We root for heroes, but a TV show needs villains.
2022 had plenty of manipulators and monsters to keeping us riveted while make our skin crawl.
These characters are vile, and we wouldn’t have them any other way.
Check out TV Fanatic’s picks for the villains of 2022 we love to hate.
Monet de Hann – Gossip Girl (HBO Max)
Monet was on the periphery of the first season of the reboot, but the writers clearly understood Savannah Lee Smith was the strongest cast member and rewarded her with a deliciously villainous arc on Gossip Girl Season 2.
Monet is one of the richest characters on TV, and despite her mean streak on full display, there are some redeeming qualities.
This type of character is difficult to pull off, but I can’t wait to see what becomes of Monet beyond the second season.
Hopefully, we get a third season!
Eric Tao – Industry (HBO)
You can argue that either everyone is a villain on Industry or no one is.
It’s certainly the case with Harper, who very well may deserve a mention of her own, and her mentor with a deliciously bad streak, Eric Tao.
When Industry got some as incredible as Ken Leung to bring this complex character to life, it was no wonder we’d go mad for Eric and all of his clever backstabbing, undercuts, manipulation, plotting, and scheming.
Eric is playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers, and you never know for sure in this cutthroat, self-serving world if you’re supposed to root for him or not, but you want to anyway.
Christine – Astrid and Lilly Save the World (SYFY)
Christine got featured throughout most of the season as someone serving the higher villain and by being an all-around bad mother and person.
Despite her actions throughout the season, we couldn’t help but be intrigued by Geri Hall’s portrayal of the troubled mother.
She had many of the most memorable scenes from the show, including when she “saved a man’s soul” by sleeping with him.
Even though she released the big bag into the world, we still felt devastated for her daughter, Candance, when Christine got killed.
Dr. Cherise Nuland – The Peripheral (Amazon Prime)
Dr. Nuland intrigued us wither her appearances on The Peripheral Season 1.
Played brilliantly by T’Nia Miller, Dr. Nuland proved to be a constant threat to Flynne and her family.
Although we aren’t sure just how powerful she may be, she comes off as one of the most menacing characters on the show — impressive considering the competition.
Her face-off with Flynne — inside of a Peripheral — showed Cherise has some weaknesses. Hopefully, a potential season two will see them battling it out again.
Lupe – Acapluco (Apple TV+)
If you’re looking for an empathetic department head who will cater to your needs, Lupe isn’t the boss for you.
And don’t even think about trying to date her niece!
From her tyrannical hold on the lost and found to her low tolerance for fun on the job, Lupe isn’t easy on the laundromat workers under her domain, but she’s a hoot for the viewers at home.
She also delivers a show-stopping number during the show’s Christmas episode and is full of surprises.
John Kresse – Cobra Kai (Netflix)
Kreese has been the villain from the very beginning; 1984’s The Karate Kid and Cobra Kai would have the authenticity it has without his presence there.
Whereas Johnny Lawrence has become a happenstance and dynamic protagonist, Kreese remains a steadfast and formidable obstacle.
We have learned a lot about his backstory, found sympathy for some of his tragedies, and even rooted in his triumph over Silver’s betrayal, but Kreese remains a baddie even though his intentions are well-meant. He may go down, but you can never count him out.
It’s no accident his escape on the Cobra Kai Season 5 finale brings to mind Hannibal Lector’s prison break-out, and his strolling off screams Tom Ripley or Keyser Soze. John Kreese is a villain cast in the mold of some of the most brilliant scoundrels who always return.
Sunny Balwani – Dropout
In this docudrama of notorious fraudster Elizabeth Holmes, Sunny is the idle millionaire who initially forms a friendship with an 18-year-old Elizabeth studying abroad in China.
As the relationship veers from age-inappropriate to worthy of many more red lights, Sunny starts to gradually take control of Elizabeth’s better instincts as a CEO.
Docudramas are at their best when they frame true stories in novel ways. In this version, Elizabeth Holmes — who, don’t get us wrong, is still responsible for her crimes — is a proverbial Othello having her worst instincts culled by Sunny’s Iago figure.
Like all the best villains, there’s a dash of sympathy to the character at the start — he’s lonely, and he sold his life’s invention, so his best years are behind him — before his crimes start to catch up with him.
Adult Misty – Yellowjackets
The first season hasn’t revealed enough to determine the big murderer in the present day, but that’s ok because Misty has done enough bad deeds in the B-plots to qualify her as a villain. Holy cow, she’s ingenious when it comes to evildoing.
On a show as dark as Yellowjackets, Misty has a playful enough personality to balance out Shauna’s resigned trauma and Natalie’s unresolved anger.
Without Misty’s presence, it would be a completely different show.
Frederick Gideon – Locke and Key
At times Locke and Key comes off a little hammy and kid-oriented as the actors play the level of danger pretty broadly.
Kevin Durand, however, must not have gotten the memo when he signed up for the part of back-from-the-dead Revolutionary War General Frederick Gideon.
This dude is appropriately bad to the bone for a man who already hated his American counterparts, is currently possessed by demons and has access to modern technology.
His presence also comes with small doses of fish-out-of-water humor as he learns about cars and glass displays for the first time.
Larys Strong – House of the Dragon
House of the Dragon has no shortage of villains we love to hate, so why does Larys stand above them all?
For one, when it comes to spying and manipulation, he could give Game of Thrones Varys and Littlefinger a run for their money.
Larys evil deeds so far include extorting sexual favors from Alicent, destroying Alicent and Rhaenyra’s friendship, and ordering the deaths of his father and brother.
Now with the Dance of the Dragons beginning in earnest, we can be sure Larys has many more atrocities up his sleeve.
Vecna – Stranger Things
Whether you call him Vecna, Henry Creel, or One, there’s no denying he’s the big bad we’ve been waiting for in dread.
Just about every evil thing in the series can be traced back to him.
He’s responsible for Barb’s death, and Max’s comatose state, and he’s turning Hawkins Upside Down.
A villain this vile needs to be stopped permanently.
Over to you, TV Fanatics!
Who are the villains of 2022 you love to hate?
Did your choices make the list?
Hit the comments below.
Becca Newton is a staff writer for TV Fanatic.