Official Ranking of TV's Bad Boys, Because Hey, They're Not All the Same
If there's one television trope that won't die, it's the "bad boy" who somehow gets the "good girl" to fall for him — whether he catches her afterward is an entirely different story. Bad boys come in many varieties — they are no longer all leather-wearing bikers from the proverbial "wrong side of the tracks" — but viewers still know immediately when one graces the TV screen. But while all of these boys were labeled bad, some of them were really, really bad — and some you wouldn't actually hate to bring home to mom. Check out this list of TV's best bad boys, ranked by overall "badness."
Image: The CW
#14: Noah "Puck" Puckerman, 'Glee'
Who He Is: A former McKinley High football player and member of New Directions.
How Bad Is Bad?: Since he’s the least bad “bad boy” on this list, not very — and definitely not anymore. He used to be the school bully, but even that he did without much heart — sure, he threw kids in dumpsters but never really seemed particularly malicious about it, almost as if he was just going through the motions. Now that he’s out of high school he’s calmed down a bit… and he finally got Quinn, the girl of his dreams.
#13: Jordan Catalano, 'My So-Called Life'
Who He Is: Everyone’s 90s crush and the soulful object of Angela’s affections.
How Bad Is Bad?: Well, he does sleep with Angela’s best friend, which is awful, but other than that, Jordan’s “bad boy” ways are a cover for his real problem — he has a terrible learning disability that makes school particularly challenging. He may hang with a “wild” crowd, but he’s not really a bad boy — he just has the hair.
#12: Sean Cameron, 'Degrassi: The Next Generation'
Who He Is: The ultimate crush of my pre-teen days, for one. Also a student with a terrible family situation who got in “one little fight” and accidentally deafened his opponent in one ear.
How Bad Is Bad?: Sean’s “badness” mostly stems from his anger issues, which can be traced back to his less-than-stellar home life. Unlike many bad boys, Sean is surprisingly self-aware and learns in the latter seasons how to appropriately channel his emotions.
#11: Jess Mariano, 'Gilmore Girls'
Who He Is: The angsty nephew of diner owner Luke and love interest of Rory.
How Bad Is Bad?: Not so much “bad” as just kind of lazy. Despite being an avid reader, Jess prefers skipping school and working at Walmart to actually attending classes, something that drives a wedge between him and Rory. He was a bit of a troublemaker in the early seasons, but nothing tragic — he was basically just a lost kid looking for direction. Luckily, he finds it, and in Season 6 is shown having published a novel.
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#10: Liam Court, '90210'
Who He Is: An East Coast arrival who, apparently, has a very limited shirt collection.
How Bad Is Bad?: Ehh. When Liam first popped up on the scene, he was slated to be the reboot’s Dylan McKay, and he definitely was a sketchy guy — he hit on Naomi’s best friend in front of her face, drag raced, and ditched school in favor of illegally working as a bartender. His “bad boy” days didn’t last very long, as by the second season he was slated as good girl Annie’s love interest and lost most of his bite.
#9: Killian Jones, 'Once Upon A Time'
Who He Is: Captain Hook.
How Bad Is Bad?: I mean, he is a pirate, so there’s that. Killian is mostly motivated to do bad things out of revenge for the death of his one true love, which isn’t particularly healthy, but not the most evil motivation in the world. In the later seasons he finds love again with Emma Swan, and that really calms him down.
#8: Chuck Bass, 'Gossip Girl'
Who He Is: A billionaire hotel heir and love interest of Blair.
How Bad Is Bad?: Bad, though the show seemed to forget some of the truly terrible things that Chuck did before he swept Blair off her feet. The pilot episode alone shows Chuck attempting to hook up with not one, but two unwilling girls. He’s also the shows resident playboy and is often seen hooking up with prostitutes and doing a whole bunch of drugs — when he’s not pining for Blair, of course. Thankfully, over time, Chuck becomes a much better person, which is the only reason why he isn’t ranked higher on this list.
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#7: Eric Northman, 'True Blood'
Who He Is: A former viking turned vampire.
How Bad Is Bad?: Again, the vampire thing doesn’t exactly help matters. He’s ruthless and cold and only cares for a handful of people. Though he did have feelings for main character Sookie at one point, Eric is classic bad boy in the sense that he’s not exactly ready to settle down. The reason that I can’t write Eric off as the truly baddest boy on this list is because of his whole fang situation — it’s probably for the best that he stays single.
#6: Tim Riggins, 'Friday Night Lights'
Who He Is: The fullback of the Dillon Panthers.
How Bad Is Bad?: Riggins isn’t a bad person, which is the only reason why he doesn’t rank higher on this list. But just because he never really means to do any harm doesn’t mean that he’s not a huge mess. He sleeps with his best friend’s girlfriend, drowns his problems in alcohol, and eventually winds up in prison.
#5: Dylan McKay, 'Beverly Hills, 90210'
Who He Is: The center of the love triangle between Brenda and
How Bad Is Bad?: Well, he’s not the ideal boyfriend, that’s for sure. In addition to his recurring substance abuse problems, he’s also likely to cheat on you with your best friend. Unfortunately it’s hard to hate Dylan completely, and I guess his one-time girlfriend, Kelly, agreed — it was revealed that they had a son together in the spinoff.
#4: Logan Echolls, 'Veronica Mars'
Who He Is: The son of a movie star and reformed high school bully who eventually woos Veronica. (LoVe forever.)
How Bad Is Bad?: Badder than I would like to admit, actually. At the beginning of the series, Logan is shown doing particularly heinous things like paying homeless men to fight one another and buying roofies for a high school party. Logan’s dangerous and disturbing behavior is later revealed to be a side effect of his father’s physical and mental abuse, but it doesn’t exactly excuse it.
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#3: Damon Salvatore, 'The Vampire Diaries'
Who He Is: A vampire who put the moves on his brother’s girl.
How Bad Is Bad?: Well, he’s a vampire, so there’s always going to be that strike against him. Damon is kind of a jerk most of the time and, like most vampires, occasionally “slips up” and murders an innocent bystander for blood. Unlike his “nice” vampire brother, Stefan, Damon embraces the fact that he has the animalistic tendencies all vampires have, and doesn’t apologize for it. Damon does get some points for his protection of Elena and the people important to her — he may be cruel at times, but at least he can feel love.
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#2: Kevin Volchok, 'The O.C.'
Who He Is: A surfer from the public high school (ew!) who somehow wins over Marissa Cooper’s heart. And by somehow, we mean obviously, because damn did Marissa love her troubled teens.
How Bad Is Bad?: The worst. Not only did Volchok do generally douchey things like cheat on Marissa on prom night, but he also ran her off the road, causing the accident that resulted in her death. Avoid this dude like the plague… even if he does look like Cam Gigandet.
#1: Tate Langdon, 'American Horror Story: Murder House'
Who He Is: The ghost of a school shooter who romances the new resident of the murder house.
How Bad Is Bad?: Not only did Tate shoot up his high school, but he also set his mother’s boyfriend on fire, raped his girlfriend’s mom, and murdered the former residents of the house out of homophobia. Tate may be a beautiful boy, but he is the physical embodiment of evil — even if he doesn’t always act like it. He tops this list because no one else can compete with creating a devil spawn.