5 TV Characters That Are Just As Badass As Breaking Bad’s Walter White

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Can we all take a moment of silence for Walter White? I would say that it is fitting for all the entertainment and amazement that the character brought into our lives, weekly. Truth is, now that Breaking Bad is over, there is a bit of a void left and I think we can all feel it. Nothing about that show felt like a show. It felt like an hour long weekly movie and after a while, it was hard not to feel a connection with those characters.

Maybe you related to Hank, the guy fighting his own war. Maybe you related to Jesse, just a young guy struggling to understand a life that is spinning way out of control. Or maybe you related to Skyler, the matriarch and proverbial glue that held Walter White and the White family together (for a long while, anyway). Or maybe, just maybe, you related to Walter. The man himself. A man on a mission, who initially was trying to do the wrong things for all the right reasons, but the deeper that world swallowed him whole, the harder and harder that became for him, and the more the lines between good and bad blurred.

Regardless of you whom you related most to, or why you love Breaking Bad so much, we all need to accept that fact that it’s over, and as much as a Saul show could kick ass, we are not even close to seeing it just yet.

On that note, I thought it might be a good time to remind people that there are (and were) other people on TV that are just as badass as Walter White was, and if you feel a serious “badass” void in your soul right now, any of these characters can help to fill that.

I am not saying we need to “replace” Walter White. I am simply saying that it might be healthy for us to move on, and maybe it will be easier if we all move on together.

*Takes a bump of meth*

As you can see, I have farther to go than most of you. Anyway, on to the badasses.

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Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones

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If you thought I would begin this list with anyone else, you mistake me for a fool. Yes, Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones is a badass. Maybe small-minded souls would get hung up on his stature and not understand the true definition of badass, but I will tell you why he is one. Make NO mistakes, he is easily the largest man on this list.

The first thing that makes a badass a badass is their lack of giving fucks about what others think. A badass could care less about anyone else’s opinion of him, outside of those he cherishes most. THAT, my friends, sums up Tyrion perfectly. He knows he is smaller in size than most in Westeros, yet spend a minute with him and he will make YOU feel like you are the small one. He allows no proverbial arrows to be slung at him without firing back, and when he does choose to fire back, his words are dipped in dragon’s venom, burning anyone on the receiving end of them.

He also showed us in the season two finale that he can kick ass when he needs to, but in most cases, would rather enjoy a fine glass of wine and the touch of his lover (or in some cases, lovers). Oh, and as shallow as this may make me seem, another thing that makes him badass is his adoration of the female species (and their likelihood to adore him back, despite his shortcomings).

You would see someone like Tyrion and not necessarily expect him to be the ladies man he is, but that is exactly WHY he is the ladies man he is. Well spoken, well mannered, and not in the last bit afraid to speak his mind no matter who is around, Tyrion is the badass we all aspire to be. The black sheep in a family whose wool is as dark as death itself, and to pull that off while looking cool and staying collected, all while keeping his composure, speaks volumes about just how badass he is.

Huge shout-out to Peter Dinklage for his staggeringly powerful portrayal of Tyrion. Not only is he a badass that could give Walter White a run for his money, but he’s a badass who could give ANYONE a run for their money. Tyrion teaches us that it’s not about the size, but it’s about the swagger. I know, I hate that word as much as you all do, but that really IS the perfect word to describe Tyrion’s charm.

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Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead

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What are the chances that a character made especially for the show would end up being one of the best characters in The Walking Dead? Daryl is a badass because he takes no bullshit from anyone, carries a freaking crossbow (you generally don’t fuck with people who carry crossbows), and when it comes right down to it, will kill his own family if need be to survive. Yeah, pretty badass.

In many ways, the fact that they change SO MUCH from the comic book for the show really pisses off some fans, but who can argue that Daryl Dixon is not one of the most badass characters from the show? From his always weathered look (like he just woke up in a dryer, hung over), to the fact that his crossbow is one of TV’s coolest weapons, Daryl Dixon injects some much needed LIFE into a world that is teeming with the dead.

Here’s a couple interesting things that people may not know about Daryl.

He was not part of the official cast in the first season. That was more of a trial run with the character to see how people reacted to him. So many people ended up loving him and what actor Norman Reedus brought to the show that he got moved up to cast regular for seasons 2 and on. The other interesting thing is that rumors say that they MAY write Daryl into the comic. Creator Robert Kirkman claims he has no intention of it, but there are some insiders hinting otherwise.

One final interesting fact about Daryl is that Reedus wants him to have a dog, and so far, the producers have said no. Last time he asked was when they gave him that fancy crossbow upgrade. Funny how the crossbow has almost become like a character on the show. You can see he has bonded with it as if it were a pet, and that makes more sense when you realize that he kind of wants it to be.

