There are few things as great as a diabolical villain on a teen drama. One we loved? Michelle Trachtenberg's Georgina Sparks on "Gossip Girl." Manipulative, charismatic and truly in a league of her own, Georgina set off a series of unfortunate events for the inhabitants of the Upper East Side when she returned to New York City — just ask Serena Van Der Woodsen. From her ruthless use of blackmail to get what she wants to the ways she so effortlessly maneuvered situations in her favor (remember when she pretended Dan Humphrey was the father of her child?!), leave it to this cunning socialite to stir up some serious drama. In honor of Michelle's 36th birthday on Oct. 11, 2021, Wonderwall.com is taking a look at more of our favorite villains from teen dramas…
On season 2 of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," Buffy lived every teenager's nightmare — after spending the night with the person she loved, he turned into a literal monster. Suddenly, during a moment of sheer happiness, Angel transformed into the bloodthirsty Angelus, and as any "Buffy" fan knows, subsequent heartbreak (and death) ensued. For "Bangel" shippers, accepting the fact that Angel was no longer the brooding, sensitive vamp we'd come to know and love was a difficult thing to do. Angelus went on to do a slew of horrible things to those around him, but the worst one of all? When he displayed Jenny Calendar's corpse on a bed of roses for Giles to come home to. Ugh, we're heartbroken just thinking about it.
Generally speaking, season 1 of "The O.C." is an absolute delight to revisit, except for one thing: Oliver Trask. Played by Taylor Handley, Oliver was a patient Marissa met while in therapy. The two are cordial to begin with but in what feels like no time, Oliver begins to become a major part of Marissa's life. The red flags were clear from the get-go — the way he was so possessive over his time with her, the fact that we never actually met his "girlfriend" Natalie, the way he almost rammed his golf cart into Luke and Ryan's — the guy was terrible. A particularly terrifying moment? When he held Marissa hostage in a hotel room and threatened to take his own life. Luckily, Ryan managed to save the day (as to be expected).
While Michelle Williams' Jen Lindley might have started off as the villain of Capeside, she quickly turned into a fan favorite. Sure, she may have (temporarily) gotten in the way of Dawson and Joey's romance, but as soon as she was rid of that drama, she totally came into her own. From her time as a troubled New York City party girl to her reinvention as a reliable, levelheaded Capeside resident, Jen undoubtedly had one of the most gratifying (albeit, tragic) arcs on "Dawson's Creek."
What's there to like about Jacob Elordi's Nate Jacobs on "Euphoria"? Not a whole lot. On the first season, Nate exhibited incredibly toxic and sinister behavior from his abusive relationship with girlfriend Maddy (and then Jules) to how he broke into that guy's home and beat him up badly because he thought he mistreated Maddy in the pool. Nate's a villain in the truest sense of the word. Frankly, we wonder if there's any world in which he can ever be redeemed.
Our favorite bad girl (who actually isn't all that bad)? Kim Kelly from "Freaks and Geeks." Portrayed by Busy Philipps, Kim was introduced as the hardened bad-girl bully-type at McKinley High School — even Lindsay's brother, Sam Weir, was incredibly afraid of running into her in the hallway. What we learn, however, is that beneath her rough exterior is a misunderstood, insecure teen who hails from an unstable home — this is made abundantly clear when she invites Lindsay over and gets into an explosive fight with her mom and stepdad. Seeing her on-again, off-again flame Daniel Desario cozy up to Lindsay probably didn't help either.
Honestly, we all could've done without the ridiculous games Brooke and Lucas played on season 3 of "One Tree Hill" to keep from admitting their actual feelings for one another. The problem with opting for game play instead of being forthright with your feelings for someone? It could potentially lead them into the arms of another. In Lucas's case, that someone else was Tree Hill High newcomer Rachel Gatina, played by Danneel Ackles. Seen here at the Halloween party at Tric, where we first meet her, Rachel initially makes a play for Lucas despite knowing full well that he has feelings for someone else. She eventually moves on to Nathan's Uncle Cooper, fakes being pregnant in an effort to continue dating him, crashes a limo into a body of water and tries to break up Haley and Nathan's marriage, all before deciding to date his dad, Dan Scott. Yikes.
It's been said time and time again, but no one does sabotage quite like Blair Waldorf. Perhaps it's the way in which Leighton Meester portrayed the diabolical socialite, but no matter how awful Blair was, there was always something redeeming about her. Don't get us wrong — the way she'd humiliate her own supposed best friend Serena to the way she made Jenny Humphrey's life a living nightmare, Blair did some pretty shady things but it still didn't make her an inherently bad person. She's such a great villain because of how morally complex she is — at the core of all her scheming is this fear that she'll never quite measure up to those around her. She behaves this way because it's the only way she's known how — anything else is unnatural.
Melinda Clarke's Julie Cooper on "The O.C." deserved better — parenting Marissa Cooper seemed like no easy feat! She was often painted as the villain and to be fair, in many instances she was — there was her stark disapproval of Ryan because he came from a lower socioeconomic background, the fact that she had a full-fledged affair with her daughter's teenage ex-boyfriend, the way she nearly killed Caleb Nichol by drugging his drink and more. For most of the series, Julie was a snarky, superficial gold digger with no further agenda than to maintain her lavish lifestyle. But she was also a delight to watch and she made being a diabolical Newpsie look so good.
