Television’s Three Best Villains
by Tommy Garrett – canyon-news.com
HOLLYWOOD—Television has always had enduring villains. In the early days of television they were men who rode horses and wore black hats on westerns. In the ‘60s and ‘70s we had the robber on a television cop series like “Policewoman,” “Colombo” or “Quincy, M.E.” Then there is that enduring vampire Barnabas Collins who started out on “Dark Shadows” as a bad guy and ended up becoming a sex symbol to women of all ages from teenagers to the elderly on the soap genre.
Since that era, television has been trying to equate wicked and bad people to exciting and fun entertainment. The episode of “Dallas” that featured Bing Crosby’s daughter Mary as Kristin Shepherd, who shot her brother-in-law, J.R. Ewing was perhaps the most famous episode of any show on television to date. Then we had Aaron Spelling who decided to make Joan Collins his vixen and his villain on the hit series “Dynasty.” Fans remember the first cover of TV Guide that referred to Collins’s Alexis Morale Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan as a [bitch] was censored by some store managers who refused to put that issue out at the checkout stand.
How times have changed. What hasn’t changed is that for today’s producers and writers women still make more exciting villains on television than their male counterparts. On ABC’s hit daytime drama “General Hospital,” we have Helena Cassadine, played brilliantly by award winning actress and former movie star from Columbia Studios Constance Towers. Though Constance is the classiest and most wonderful person on the planet her character Helena is far less so.
Helena has attacked, shot, stabbed and even murdered people on the show. Those crimes were committed just against her family. As for Helena’s deeds against Luke and Laura, they have become infamous. Freezing the earth, bringing dead son Stavros back to life, throwing good son Stefan off a yacht leaving him to drown are just some of the crimes which make Helena the all time top daytime villain of television. Robert Guza’s behind Helena’s powerful descent into darkness.
We have Bill Bell, Sr. and Bradley P. Bell of CBS’s “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful” to thank for bringing us the Queen of Darkness in Sheila Carter. Kimberlin Brown created one of the most lethal killers of daytime history. Sheila’s rap sheet reads like a Russian novel. Not even Rasputin could have survived her deadly clutches. Sheila Carter kidnapped a baby, killed a man with bees, shot Stephanie Forrester on “B&B” leaving her for dead, shooting Brooke Logan and Dr. Taylor Forrester on the same show and we will never forget Sheila’s poisoning of Stephanie with mercury or kidnapping her psychiatrist Dr. James Warwick and tying him up in her Bel Air, Calif. dungeon. All in the name of love. That’s one of the constant excuses for the dark haired psychopath. Love is what she does it all for.
Now to HBO’s hit show “True Blood” where there are any number of villains that include vampires and just mean old rednecks from Louisiana. Leave it to director Alan Ball who created the series to choose a former soap actress in Michelle Forbes who was on the long running drama “Guiding Light” to be tapped as the resident villain for Bon Temps.
Forbes plays Maryann, an ancient maenad that has possessed the souls of the innocent and stupid in Bon Temps. Forbes plays the role with a supernatural twist. The scene where she used her mind to emit a razor cutting pitch that scattered the evil minions she was livid with for screwing up her chances of having Sam Merlotte as the deadly sacrifice is one of the things Forbes gets to delve into and play.
Eating people’s hearts is a bit over the top, but that’s what makes “True Blood” and television’s villains so fun and exciting to watch. Seeing women, who historically have been the caregivers in society and rarely the warriors, become warriors of darkness is a sexy image on the small screen and these three ladies in Towers, Brown and Forbes have epitomized what beautiful young women in Hollywood can do as bad girls on TV.