Television isn't always black and white. Very often there are characters who feed on obscurity, using the grey area between good and evil, using duplicitious and somtimes murderous means to achieve their goals. That's right, we're talking about the best Anti-heros TV has to offer!
In no particular order I'm With Geek's favourite Anti heroes are...
Chosen by Leah Stone
Hustle followed a gang of con artists who conned “for the greater good.” Scamming their money put of those who didn’t deserve it, either they’ve been acting illegally or immoral in some way. Although some may see the team as nothing more than con-artists who attempt to make their crimes seem acceptable because of their choice of target but still get to pocket the money, there are many times when the cons are carried through in order to benefit others. In my opinion I see them as anti-heroes as they con primarily as karma on those that act wrongly.
What made Hustle such an amazing show was its frequent breaking of the fourth wall without making it too obvious and staged; giving the audience a feeling that they are somewhat involved in the process. Plus, the plots are never straightforward; they would often leave the audience in the dark about certain things to keep them watching until the very end. Their cons were always carefully planned out and complicated in order for their mark to not work it all out. This makes the episodes all the more interesting to watch. There were film rights bought by 20th Century Fox, however a film hasn't been made yet.
Chosen by Robbie Jones
It’s hard not to root for the bad guy when they’re as interesting and complex as Tony Soprano. Starring the late great James Gandolfini, The Sopranos told the story of Tony, a mob boss who struggles with his life of crime and his family, and eventually finds himself seeing a therapist. The show explores the vastly different worlds he enters, and makes a point of just how bad of a man he is. For one, he is a terrible husband. Poor Carmela has seen the worst of it, having been cheated on several times and treated poorly at others, but you can never say he didn’t love her. Furthermore, he and his crew have been carried out plenty of crimes, including a lot of killings, and are famous in the criminal underworld. And yet, you still become emotionally invested with this character, largely thanks to Gandolfini’s phenomenal performance. The show is indeed drama at its finest; it’s difficult to not get hooked to a show that almost reaches perfection, something The Sopranos does with every episode. Seriously, I can’t think of one. But from his vile mother to his traitorous best friend, it’s not hard to see why Tony struggles so much in his little world.
Chosen by Julia Lawson
If you’re looking for some anti-heroes to bet on, try these KGB spies during the cold war. ITV brought this explosive show to the UK over the summer and it did not disappoint.
The Americans is set during the Cold War, when international relations are very tense. The constant threat of nuclear war is like a constant pulse beating behind the growing stories of the lead characters. Deep undercover KGB spies, Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys), are at the forefront of the silent battle between the Soviet Union and the United States of America –a war zone where counter-intelligence rules, both sides trying to stay ahead of the game and stop events spiralling out of control.
The couple, formerly known as ‘Nadezhda’ and ‘Mischa’ are well-integrated into American society, under the pretence of a normal working family, with their two children, Paige and Henry (unaware of their parents double lives by the way!), carrying out orders from their KGB supervisor by night. Their regular ‘schedule’ is cast into disarray when FBI Counter-Intelligence Agent, Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich) moves in across the street…
The show brings history to life and we are drawn into the lives of both the Soviet spies and the American agencies trying to stop them. The instant costume changes are mind-boggling and at times you barely recognise the actors at all! Even more the fluidity when both sides change between the ‘workplace’ and ‘home life’ – oh the difficulties of double lives and espionage!
Car chases, gun fights, sex and costume changes, this show has it all. The show is constantly building in momentum and the finale was electric; and all the while you are not 100% sure who the bad guys really are… Brilliant acting, brilliant story – watch it!
Chosen by CookieNScreen
I could harp on about the genius Hannibal until the cows came home (or in Hannibal’s case, the rude workmen.) Hannibal is a wonderful television series that is a prequel to the infamous Lecter stories (excluding Hannibal Rising, always excluding Hannibal Rising.) It tells the relationship of FBI consultant Will Graham and his psychiatrist Dr Hannibal Lecter. Unfortunately, Lecter’s extra curricular activities include killing people, eating people and manipulating Graham so that he has a psychotic break every other episode. While definitely a fiendish character, Lecter (played effortlessly and charismatically by Mads Mikkelson,) is more terrifying because he manages to charm everyone into thinking he is trying to help Graham. And as the audience, we know he is a sociopath who puts human entrails into every meal and plays mind games to suckle on the mental anguish of others. But we can’t help but fall drastically in love with Lecter as he manages to convince us for a while that he might actually care for Abigail or Alana or Graham. He is just a misunderstood villain, right?
No, he is just a bit of an asshole. And so is his food.
Chosen by Matthew Battles
Dexter Morgan, titular character of the Dexter series, is a likeable blood spatter analyst working with the Miami Metro Police Department. Working by day to help solve murders, Dexter uses the night-time to indulge in a few murders of his own, as Dexter happens to be a serial killer.
The show follows Dexter as he struggles with, and fails to, balance his commitments to his family and friends while juggling with his own need to kill. What's most intriguing about Dexter is that he only kills other killers - those who've evaded justice themselves. Dexter had humble beginnings as many of the show's producers expected it to be little more than a cult show, however went on to have millions of fans across the continents and sweeping up many accolades, including several Emmys, and turned Michael C Hall (of Six Feet Under fame) into a household name.
Dexter forced fans to re-evaluate their own moral compasses. After all, we were following a serial killer with a massive body count in his wake BUT we were more than happy to see him continue to do what he was doing. So much so that people often debated whether, when the show finally came to a conclusion, did they want to see Dexter caught? Whatever the fans expected, the show - which rose to meteoric proportions - went out with a whisper rather than a bang, leaving many fans disappointed with the final act
In fact, as two very popular anti-hero based shows reached their conclusions this year, it felt like avid fans were being treated to a master class in how to, and how not to, end a series... And the winner at the finish line was...
Chosen by Robbie Jones
Is there anything you wouldn’t do for your family? Walter White, a chemistry teacher diagnosed with lung cancer, teams up with an old student to produce Methamphetamine in order to secure the financial future of his family when he passes. Bryan Cranston plays 2 characters in this show: Walter White, the mild mannered teacher who is in way over his head; and Heisenberg, ruthless drug kingpin. Breaking Bad is unquestionably my favourite TV show of all time, and even though it’s been over for 2 weeks now, everyone is still talking about it. And the chances are, if you haven’t watched it, you’ve been told a thousand times already by your friends and family to get cracking, and I’m here to tell you that as well! It’s time to see what the world is talking about...
Is your favourite on our list? Do you have your own beloved anti-hero? Let us know below!
Check out Film's Top Anti-Heros here!