Posted August 8, 2012 by Myke Friscia in Television



Today’s top 5 TV anti-heroes.

He’s the bank robber you want to see pull off the heist, the hit-man you want to see get the kill, and the drug dealer you want to see out smart the cops.  It the villain that’s the hero, or what’s known as the Anti-hero.  It’s unclear who the very first anti-hero was, but the literary term was used in story telling as far back 1714.

In the last decade plus, the anti-hero has become Americas’ favorite character archetype.  The most popular and critically acclaimed shows are all centered around the anti-hero.  Sometimes a guy just has to do the right thing no matter what the law says, and sometimes a guy is just bad and we love him anyway.  Maybe it’s because there’s a bad guy in all of us.  I researched critics and fans picks for the most popular anti-hero’s on TV today and the same picks kept coming up.  Here are what are considered the top 5 antiheroes by fans and critics alike.  Always number one on any list is:

1) DEXTER MORGAN – “Dexter”, played by Michael C. Hall.  Billed as America’s favorite serial killer and I have to agree.  Based on the book series by Jeff Lindsay, Michael C. Hall plays the darkest character on Television.  He’s a police crime lab geek by day and a brutal psychopathic serial killer by night.  Sometimes the day and night persona’s overlap.  We root for Dexter because he seems to be a nice guy and only kills those that “deserve it”.  However collateral damage has made even Dexter question himself.  The old adage “The book is better” doesn’t apply to this series.  While the books are good, the writers have taken them to the next level and then some.  The series is by far better than the books with significant changes to the storylines, plus added ones.  If you haven’t read the books, you can do so without worrying about spoilers.  The book series and TV series are quite different.  The series is so good, two convicted murders have claimed to be inspired by Dexter: Canadian killer Mark Twitchell, an aspiring horror film maker, who tried to live a double life and adopt Dexter’s persona, and convicted killer Andrew Connely who said on trial the series inspired him to kill his 10 year old brother.   Come on, all you that watch the show can’t tell me you haven’t thought about it too!  We’re all anxiously awaiting the premiere of season 7, just weeks away.


The phoney smile as part of Dexter’s nice guy persona.

The eyes of a killer.  It’s all about the eyes.

2) WALTER WHITE – “Breaking Bad” – Played by Brian Cranston.    Created by X-Files writer Vince Gilligan, he set out to create a show where the protagonist slowly turned into the antagonist.  He wanted the lead character “To go from Mr. Chips to Scarface”.  And the show certainly pulled it off.  When this nerdy high school chemistry teacher got diagnosed with brain cancer, his brain “broke bad”.  Looking for a way to pay medical bills, he turned to using his chemistry knowledge to create the best crystal meth on the streets.

Now entering it’s fifth and final season, which will be broken into two parts, Walter White, aka Heisenberg, has transformed into a ruthless character that is no longer in it just for the money.  He seem to enjoy being the bad guy.   He is now feared by everyone, including his own family.  The season 4 finale ended on what will most certainly  be among the greatest TV lines of all time: “I won”.

A man’s got to provide for his family.

3) JAX  TELLER – “Sons of Anarchy” – played by Charlie Hunnam -  Created by Kurt Sutter, who uses a Shakespearean influence for the show that follows the structure of Hamlet.  Jax is a ruthless biker who longs to get out of the gang life.  As the motorcycle gang he has sworn his life to gets deeper and deeper into crime and murder, he questions himself and what he’s fighting for.  Last season, just as Jax had struck a deal to leave the gang life for good and become a family man, a turn of events has now put him in charge of the ruthless killers.  Set in the fictional town of “Charming”, which is actually the Sunland/Tujunga and Lakeview Terrace areas, SOA is about to start its 5th season.  Jax’s mom is played by Katy Segal, who has a son in real life named Jax and is girlfriend to the shows’ creator Sutter.

If Brad Pitt were to play a TV character, it would be Jax Teller.

4) NANCY BOTWIN – “Weeds” – Played by Marry Louise-Parker.  When this poor soccer mom’s husband died, she started selling dime bags to her kid’s friends to support them.  Slowly but surely she rose through the ranks to become the Queen pin of Marijuana.  Created by Jenji Kohan, veteran writer of Sex and the City, Mad About You, and Gilmore Girls, the show was originally a tough sell to the networks.

Nancy Botwin is the caring, hip, cool mother that we all wish we had growing up:  Spoils her kids, spends lots of money on them, and lets them party!  But Nancy isn’t so sweet when it comes to business.  Now in the midst of it’s 8th season, fans are wondering if it’s the last.

Don’t mess with my weeds.

5) BILL COMPTON and ERIC NORTHMAN – “True Blood”, played by Stephen Moyer and Alexander Skarsgard.  The two characters have kind of rolled into one now.  Based on  the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris.  These two ruthless vampire killers have learned a lot from sweet little Sookie.  Now in it’s 6th season, the two killers are on a quest to preserve the peaceful co-existence of humans and vampires, even though it will mean their lives.  How noble of them.  The two characters are actually bitter rivals that are forced to work together.  A unique TV frenemy relationship.  Their love triangle with Sookie is the TV version of Team Jacob/Team Edward.  Only Sookie hasn’t chosen for the time being.  Created by Alan Ball, creator of six feet under, some fans describe the show as Dracula living in a trailer park.  Set in the fictional town of Bon Temp, which means “good times”.


Sookie may have dumped me on the show, but in real life, she’s mine!


Who sank my battleship?!     Nevermind, I found the guy.

Great Anti-heroes of the past

  • Vick Macki – “The Shield”
  • Tony Soprano – “The Soprano’s”
  • Bo and Luke Duke – “Dukes of Hazzard”
  • Gregory House – “House”
  • Omar Little – “The Wire”
  • Ryan O’Riley – “Oz”
  • Archie Bunker – “All in  the Family”

Films 10 greates antiheroes

  1. Travis Bickle – “Taxi Driver”
  2. Leon – “The Professional”
  3. D-Fens – “Falling Down”
  4. The McManus Brothers – “Boondock Saints”
  5. Manco - “For a few Dollars More”, “A Fistfull of Dollars”
  6. Tyler Durden – “Fight Club”
  7. Harry Callahan – “Dirty Harry” series
  8. Snake Blisskin – “Escape From New York”
  9. Mad Max – “Mad Max” series
  10. Eric Draven – “The Crow” series


Who’s your favorite Anithero?


Myke Friscia




Myke Friscia

Screenplay Analyst, Writer, Director of Development for Gallagher Literary Management, Little Monster. "Words are my Passion".