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Fandom Friday: Villains worth rooting for

Heroes save the day, get the girl/guy, and defeat the baddies. But such a predictable routine can get so boring. We Fandom Friday contributors have a certain soft spot in our hearts for characters who prove to be less than a goody two-shoes.Certain villains are so diabolical, fascinating, and darn charming, who can help but root for them … at least a little? With villains like these six TV baddies, who needs heroes? Mild spoilers ahead!

Gotham GIF via Giphy

Oswald Cobblepot a.k.a. The Penguin, Gotham

For as much as Gotham centers on Jim Gordon’s efforts to clean up the city, the series has established Oswald Cobblepot and his rise to villainous fame and power as its best feature. Played by underappreciated (until now) character actor Robin Lord Taylor, Cobblepot, a.k.a. The Penguin, has become Gotham’s breakout character. In week after week of absurd cases and Gordon’s exasperated faces, Cobblepot plots and schemes his way to the top, using good guys and bad guys to his advantage. With every twist in his plot, he reveals just how smart and sinister he can be. Sure, a grown-up Batman will inevitably bring The Penguin to justice. But that doesn’t mean Cobblepot shouldn’t sow the seeds of Gotham’s destruction first.

Sherlock via Giphy

Jim Moriarty, Sherlock

The, man, the myth, the legend that is Jim “from IT” Moriarty wreaks havoc for Sherlock and Watson, mostly from the shadows. Yet when he finally appears, Andrew Scott, as Moriarty, holds his own with Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock and Martin Freeman’s Watson, stealing every scene he’s in. Just as brilliant as Sherlock, and yet so changeable, he serves as the consulting detective’s perfect foil. The series continues to be superb even without him; however, when Moriarty, or something that looks like Moriarty, asks “Miss me?” the answer, of course, is yes.

Battlestar Galactica

Cylons, Battlestar Galactica

All they want is to ensure the eradication of all of humanity. But what rebellious teen hasn’t been resentful of her parents from time to time? The human-created sentient robots of Battlestar Galactica, the reimagined series, evolve to become smarter (and sexier) than ever before, with a system to achieve immortality and a virtually indistinguishable physical difference from humans. Why do humans deserve to survive, anyway? This question becomes one of the show’s main themes, as all 12 models of sheer Cylon badassery represent the best and worst of humanity.

Luther via Giphy

Alice Morgan, Luther

At first, Alice seems to be the Moriarty to John Luther’s Sherlock. But Alice Morgan, played by recent Golden Globe winner Ruth Wilson, is much more than a gender-bent Jim Moriarty. A child prodigy and sociopathic genius, Alice literally gets away with murder and outsmarts brilliant Detective Chief Inspector Luther (the incomparable Idris Elba). When he eventually does figure out her scheme, it’s too late for him to prove her a murderer. Even though she threatens his estranged wife (and, you know, murdered people), Luther and the audience can’t help but fall for Alice’s charisma and smile. Alice gleefully shirks off limiting constructs of hero and villain, existing in a (very) dark gray area of morality.

Legend of Korra via Giphy

Amon, Legend of Korra

A world full of superpowered people in charge of every aspect of society would seem pretty terrifying to the average non-superpowered guy. That’s the fear Amon preys upon as the leader of the Equalist movement in the Avatar: The Last Airbender sequel series, Legend of Korra. Hidden behind a disturbing mask and surrounded by advanced chi-blocker henchmen, Amon legitimizes his anti-bending movement with real results when he takes away bending powers. Young, headstrong Avatar Korra has her work cut out for her in not just taking down Amon, but placating non-benders with real issues with benders. The twist to Amon’s background and motivation makes him even more complicated, compelling, and tragic. Scary, formidable, and all too plausible, Amon sets the bar for Korra’s future adversaries, including almost convincing anarchists Zaheer and the Red Lotus.

Robin Hood via Giphy

Guy of Gisborne, Robin Hood

Right-hand man to the cartoonishly evil Sheriff of Nottingham, Guy of Gisborne exists on an entirely different plane of villainy. He rocks guyliner and leather jackets, pines for Lady Marian, and slaughters villagers who don’t pay sufficient taxes. Melodramatic, snooty, pathetic, and murderous, he’s also pretty adorable. It doesn’t hurt that The Hobbit‘s Richard Armitage plays him with angsty sincerity and rocker charm. With the bland on-and-off romance between Marian and Robin (plus the overall blandness of Robin altogether), Guy of Gisborne stands out as the complicated, emotional leading man to root for. Yeah, yeah, he develops into an antihero later in the series, but I’m on Guy’s side no matter what.

What other bad guys are so good at being bad, you don’t want to be good?

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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