Random thoughts on our impending doom and everyday life, courtesy of a Romance Writer who occasionally feels the need to talk like a Sailor.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Bad Boys... or, the Art of the Anti-Hero.

Han Solo was the first Anti-Hero to ever cross my path. But he wasn’t bad. Not really. Or he was a safe sort of bad. Yes, he was only out for himself and looked awesomely dashing in tight pants. He had a blaster on his hip and he knew how to use it. His best-friend could tear people apart without trying but was a big cuddle bunny at heart. Han was a bit of a rapscallion was he, but he wasn’t out to hurt anyone. To my young, impressionable, girly mind he was just right. And he came through in the end, didn't he? Risking his life for the universe. He won the Princess and got given a medal, he even danced with Ewoks. Or was that Chewie? No matter. Bravo!

But it’s about more than a willingness to thumb their nose at the establishment, this Anti-Hero business. Many moons later a certain Captain Malcolm Reynolds (in pants not unlike those of Han Solo’s) would seduce us with his wild ways. All Mal wants is to keep his crew alive and his ship flying, and quite how he manages that each episode was a true delight. The Captain deals in the grey areas, juggling right and wrong as needs be in his quest to continue. Strikes me there’s a certain charm to these rogues.  A wily tongue and quick wit are often on deck, along with a jaded outlook. They’re men that know how to handle themselves. Some just exude these qualities, no matter what side they’re standing.

Take Alan Rickman for instance. Who wasn’t a teensy bit disappointed when Robin Hood done the dastardly Sherriff in at the end of the movie? Yes, he was bad, but he was so GOOD at being bad. Oh, Good Lord was he GOOD! Kevin Costner kind of paled in comparison, bum flash and all. And when Alan faced off against Bruce Willis in Die Hard(still the best Christmas movie of all time, my friends)? Oh, damn, dead again. But didn’t he shine... strutting around the sky-scraper, snapping out one-liners like they were going out of style. Sigh. Seeing him as Snape was a treat, lank black hair and all. Alan is genius eternal.

How about Mark Sheppard? He only needs to walk on screen and you know trouble’s afoot.  Whether as Badger on Firefly, Crowley in Supernatural or (squee!!) Canton Everett Delaware III in Doctor Who he steals the scene. He’s a dash of chaos, pure and simple. He even turned up in Battlestar Gallactica as a dubious lawyer. With a cat. Nothing is every clear and simple, there are degrees of right and wrong.

But when our Anti's step over the line? Toeing it is fine and good and expected but some take things a little too far. Al Swearengen from Deadwood comes to mind, as charismatic and brutal as he was. Then there's Cullen Bohannon from Hell on Wheels. He's been knocking off naughty types aplenty in his quest for revenge. Has he gone too far? Season 2 will tell. Has he lost his chance with Lilly Bell, the fair haired maiden of the west? He's a tortured Anti-Hero, the best kind.

Anti-heroes keep things interesting. They’re complex, complicated creatures who just need a good woman to sort them out, they do (yes, I know Canton’s gay, relax my purist Whovian friend).  Enough from me. Another thin pretext to put up pictures of hot guys and Lego characters nicely completed. No, I don’t know what that combination of interests says about me. Nor do I want to.

Got an Anti-Hero I should have mentioned? See you in the comments...


  1. How about Spike from Buffy? Or Crais from Farscape?

  2. You caught me, Pippa. I'm thinking of doing a Whedonesque post next week. As for Frascape, I only watched a few episodes despite Ben's very nice leather pants. The DH didn't get into it sadly. I may just have to rebel and watch it on my own one of these days.

  3. Some of the stories are...well, I have to skip them - plot holes galore! But I own all the series DVDs and the film version. I love Farscape. :)