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Top 10 Underrated Female TV Villains

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Mersini Karkoulas
These are the most underrated female tv villains! For this list we’re looking at female villains who might not be the main antagonist in the show, but are no less horrible than the real evil. We’ve also included characters who sometimes straddle the line between friend and foe and blur the distinction, meaning they often have complicated relationships with the good guys. We’ve included characters like Aunt Lydia from “The Handmaids’ Tale”, Niska from “Humans”, Cora from “Once Upon a Time” and more!

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Top 10 Underrated Female TV Villains

Evil walks in high heels. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Underrated Female TV Villains.

For this list, we’re looking at female villains who might not be the main antagonist in the show, but are no less horrible than the real evil. We’ve also included characters who sometimes straddle the line between friend and foe and blur the distinction, meaning they often have complicated relationships with the good guys.

#10: Aunt Lydia

“The Handmaid's Tale” (2017-)

No one would ever think that Aunt Lydia is anything less than a horrible person, but compared to the rest of the things that go on in Gilead, she is almost forgettable. Ruling the handmaids with an iron fist, she is easily one of the most hated characters on the show, eliciting rage and dislike from viewers every time she appears on screen. Portrayed by the indomitable Ann Dowd, Aunt Lydia is a huge presence on the screen and in the show, as an important cog in the machine that is Gilead.

#9: Olivia ‘Livia’ Soprano

“The Sopranos” (1999-07)

She’s never going to win any mother of the year awards, but “The Sopranos” would not have been the same show without Livia. A vindictive woman who struggles with accepting her own mortality when her son Tony moves her into a nursing home, she plans to get revenge by having him killed. What follows is a back and forth between mother and son, fueled by bitterness and hatred. Each of them wants the other dead and out of the way. Yet, it’s mother nature who gets the last laugh when Livia dies from a stroke, foiling Tony’s plans for revenge.

#8: Niska

“Humans” (2015-)

When humanity perfects AI, it’s not difficult to imagine that some robots might develop a consciousness not unlike their creators. When Niska – being used as a sex robot – becomes sentient due to an upgrade, she realizes all the wrongs being done against her and kills her way out of the brothel where she was enslaved. A totally sympathetic villain, she just wants to be recognized as having the same rights as a human, and is willing to go to extreme lengths to achieve this, at times befriending humans, and at others, betraying them.

#7: Lenore ‘Lenny’ Busker

“Legion” (2017-)

Lenny comes from a long line of messed up family members, so it’s not surprising that she is being held in a psychiatric hospital. Friends with David, she is trusted and loved by him. This works in the evil Shadow King’s favor, as he adopts Lenny as a way of manipulating David, making her a bizarre but terrifying villain. With the brilliant Aubrey Plaza playing her, it stands to reason that Lenny would not only be one of the most interesting characters on the show, but also one of the most creepy.

#6: Number Six

“Battlestar Galactica” (2004-09)

Throughout the history of Human-Cylon war, Number Six is considered one of the more dangerous Cylons. Often using seduction as a means to an end, she is not above manipulation or murder. While she occasionally might do something that is for the good of someone else, these actions aren’t quite enough to negate all the bad things she does in her attempts to hunt humanity. Even in her various forms, she is an impressive, looming presence throughout the show and while viewers might be geared up to hate her, there’s no denying that she's one of the most important characters, and impossible not to watch.

#5: Media

“American Gods” (2017-)

If you’ve ever thought that television and movies rule over your life like minor gods, then this show will prove you right. Manifesting in the form of a dead famous person every time she appears on screen, Media reminds us that the Old Gods are dying and new ones that are personifications of fame, celebrity and technology, are on the rise. In an impending war with the Old Gods, Media tries to recruit believers as weapons. It’s a plan that can only end badly, and with the Old Gods raising their heads once more, the clash is sure to test Media in new ways.

#4: Cora Mills [aka Queen of Hearts]

“Once Upon a Time” (2011-18)

If kids are a reflection of their parents, then the Evil Queen’s mother must be the worst of the lot. Cora definitely does not disappoint! Making the life of her daughter, as well as countless others, a living nightmare seems to be her one goal in life. Whether it’s killing someone’s true love, or plotting to gain more power, she pretends that what she is doing is for the best. Deeply under the illusion that power will make her happy, she walks all over people, leaving her lonely and hated by all.

#3: Constance Langdon

“American Horror Story” (2011-)

In a show that has all sorts of monsters and ghouls, it’s odd to think that one of the most terrifying characters is nothing more than human. Never shying away from portraying the dark side of people, Constance Langdon from the show’s first season is a horrible human who bullies and belittles those around her, including her children. While it might seem like she has some tender moments with some of the other characters, it’s short lived. She’s manipulative and rude, a woman fallen from grace, but that’s just what makes her so interesting onscreen.

#2: Rachel Duncan

“Orphan Black” (2013-17)

When there’s a show about clones, it is inevitable that at least one of them will turn out to be evil. While Rachel might have redeemed herself slightly throughout the duration of the show, it doesn’t negate the things she did in the past, or the fact that for a while she was the hauntingly familiar face that made the clone club’s lives a mess. Thinking that she is doing something for the greater good doesn’t make Rachel’s decisions less distressing, but firmly puts her in a position where she must assume responsibility for her actions.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are some honorable mentions:

The Widow [aka Minerva]

“Into the Badlands” (2015-)


“V” (2009-11)

Joan ‘The Freak’ Ferguson

“Wentworth” (2013-)

#1: Helen ‘Amanda’ Collins

“Nikita” (2010-13)

When Melinda Clarke appears on screen in the guise of any character, viewers know they’re going to be in for a treat, and this is arguably one of her best performances. A terrifying puppet master, Amanda is an expert manipulator, using both psychological and torture tactics to have people do what she wants. Initially a friendly face for Division agents, she quickly becomes terrifying, going as far as killing people only to bring them back to life as a means of getting them under her control. Even her tragic backstory doesn’t make up for the fact that Amanda is brutal and uncompromising.

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