At the center of every great TV series, is a villain that viewers love to hate. These villains help propel the narrative forward as they introduced new obstacles for the other characters.
Some of those villains made it to the list of our favorite big bads of the decade.
Please remember that with have almost two dozen favorites lists that we couldn't showcase every show on every list, so we parsed them out a bit to make it more fun.
And these lists are not in any particular order. They're in the order the entries were received by TV Fanatic staff, so don't read into them!
To qualify, a show that began in another decade had to be airing during the decade, run a larger number of seasons from 2010 through 2019 if it started before 2010 or run the entire decade. Here we go!
Red John, The Mentalist - CBS (2008-2015)
No one who watched The Mentalist will ever forget Red John, the sadistic serial killer who murdered Patrick Jane’s wife and daughter and then, as with all of his other victims, left a smiley face on the wall above them drawn in their own blood.
Red John had his own personal flair, using the William Blake poem, “Tyger, Tyger” as his calling card. From the very first episode, Red John drove the series as he tormented Jane and outwitted law enforcement.
The mystery surrounding Red John’s identity was at a fever pitch by season 6 when his identity was finally revealed.
With so many fan theories over six seasons, some still argue whether the “real Red John” was Sheriff MacAllister, but whether you agree with the final outcome or not, the Red John saga won’t easily be forgotten.
Gustavo Fring, Breaking Bad - AMC (2008-2013)
It can be argued that Walter was the true villain of the show, but given that he was the protagonist I will guess we will go with his main adversary instead.
What made Gus such a great villain was how layered he was. The man had two faces, which is ironic given his demise. To the rest of the world, he was the charming, albeit dorky, entrepreneur who created a chain of fast-food chicken restaurants.
Who would have ever guessed he was a drug king-pin who developed a distribution network that made him virtually untouchable, even to the Mexican cartel.
Throughout the majority of his time on the show, you were left questioning if he was really all that bad. It was only in his most desperate moments where his true dark side came out.
The Mind Flayer, Stranger Things - Netflix (2016-present)
While Stranger Things has featured creatures such as the Demogorgon and Demodogs, the Mind Flayer is the real mastermind behind the chaos imposed on our favorite group of kids.
The Mind Flayer has been plotting for years on how to take over the real world as it hides in the Upside Down and has been the indirect cause of some of our favorite characters deaths (though we still believe Hopper is alive).
Who knows what the Mind Flayer has in store for Hawkins residents next, all we know is that as long as they have Eleven, the Mind Flayer will never win.
Jerome Valeska, Gotham - FOX (2014-2019)
There were many villains on Gotham who could have made the grade for big bad of the decade, but Jerome Valeska was the most memorable and scariest of the bunch.
When we first met Jerome, we knew he was special. Everything about him reeked of insanity and although he left our screens for a short time, when he returned full force, he made a huge impact on Gotham's world -- and not in a good way.
He was played to perfection by Cameron Monaghan and despite his evil nature, quickly became a fan favorite. Jerome was at his prime as leader of the Maniax who wreaked havoc on the citizens of Gotham -- from hijacking a bus full of high school cheerleaders to corrupting Barbara Kean to killing a beloved police commissioner, Jerome had everyone on edge.
His first death at the hands of Theo Galavan was shocking and devastating, but he later returned thanks to experiments by Hugo Strange. Then, he became a more evil, calculating nightmare setting his sights on Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon until his ultimate demise.
Katherine Pierce aka Katerina Petrova - The Vampire Diaries (2009-2017)
Elena Gilbert’s doppelganger was her polar opposite. Katherine popped up and caused carnage before slipping off into the night for a few seasons.
Her return on the series finale, after becoming the Queen of Hell was the perfect arc for her. The person she loved the most taking her down was the icing on the cake to complete this plot.
Fiona Goode - American Horror Story FX (2011-Present)
Fiona is the supreme for a reason. She is a bad-ass woman, and one would not recommend getting on her bad side. Her reign of madness, in an effort to keep her abilities, made Fiona such a delicious character to watch on screen.
