The Best of 2015: Defiance Villainy is Fun!

Monday, December 28, 2015 - 07:00

Rahm Tak rules.

Sure, he's a horrible supervillain n' all, but he's arguably the most entertaining character of Defiance Season Three (and that's saying something). He's bizarre, unpredictable ... and, let's face it, often rather hilarious, even (especially?) when he's eating human ears. We always want him to have a lot of dialogue, just so we can hear what strange spin he'll put on the reading of them. And when he hit Alak across the face with a freakin' chain? Hardcore.

There can never be too much Rahm Tak. Here are some other crazy bad guys that make villainy look like a total blast.

  1. Betelgeuse (Beetlejuice, 1988)



    The self-described 'bio-exorcist' and Ghost with the Most, Betelgeuse arguably remains Michael Keaton's most memorable character, a creature of such manic energy, humor and menace that he makes you believe that he actually has more than, like, 15 minutes of total screen time. Rumors abound that Keaton and Tim Burton are conjuring up a sequel, which would be to the delight of K-Mart shoppers everywhere. Damn sandworms ...
     
  2. Jack Napier/The Joker (Batman, 1989)



    Heath Ledger's punk rock anarchist of The Dark Knight may now be the default portrayal of the modern-day zeitgeist, but Jack Nicholson's more (much more) manic performance makes for an unforgettable Clown Prince of Crime in its own right. The sight of him defacing Gotham's art museum to the tune of Prince's "Party Man" always brings a smile to our faces.
     
  3. The Sheriff of Nottingham (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, 1991)



    The film is unfortunately more remembered for Kevin Costner's butchering of the English accent, but the crown jewel of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves will always be Alan Rickman's droll, occasionally cartoonish portrayal of the villainous Sheriff. Whether he's ordering his minions to "call off Christmas" or turning an attempted rape into a slapstick act, Rickman brings the bad as only a Shakespearean-trained stage actor can.
     
  4. Dr. Evil (the Austin Powers series, 1997-2002)



    Dr. Evil was Mike Myers' favorite of his many Austin Powers characters, and it shows -- his glee at playing the diabolical mastermind from Bruges is infectious, making for some of the Powers series' most inspired satire (and biggest laughs). The good (bad) doctor has lost none of his authority in the world of supervillainy, either -- he made an appearance on Saturday Night Live in December 2014 to address the Sony Pictures/North Korea hacking scandal.
     
  5. Biff Tannen (the Back to the Future series, 1985-1990)



    We all love Marty and Doc, but the true MVP of the Back to the Future trilogy is Thomas F. Wilson as the many incarnations and relatives of Biff Tannen. Wilson's Biff is a force of nature, going from a buffonish high school bully in 1955 to a murderous millionaire psychopath in a dystopian 1985, where he's graduated from the occasional punch and knock on the head ("Hello? Anybody in there?") to planning to kill "two McFlys ... with the same gun!" Of course, even when he's a super-rich maniac, he's still Biff, which means there's always a sense of bumbling incompetence to his machinations. Butthead. 
     
  6. Dr. Horrible (Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, 2008)



    "The world is a mess, and I just ... need to rule it." The mad scientist and aspiring supervillain with "a Ph.D in Horribleness" makes for one of Joss Whedon's greatest creations, brought perfectly to life by Neil Patrick Harris. Dr. Horrible wants nothing more than to become a member of Bad Horse's Evil League of Evil ... until he meets Penny, the lovely laundromat lass who unfortunately starts seeing his obnoxious superhero nemesis, Captain Hammer. Get ready to root for the bad guy ... who's not all that bad, really.
     
  7. Hades (Hercules, 1997)



    One of Disney's most inspired bits of voice casting is James Woods as Hades, the jealous brother of Zeus who plots and schemes to overthrow his sibling and rule Mount Olympus. Woods' heavily ad-libbed portrayal turned the menacing Greek god into a cross between a Hollywood agent and used car salesman; indeed, his mile-a-minute speaking style made for quite the challenge for the Hercules animation team.
     
  8. Dark Helmet (Spaceballs, 1987)



    "I can't breath in this thing!" A parody of himself and his own mythology from the start, Dark Helmet is the perfect icon for a world in which "jamming their radar" means actually shooting hundreds of gallons of jam ("Raspberry!") at a spaceship. Sure, Rick Moranis had played this kind of character many times before (and would continue to thereafter), though he seems to especially be enjoying putting a spoofy Star Wars spin on his loathsome talent manager from Streets of Fire (1984), demanding his crew take their vessel to "ludicrous speed" and getting hit in the face by the camera when it moves in for a dramatic closeup.

All month long we're counting down the Best of 2015. If you are so inclined, the complete list is here.