Shows like The Sopranos and The shield set the benchmark on a new type of hero: the anti-hero, who is a morally complex character who intends to do something good but does questionable actions that challenge the duality that a traditional hero would never do. Today’s television is filled to the brim with anti-heroes, but the real question is which ones are the best five? This list will highlight the top five anti-heroes in television history. I chose to exclude Tony Soprano, Omar Little and Dexter Morgan from the list. They are undoubtedly some of the best characters on TV, but I wanted to focus more on names that aren’t particularly spotlighted.
Philip and Elizabeth Jennings
Ok so, I’m cheating a bit, but they’re playing a married couple so Philip and Elizabeth Jennings get a pass here. In truth, Americans have a solid cast full of amazing characters, and the FX series has established itself as one of the best television shows of the period. The main reason for this is due to the incredibly complex protagonists, who are undercover KGB agents hiding in plain sight in Washington DC. It’s not just the fact that these two are spies that makes them so memorable, but their whole marriage as a whole. . At first, Philip and Elizabeth feel like acquaintances who care more about serving their mission. However, the show has done a great job developing both characters, especially Elizabeth Jennings, who is the colder of the two. The missions the Jennings were to complete were a fascinating exploration of their spy life, as it was fascinating to watch these two characters disappear into anyone’s personality while balancing a traditional married life. Of course, Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys deserve credit for their tremendous acting skills. Americans is the definition of a perfectly written show. It wasn’t your typical spy drama and each season has raised the stakes higher than before. Let’s hope the couple lives happily in Russia.
Who would have thought that an ordinary chemistry professor selling drugs to pay for his cancer treatment could be so entertaining? breaking Bad started with a captivating opener that never stops until White’s heart stopped beating in the final season. It was thrilling to watch the mild-mannered husband navigate the world of drugs and transform into a monster who no longer scrambled to pay for his treatments. Of course, Bryan Cranston was just terrific; Who would have guessed that the dad of Malcolm in the middle could have played such a role on several levels? White wasn’t just a freak who wanted to rule the drug world, he was still a simple man with a son and a wife he loved dearly. Walter White’s story may not have had a happy ending, but the character’s legacy will live on for eternity.
Vince Gilligan created another compelling arc from a breaking Bad favorite. Jimmy McGill’s story is captivating from the start; looking at his battle against his own flesh and blood as he slowly works his way through the criminal underworld, Vince Gilligan has a knack for crafting great characters and exciting worlds. What helps make Saul Goodman’s story so rich are the men and women surrounding the sleazy lawyer. Goodman’s world is shaken with each new character he meets; however, the most intriguing relationship involving Jimmy is his girlfriend, Kim Wexler. Originally, the lawyer seemed like the source of good Jimmy needed in his life to hopefully set him straight, but Goodman’s lifestyle seems to be dragging Kim deep into the dark rabbit who notably changes Mrs. Goody’s shoes. It’s unclear what the future holds for Kim as she has never seen him in breaking Badwhich makes the show’s final season all the more engrossing.
Detective Vic Mackey
One of the most influential shows that has gone somewhat into the background due to the fact that the anti-hero type of arc has become such a popular genre over the last decade or two. Detective Mackey, in his own words, was “a different kind of cop” behind closed doors and in public. Often Mackey operated worse than the criminals he put behind bars but was considered a hero in the eyes of his community. The moral complexity of anti-heroes is on full display here as it’s always fascinating to watch the different layers these men and women balance throughout their lives. Mackey is a corrupt officer, beating up suspects and murdering two mobsters and a cop, but his moral code is by any means necessary. It’s basically the nickname “To beat the monster, you have to become one” that he follows in his professional life. He’s never the easiest to root, but that doesn’t make him any less captivating.
Rather, Kevin Garvey is a different kind of anti-hero. He doesn’t walk around beating or killing people, but his mental state has him doing questionable things throughout the three seasons of Leftovers. The show is a thrilling exploration of the effects grief can have on human beings, and Kevin is the tragic case of a man with good intentions who sometimes goes left. Unlike the other names on the list, he doesn’t do anything completely deplorable, but his moral complex is constantly tested and episodes such as international killer do a solid job of diving deep into this troubled human being. Kevin finally gets a happy ending, but the journey leading up to this moment has surely been heartbreaking.