Following Tara's shocking death, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" fans watched in disbelief as Alyson Hannigan's Willow dabbled deeper into dark magic. Even before Warren's bullet hit Tara, Willow's reckless ways with magic were becoming clear — she and Tara even broke up because of it — so it was only a matter of time until she completely gave in to her addiction. Dark Willow was one of our favorite Big Bads of the series, largely because she was so unexpected. She was angry, grieving and wanted everyone else to feel her pain. Who knew the power of friendship (and the mention of a yellow crayon) could be exactly what Willow needed to refrain from ending the world?
It's a lot to wrap our heads around, really — the fact that Rayanne Graff (portrayed by A.J. Langer) went from Angela Chase's trusted confidant and best friend to the person who betrayed her most terribly. "My So-Called Life" served up its fair share of juicy duplicity, but there was none quite as tragic as when Rayanne slept with Jordan Catalano, wounding Angela deeply. But since the series was canceled after just one season, fans never found out whether the former best friends were able to ever repair their relationship.
"You can't kill Dan Scott!" is a phrase that will forever haunt us. On a teen drama, there's always a resident villain — that same person who consistently makes the lives of those around them a living hell. On "One Tree Hill," that person was Dan Scott. Played by Paul Johansson, Dan did a lot of awful things — the man neglected to father one of his sons, pushed the other one so hard that he resorted to performance-enhancing drugs to keep up, paid a woman to fall in love with then break his brother's heart — but all of these things are superseded by the fact that he literally murdered his own brother in cold blood. Since that very moment during season 3, Dan was rendered irredeemable to many, and rightfully so.
As the resident mean girl on "The Carrie Diaries," Donna Ladonna, played by Chloe Bridges, seldom gets denied anything or anyone she wants. That's why when the new guy in school, Sebastian Kydd, pays her no attention, she grows angry and even more resentful toward Carrie Bradshaw. And when Carrie and Sebastian breakup, Donna has no problem swooping in to fill the void in his heart! Still, despite being predominantly self-serving, she does exhibit a capacity to care for others, which is made clear by her acquaintanceship with Doris and the poignant conversation she has with Walt about his sexuality.
What's just as bad as murdering your own brother in cold blood? Trying to arrange for your son to "accidentally" die in a freak plane crash. When we initially met him, Bart Bass, who was portrayed by Robert John Burke, seemed like your typical New York City businessman on "Gossip Girl" — we had no idea that he'd come to be one of the show's most consistent villains. His tumultuous relationship with brother Chuck was apparent from the very beginning, but their competition came to a head when Bart tried to get Chuck to board a doomed plane in an effort to eliminate him once and for all. Of course, in an unfortunate (and ironic) turn of events, the same night as Chuck's attempted murder, Bart was the one who died in a freak accident. Talk about karma.
"Teen Wolf" had a pretty extensive list of unlikable characters. But Kate Argent is pretty high on the list. Kate, played by Jill Wagner, was a ruthless werewolf hunter who revelled in torturing Derek Hale. Among the worst things she did was date Derek only to get close to him and then lock a ton of his family members inside their house before burning it to the ground. Kate often acted rashly and recklessly and seldom showed regard for anyone but herself.
What makes Faith Lehane such a memorable "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" villain is the fact that she didn't start off as one. Faith, who was portrayed by Eliza Dushku, wasn't inherently bad — sure, she could be a bit reckless and carried herself as a bad girl (i.e., her "want, take, have" mentality), but she only became evil after accidentally killing a human instead of a vamp. While her decision to join The Mayor's side was definitely impacted by her yearning for a sort of paternal love, her actions were a result of her desire for acceptance. Faith was complex and tortured and she had difficulty coming to terms with her own shortcomings. But these flaws are what made her so lovable in spite of her poor decisions.
In playing bad girl Valerie Malone on "Beverly Hills, 90210," Tiffani-Amber Thiessen took on a role so disparate from the beloved Kelly Kapowski on "Saved By the Bell." From the moment we meet Valerie, it's clear that she's operating with her own agenda — she's manipulative, deceptive and expertly feigns innocence. Of course, what we come to learn is that beneath this image she projects is a troubled teen who's coping with a dark past. What we can't forgive, though? The role she played in Brandon leaving Kelly at the altar.
After years of bullying from the presumed-to-be dead Alison DiLaurentis, Janel Parrish's Mona Vanderwaal made it her sole mission to prove her worth — and in a sinister way, she sort of did. While this "Pretty Little Liars" character eventually helped the girls uncover A's true identity, it's hard to forget that in season 2, it was revealed that she, herself, was the one tormenting the Liars! Even after being admitted to the Radley Sanitarium, Mona still played a part in manipulating the girls.
"Veronica Mars" wasn't without its share of annoying adult characters (Kendall Casablancas, anyone?), but Don Lamb takes the cake. Don, portrayed by Michael Muhney, consistently made matters difficult for Veronica and Keith whether it was refusing to follow a lead they provided or capitalizing on every opportunity he could to humiliate. His snarky comments and inflated ego were among his most defining traits; it felt as though he'd never go away. That's why — spoiler alert — his death in season 3 came as such a shock.
Mean girl Sadie Saxton, played by Molly Tarlov, was one of the best parts of watching "Awkward." She was unapologetically herself and she didn't care if you knew it. She was powerful, popular and affluent (that is, until her family lost all of their money), and even at her meanest she was always kind of likable. Above everything, her delivery of her infamous catchphrase remains a standout to us: "You're welcome."