Her power, sharp tongue, and complete selfishness puts her in the category of a great baddie, but she also had a great vulnerability and fear of death that made an audience empathize with her choices.
Those choices being to kill several witches and send another with a vodoman in an effort to remain the supreme. We can’t all be perfect.
I’d even say she could be considered a character to the decade.
Killgrave - Jessica Jones Netflix (2015 - 2019)
The power of persuasion is one thing, but this villain was on another level. His ability to get anyone to do anything he said was terrifying.
He had such unlimited capabilities because he could control almost anyone with just a word. Add to that his complete lack of responsibility for his actions, he was really a loose cannon.
He killed his parents. Granted, his parents did cause this by experimenting on him, but still. His poor mental state definitely puts him higher in the terror range.
Blaine DeBeers - iZombie - The CW (2015 - 2019)
As much as Liv Moore was the lovable protagonist of iZombie, the series wouldn’t have been the same without the undeniable talent of David Anders as Blaine De Beers.
He took a character who could have been a one-note evil villain and added layers and textures to him, and somehow made a child killer an endearing character. The fascinating part of Blaine was how he managed to flow in and out of being a villain, antagonist, and an anti-hero throughout the course of the season.
He was mostly self-serving from beginning to end, but at times, his interests would align with the supernatural scooby-doo gang, and he would become a begrudging ally. Blaine’s villainy had depth, and he was witty, sarcastic, and fun to watch. A villain you hated to love and loved to hate.
White Rose - Mr. Robot - USA (2015-2019)
White Rose and the Dark Army proved to be a formidable opponent for Elliot.
The reach of which she had made her menacing and ever-present. She via the Dark Army could reach anyone, anywhere, at anytime, which put many people in her crosshairs, and left a trail of bodies through the course of the series.
She had power, prestige, and she was as much of a mental opponent as she was a physical one. She used every tactic in her repertoire with success to reign terror down upon Elliot and his allies.
Keeping along with the theme of this series being groundbreaking and radical in everything it has done and explored, White Rose also had a depth and was an interesting character study as a powerful transgender woman who while terrorizing Elliot to the best of her abilities was not devoid of the pressures and pitfalls of a transphobic society who doesn’t embrace her.
Her vulnerability made her a compelling villain despite what she was doing, and BD Wong was exceptional in the role.
Lucious Lyon - Empire - FOX (2015- Present)
As the head of the Lyon family, Lucious more often than not was the Lyons worst enemy. He’s greedy, conniving, manipulative, and self-serving.
He was emotionally abusive to those around him, and he stopped at nothing to get what he wants. He was relentless and had no limits.
When he’s on your side, he’s the best type of ally, but when he’s against you, he’s a hell of an opponent. Every Lyon has experienced both sides of Lucious. The list for Decade “Big Bad” wouldn’t be complete without him.
Victoria & Conrad Grayson - Revenge - ABC (2011-2015)
For ABC’s soapy and intriguing drama Revenge to succeed, we needed a ruthless villain to root against as we cheered on Emily Thorne. That villain turned out to be the dastardly married pair of Victoria and Conrad Grayson.
The Graysons were the final goal in Emily’s long-standing revenge plan of returning to the Hamptons. They were responsible for framing Emily’s father for the plane crash and they purposely ruined her life when she was still Amanda Clarke.
In addition to that, Conrad and Victoria were both cold-hearted people who would easily destroy anyone who got in their way of happiness. Conrad utilized more of a business approach while Victoria played the coldest mind games.
It may have taken seasons, but we cheered on when Emily/Amanda could finally get the opportunity to sharpie their faces from her hit list. These are two big bads that have earned their spot on the list!
Jamie Moriarty, Elementary- (2012- 2019)
Natalie Dormer absolutely killed the role of a female Moriarty, Sherlock's infamous nemesis on Elementary.
She was alluring, mysterious, and sexy. She had a fascinating hold on Sherlock -- manipulating him into falling in love with her -- that made her a worthy adversary with dimension.
Who is YOUR favorite big bad of the decade?