Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Villains, Anti-Heroes, and Bad Boys...Why We Love Them

Admittedly, I have a thing for bad boys. A lot of us do. There is something so compelling about them and I find myself wanting to "fix him", ask him why he feels he must do the things he does. Is it something in his past that makes him terrify and seduce almost simultaneously? Over the years, my favorite characters to watch in movies and television or read about in books have been anti-heroes and yes, sometimes villains.

Lately, I've been absorbed with the HBO series True Blood, based on Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire Series and I can't take my eyes off of Eric Northman, the Viking vampire bad-boy, in the show. So yes, I'm firmly in Camp Eric. Why? Vampire Bill is super handsome, a southern gentleman and is totally yummy but the sad fact is, he just isn't a layered character. He lays everything about himself 'out there' and therefore, seems to have little depth. On the other hand, we KNOW Eric the Viking has a mysterious past. Outwardly he is aloof, distant, deadly and seductive, yet we see just tiny glimpses of humanity and wonder about them. We wonder about his story and what moves him.

Over the years, we've been treated to these delicious, intriguing characters and many times we are moved to tears when their stories are finally revealed to us. Several years ago, I got caught up in the HBO show Deadwood. Al Swearingon (played by Ian McShane) kept me rivetted. No he wasn't necessarily sexy but there was this outwardly evil/inwardly vulnerable aspect to the character. Perfectly played by McShane, we wondered at a man who could kill without blinking yet secretly, completely behind the scenes, do something GOOD. When his character was in a scene, he filled the screen. I felt the same way about Vic Mackey (played brilliantly by Michael Chikliss) in The Shield. Yes, we know he is bad and does bad things but every now and then we saw his good side and loved him for it.

These are just a few of my all time favorite villains. Who are your favorite bad boys or anti-heroes and why do YOU think we love them so much?

16 comments:

julia barrett said...

Oh honey, you already know how hot I am for Eric! He rocks my world! My favorite romantic literature bad boy? Jamie from Outlander. Claire annoys me, but Jamie - OMG! He is my ideal man.

Anne Rainey said...

There really is something about those bad guys. Silar (sp?) from Heroes springs to mind. He's so evil, but the show wouldn't be the same if he weren't.

And don't forget about the evil women! There's been several of those over the years. Heather Locklear always made a great villian.

Paris said...

Anyone read Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series? I love Edward. He has that chilling, scary veneer but the more I found out about him the more I was drawn in. He still gives me the shivers, think I'll have to re-read those books;-)

Anny Cook said...

Haven't watched the series, but have read all Charlaine's books. Eric is an interesting character. Bill is opaque in the books. You just keep wanting to kick him because he refuses to explain anything. So it sounds like he's very different in the TV series.

Regina Carlysle said...

I love Laurel K Hamilton, Paris. Did you hear they are doing a tv deal for Anita Blake? I heard the channel but it was a kind of obscure one so I'll have to investigate. And YES, Edward is WAY spooky.

Regina Carlysle said...

I think the series is somewhat different from the books BUT many of those who love the books also love the series.

Regina Carlysle said...

I loooove Heather Locklear and she made a great villaness because she's just so downright gorgeous and almost innocent looking.

Which reminds me...villains don't always have to be disgusting looking with bad teeth and all that. The best villains, I think, are the gorgeous ones. Beauty doesn't always equate with goodness.

Kelley Nyrae said...

I have a thing for bad boys too. I think a lot of women do. They're dangerous and exciting. Not sure I would want one in real life but love them in my books and shows.

I'm starting to get into Eric more and more too.

Taylor Tryst said...

OMG, R, HOT pics of Eric. Really, who could resist a hot viking vamp?

I still love Bill and Sookie, their love is almost an innocent love, you know. So honest and open. He's her first, and she loves him so deeply, but how many women actually stay with their first? She's going to change, grow, and well, Bill isn't and I find that sad. But, I can hardly wait for the new season!

Bad boys, oh, hell yeah! How can they not appeal? I think I've even fallen for one in real life. ;}

Yes, bad boys and well written villains always have layers, and once you start peeling those layers back sometimes what's revealed is startling.

The ultimate villain for me is Hannibal Lecter from The Silence of the Lambs. Can't help but like him even if he does eat people. lol

Anyone who's watched Dexter on Showtime would get this, but you could almost look at Dexter as a anti-hero. He's a blood spatter analyst by day, and a serial killer who kills serial killers by night. Is it wrong? Yes. Do I LOVE him? Absolutely, can't help it. This is my favorite show, after True Blood, of course!!!!!!!!!!

Great blog, Reg.

Regina Carlysle said...

I've just started watching Dexter and I know exactly what you mean. He looks innocuous and almost innocent until he starts to stalk and kill someone. Very creepy and he's such a great actor.

Melissa Bradley said...

My current bad boy is Jax on Sons of Anarchy. I don't normally go for blonds, but OMG he just lays me out. I also got the hots for Gaius Baltar on Battle Star Galactica. He was such a snake, but he had these moments where I just wanted to scoop him right up.

Edward in Anita Blake is ice hot. My fave books in the series are those he has a role in. And a shout out to Julia, I love Jamie, too.

Fran Lee said...

Unfortunately, I don't have HBO so I have not the foggiest notion of the men you are discussing. However...when it comes to bad guys, You know what Father Flanagan of Boys Town used to say..."there is no such thing as a bad boy"? We women respond to the touch of sexy danger. Of course, in real like we don't react the same way unless we are masochistic. LOL! To fantasize is one thing...to face it in reality is quite another. Especially when you really can't change him, and he is destructive and evil. Been there...done that.

I suppose that's why so many women fall for ex-cons or murderers on death row. We tend to idealize them when they don't deserve it. Many of them are vicious and rotten to the core. We tens to fantasize...until we are staring it in the eye.

Regina Carlysle said...

Jax IS hot. Oddly, I usually go for dark guys but lately there have been some damn hot blond's showing up on the big and small screen. Must be in my head because my current WIP features a blond hero. Um...Jason of True Blood? Blond and HOT. Eric...blond and hot. The list goes on.

Regina Carlysle said...

I think in real life we are attracted to the bad boy with the mistaken idea we can change him. Those of us who are older know that is highly unlikely. Still...it's fun to fantasize about that guy who has many secrets just waiting for you to uncover them.

Jen said...

Oooooh Eric! Well Regina you already know I love me some Eric. He really wasn't on my radar last season but this season with that shorter hair, he just did it for me. I like the bad boy vampires. I loved James in Twilight, I'm all about Eric, and now on Vampire Diaries I am loving Damon.

Adrianne Brennan said...

Eric is hawt. And oh yeah, bad boys are wicked fun :D