Villains and Character Arcs
In the course of calmingdragon
's recovery, we have worked our way through (or started, or nearly finished) a number of TV series. The advantage of not having any signal to your TV is you can wait for all of the good stuff to emerge on DVD and then devour it - without commercials! - at your leisure.
So we have watched season 1 of Dexter
, most of season 1 of Heroes
, seasons 1 & 2 of House
, started season 2 of Rome
(we finished season 1 before school ended), and have watched the delicious beginning of season 2 of Robot Chicken
. We've also gone through the entire Planet Earth
set, but that's not relevant to this discussion.
No, what I want to talk about is villains, and their utter importance in a series. And my utter frustration when writers are dumb and neglect the character arcs of their villains. Part of the problem, I think, is we watched Dexter
before we watched Heroes
, too. And I think I'm demanding more of my villains because of that.
, the villain is delicious and fleshed out. It is true that Dexter himself is an anti-hero, but the antagonist(s) in the series all have their own arcs and their own, often complex, motivation. Rudy is a tragic character, and there is such emotional gravity to the final scene between Rudy and Dexter that I was actually crying. Even with the other minor characters there is sense of life and purpose and motive. It is what makes for compelling drama and an excellent series. I was sorry to see the arcs end, and I wanted more.
uniquely disappoints in this regard. Sylar? Please. He's a whiny little bitch with an entitlement complex and all the social graces of a maladjusted basement troll. Hurry up and kill him off already before I have to hear another "I'm special" bleat out of him. Linderman? He could be compelling, but I don't know enough about him to really care one way or the other - the only reason I'm glad he's not dead yet is another character (who's just starting to get interesting) would be dead, too. So far there's a lot of arrogance and lies but with the fractured storylines I haven't found anyone I actually CARE about. It's fun pulp and I enjoy the series, but can someone please just nail Sylar to the floor already and give me a villain that I'm conflicted about?
My apologies; I was going further with this but my brain went dumb. So here's a question for this tiny little community: Has there ever been a show or movie you are passionately in love with that does not have a clearly defined villain? (For clarity: when villains are needed for the series-long arc? For instance, Doctor Who
is bad about developing the villains, but it's so campy I don't care. Also, the villains are more foils/props than actual characters.) What are they? What did you like about them?
And am I off my rocker for demanding villains be 3-dimensional? Current Mood: awake