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Fandom Friday: Bad guys gone good

We all know the story: The good kid from school gets in with the wrong crowd. Time moves forward, peer pressure sets in, and we now have one newly developed bad kid who drinks, smokes, and curses. But let’s try something else on for size. What if one of those rebels decides to hang with the good kids?

This week’s Fandom Friday dives into that very topic. We cover those characters who started off bad, annoying, or unlikable, yet somehow over the course of episodes (or seasons), they turned into great, likeable, sometimes-heart-of-the-show characters. It happens.

Let’s take a quick journey into six of these individuals. It’s just a sampling from my television travels; by all means, this is not a definitive list (save for Spike). Be sure to vote in the poll and call out your own bad guys gone good in the comments section!

Warning: While most of these shows are long over, there could still be potential spoilers!

Spike, Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel
Now this one belongs on the definitive list. Here is a guy who is evil. Come on, he’s a vampire. From the start, he has a weird girlfriend (Drusilla) and he categorically hates the Slayer and her Scooby gang. Sure, he’s always maintained a level of charm and humor—even while evil. When things go sour for Spike, he ditches town … for a little while. Soon after his return to Sunnydale, he is somewhat forced into helping Buffy & Co., but we/he are still under the belief that he’s evil. He later gets chipped by Riley and the Initiative, disabling his ability to hurt anyone who is not a demon. Spike eventually falls in love with Buffy and willingly gets his soul back to prove a point. In the end, he sacrifices himself to save the world in the series finale (one of the best series finales EVER). Of course, he later shows up on Angel to further his good-deeds list. A soulless vampire converts to Good Samaritan status? Yeah, he’s a saint.

spike - i like you

Jamie Lannister, Game of Thrones
I binge-watched Game of Thrones over the summer (for the first time). After seeing Jamie Lannister push young Bran Stark out of a window in the very first episode (because Bran caught Jamie having sex with his own sister), I never would have thought I would end up liking the guy … a lot. He’s awful for the first season, but his turning point comes creeping in at the very end of the second season when we begin to see his interaction with Brienne, his badass warden. He loses a hand in season 3 and becomes a sad sack for a while, before ultimately saving Brienne’s life when she’s forced to fight a bear (what?!). In season 4, he hangs with his creepy family—and has a setback when he basically forces himself onto his sister, Cersei. But in the end, he can be thanked for saving Tyrion’s life. Thank God. Everyone loves Tyrion.

jamie -got

Kelly Taylor, Beverly Hills, 90210
Ah, Kelly Taylor. The rich girl from Beverly Hills. At the show’s beginning, we were meant to relate to Minnesota girl Brenda Walsh. Um, no. In the first season, Kelly could be a little judgmental, a little snotty, but Jennie Garth just … worked. Meanwhile, Shannen Doherty’s Brenda quickly became nails-on-a-chalkboard annoying. In the end, you were rooting for Dylan to cheat on Brenda with Kelly (and you couldn’t wait for Brenda to find out—is that bad?). Kelly’s storylines got better, Brenda’s suffered, and Shannen eventually left the show. Kelly went on to become one of the—if not THE top—characters to suffer the most in TV history. True story. #TeamKelly


Andy Botwin, Weeds
Okay, Andy Botwin—played by the super-likable Justin Kirk—wasn’t evil or bad. He was just Andy, an incredibly irresponsible, slightly annoying brother-in-law to Nancy. He served no real purpose—other than to get Nancy in trouble and be a bad influence on her kids. But as Nancy strayed and became more selfish, Andy became more grounded. In the end, he falls for Nancy (bad idea) and it doesn’t work out (good for Andy). He becomes the heart of the show. Who knew?

andy weeds

Saul Tigh, Battlestar Galactica
At the start of BSG, this guy was an all-out jerk. Okay, so he is military and he’s supposed to be authoritative and gruff with subordinates, but still … show some heart. To his credit, he did once say, “If the crew doesn’t hate the XO [executive officer], then he’s not doing his job.” And that they did: They hated him. Of course, things change when the Cylons you’re fighting against take over and you’re forced to live on a new planet, under new laws. He becomes head of the resistance and joins forces with the underlings he used to boss around. He gets tortured, loses an eye, and becomes an admirable character. So say we all.

saul -bsg

Joe Carroll, The Following
Here’s an odd one—and most likely an unpopular choice. During the first season of The Following, I hated Joe Carroll and his pretentious persona. “I’m a writer … I love Edgar Allan Poe … I’m going to kill people and use Poe’s literature for symbolism.” Yuck. By the time the second season rolled around and Carroll was still alive, I was bummed. But things got interesting when Carroll found himself amongst other up-and-coming killers and cults. He became self-aware and actually poked fun at the situation—and himself. Yes, still evil, but at least he dropped the ostentatious guise of being this artsy-fartsy murderer. I think Ryan Hardy noticed, too. After all, he let Carroll live.

joe carroll

There you have it. Now, vote on these choices and pipe in with your own! Rumor has it there are a few Veronica Mars characters who fit the bill …

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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