Ever since New Jersey mobster Tony Soprano played by the much-loved and much missed James Gandolfini exploded onto our TV screens in 1999 the distinction between "good guy and "bad guy" wasn't as easy to tell apart as it had been in previous years. No longer was it black and white, good and evil. In its place was heroic villains, flawed heroes. We wanted to root and still do root for the bad guys. Below is a list of my top five favourite TV antiheros
1. Vic Mackey (The Shield)
Not a cop that you would want to get on the wrong side off. This guy routinely beat suspects, planted evidence and committed murder more than once including a fellow cop in the very first episode. Nothing on there makes you think that he is good in anyway but he always did it for a reason. When he shot a cop in the face it was to.protect his team. When the strike team ripped of the Armenian mob it was so that He would have enough money to provide for his autistic son and when he tortured and eventually executed a brutal drug Lord he was doing it out revenge for his friend even though it later transpired it was one of his team. He kept up this up whilst evading arrest for seven riveting seasons. The end for him was fitting as he wasn't killed or sent to jail but he ended up with nothing or no one. A truly masterful TV show with one the greatest TV characters ever created.
2. Tony Soprano (The Soprano)
New Jersey mobster Tony Soprano murdered or ordered the murder of countless people, cheated on his wife multiple times and drove a mistress to suicide. Not many redeemable qualities but what saves him from totally lost is the fact that behind the mask is a decent man trying to get out. A man who loves his wife, provides for his family. True he does this and then some but I suspect that deep down he wishes he didn't have to take the road that he went down. No wonder he had counselling....
3 Walter White (Breaking Bad)
A murderous, child poisoning, lying, conniving drug Lord? Doesn't sound like the type of person you will see in church however what sets Walter white apart is the circumstances that forced his hand. Working as a high school chemistry teacher and having to work a second more demeaning job at a car wash because the school pays so poorly, times are hard and money is really tight. Things don't get better when he is diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer so with nothing to lose he tracks down an old high school pupil who his DEA brother in law had been tracking and together they decide to cook and sell methamphetamine to raise money to provide for his family after his death. Very noble but the money and notoriety turns Walter from a well meaning family man to ruthless drug kingpin and we loved every second of it
4 Doug Ross ( Er)
A heavy drinking womaniser and liar paediatrician Dr Doug Ross was a complete and total shitbag at times but at the same time he was extremely good at his job even going as so far to break the rules to save a child's life. His personal life may have left a lot to be desired but his passion for saving children even if it meant putting them closest to him in trouble made him a character you couldn't help but to root for. However he went a step to far when he gave the mother of the terminally Ill child he was caring for the code to administer a lethal dose that ended the child's suffering and now facing criminal charges and the threat of his fiances clinic being shut down and the prospect of losing his best friend, he subsequently decided to hand in his resignation.
5 Hank Moody (Californication)
A drug taking, heavy drinking, cheating womaniser who just happens to be a hugely successful writer, this guy is a total dick right? Well yes and no. True he did some questionable things like sleeping with countless married woman, getting into countless altercations with the law and more infamously unwittingly and unknowingly having underage sex with a minor but what made him redeemable was the fact that he loved his daughter and desperately wanted to be with his beloved and even succeeding on occasions but always managing to find a way of screwing it up.
There you have it..my top 5 TV anti heroes
What are yours?