassin and more a sociopathic murderer who utilizes bizarre and torturous methods to murder her targets. When she doesn’t get her way, she acts like a giant, petulant child and throws temper tantrums. She’s an unusual character, but she’s also one exuding originality and charm.




#4: Commander Fred Waterford “The Handmaid’s Tale” (2017-)



“The Handmaid’s Tale” continued to be the most depressing thing ever created, and its primary villains, Aunt Lydia and Commander Waterford, continued to be the biggest a-holes on TV. For those of you who don’t subject yourselves to the sorrow, Waterford is a high-ranking commander who forces women into sex slavery, and who rapes protagonist Offred with the hope of impregnating her. And believe it or not, Waterford became even more heinous in season 2. Whereas before he showed a semblance of humanity (even if it was just a façade), he’s now devolved into a pure monster, which included physically deforming his own wife. We didn’t think he could get much worse. We were wrong.


#3: Claire Underwood "House of Cards” (2013-18)


Some people may argue that “House of Cards” should have ended with the departure of Kevin Spacey (hell, some people may argue that “House of Cards” should have ended after season 2), but if season 6 is good for anything, it’s Robin Wright’s consistently reliable and enjoyable performance as Claire. Claire has always been one of the show’s greatest characters, but her role as President has made her particularly devious and deplorable, especially when she manipulates important cultural moments for her own self-interests. Season 6 was a particularly rocky end to the series, but like putting salt on a bland piece of food, Claire helped it go down a little easier.


#2: Shadow King [aka Amahl Farouk] “Legion” (2017-)


“Legion” has always been about ideas and fancy filmmaking techniques more than interesting characters, but that’s not to say that it doesn’t contain some truly unforgettable ones. One of the greatest additions to season 2 was undoubtedly Navid Negahban’s Amahl Farouk, or The Shadow King. He is the absolute best kind of villain. He’s sophisticated and fiercely intelligent, not some bumbling moron with delusions of grandeur. And best of all, he actually poses a significant threat to the heroes, evident by the fact that he emerges victorious at the end of both seasons. He is not one to be easily thwarted, and it makes for tense and mesmerizing viewing.



Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Laurens & Miriam Bancroft
“Altered Carbon” (2018-)

Grayson Wentz
“American Vandal” (2017-18)

Gabriel Lorca
“Star Trek: Discovery” (2017-)

Alisa Jones
“Jessica Jones” (2015-)


#1: Theodore ‘Teddy’ Perkins “Atlanta” (2016-)


As devious, menacing, and irredeemable as these characters are, none were as boundary-pushing or pop culture-infusing than Teddy Perkins. While “Atlanta” is primarily a surreal comedy, the surrealism and drama were amped up to 11 when Darius went to buy a piano from the psychotic Teddy Perkins. Perkins is a terrifying, nightmare-inducing man played by a literally unrecognizable Donald Glover, who infused him with equal parts menace, mystery, and (surprisingly) pathos. He’s obviously an allusion to Michael Jackson, but even without that cultural link, Perkins is still one of the most outlandish and horrifying villains to grace TV in quite some time. We shudder just thinking about him and his creepy mansion.
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