I was going to write a “biggest badasses” of TV list, but that’s a bit too easy as there are just so many to chose from. When writing that list in my head, I realized that a lot of my choices were coming from one channel in particular. HBO has enough hard characters to fill an entire list by itself, and so here are.
In a town of badasses, Al Swearengen was king. He remains one of the manliest men in ALL of TV history, much less HBO, and his brawling and brothel owning earn him a spot on the list. But his character goes above and beyond a one-dimensional archetype, and he went from villain to hero and back again in the course of the show.
Again, out of all the hard characters on the streets of The Wire, Omar stood out above the rest. Robbing drug dealers is about the most dangerous thing you can do, but the fact that he actually made the dealers scared of him? That’s incredible. And he was actually based on a real life guy who did as much crazy stuff (if not more) as his character on the show.
Many on this list aren’t necessarily the leads of their shows, but Tony Soprano could not be forgotten here. On HBO’s original drama that paved the way for so many of their other shows, Tony always came out on top, outliving the vast majority of characters on the show as either A) they were killed or B) HE had them killed. And he lived right up until the end. Or did he? That diner scene is still up for debate.
True Blood has kind of gone goofy in recent years, but I remember back when it first started, there was no bigger badass than Eric. He’s a vampire AND a viking? You really can’t get much more badass than that. Unlike the constantly shifting Bill, Eric has always been straight up about his will to get the job done, no matter what. He’s an impressive figure, and has earned a spot here.
What, you think all badasses have to be grown adult men? Not so with Arya Stark. She ranks among the bravest of all the characters on Game of Thrones, despite the fact that she’s surrounding by warriors who greatly outclass her. She’s learned to fight, and only will become even more of a badass as the show continues. But George RR Martin does love to kill off characters we love, so who knows if she’ll meet her end before she comes into her own? Book readers know, but don’t tell me please.