I think Daryl’s utlimate Walter White moment was when he had to kill his brother, who had turned into a zombie. That moment was incredibly sad to watch, and definitely reeked of Walter White in that he was an antihero who has to do whatever it takes, no matter what.

The new season of The Walking Dead will be back in a few weeks. Can’t wait to see what other sick shit awaits this badass.

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Al Swearengen from Deadwood

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You guys know I dig me some Ian McShane. I just think that the guy is the shit. He can go from imposing to funny, but mostly hovers in the imposing sector. You guys also know that I am a bit of a Deadwood groupie, because I bring the show up all the time, even though it was short lived and canceled, but really, is there any word you would use to describe this character and theis show OTHER THAN badass?

First of all, as morally wrong as it is to be a pimp, pimps are kind of badass. It takes a rather large set of balls to have a woman sell her ass to other men for YOUR gain. Not saying I would be a pimp, but I am saying, in the context of TV, it is badass. I also find his coarse language and rather imposing glance to be badass. He has made it very clear through acts of violence that he is not one to EVER be crossed, and at its heart, that defines badass.

I know some may want to slap me for bringing this show up when it is in the past tense, but guess what? All that means is that you can watch all of it, at your own leisure. Off the air doesn’t mean “no longer exists.” It simply means you can enjoy it at your own pace. Want to watch it in a week? You can? Want to stretch it out? Well, you sort of can’t, because there isn’t much show to stretch out, but still, you can’t ask me to write a list about badasses on TV, and NOT bring up Al Swearengen. I also LOVE that the word “swear” is in his name, and fuck is every third word out of his mouth. The irony in that is not lost on me.

But do you want to know the REAL reason I am bringing Al Swearengen up? Because, believe it or not, this was a REAL DUDE! Yes, though some aspects of him may have been glamorized for TV, Al Swearengen was very much a real, breathing man, and rumor is, Ian McShane does the man justice in his portrayal.

So not only is Al Sweraengen a badass that deserves accolades along side Walter White, the real kicker is that Swearengen actually existed.

Man, I just blew my own mind, AGAIN.

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Tony Soprano from The Sopranos

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I feel like this is almost too obvious, but Tony Soprano, played brilliantly by the late James Gandolfini, was the badass to beat all badasses, and much like Walter White, he did most of what he did out of love for his family. At the heart of it, most of the atrocious acts committed by this man were committed to ensure he could keep his family dynamic functioning at the standard they were all used to.

Yes, much like Walter White, the deeper you got into Tony Soprano, the more you could see the lines blur between good guy and REALLY bad guy, but you need to look no further than the series finale of The Sopranos to see the entire point of the show. As much as people hate that ending (and yes, Breaking Bad pretty much had the best ending ever, ESPECIALLY when you realize that it was all in Walt’s head), the ending to The Sopranos served to make a brilliant point. At the heart of it, at the heart of everything, and the reason we do what we do, is family.

But can anyone argue this guy was badass? How many people did he whack for crossing a line or disrespecting him? At the very core of it, the basic glue that holds the idea of badass together is whether or not they are someone you would ever mess with? While you MAY be prone to mess with Tyrion due to underestimating him, and you could be prone to screwing with Daryl, mistaking him for some uneducated fool, just being NEAR Tony Soprano is freaking intimidating, and in that sense, he was the king of badasses. He only cemented this further by playing a the king of the monsters in Where the Wild Things Are. I don’t care if you liked that film or not….it, and him, are badass.

Even though the moment of silence at the beginning of this article was for a fictional character, maybe we should have a real one regarding the passing of James Gandolfini, because really, his was the face that forever redefined the badass, as well as the places TV could go.

Thanks James. We’ll miss you, man.

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Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation

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I bet NONE of you expected a sitcom on this list, and honestly, when I began writing it, neither did I.

I was all set with bringing you Omar from The Wire for this entry, or maybe Captain Mal from Firefly. Hell, even Magnum P.I crossed my mind (which I blame entirely on drugs), but it hit me as I was writing. The word BADASS is in the title of the article, and it is about guys on TV. Outside of a few men mentioned above, who is more badass than Ron Swanson?

You realize that if you answer anyone but Ron his mustache will crawl in through your window and beat you to death while you sleep, right? The salted scent of bacon will be the last thing you smell as you fade from consciousness.

No, but seriously, the idea of a badass is a man (or woman) who can kick ass, takes no shit and probably gets (or has gotten a lot) of tail at one point. I am sorry, that is just how this list works. You can say Walter White maybe didn’t get a ton of ass in his life, but he COULD have, he just didn’t know it.

You want to understand why Ron Swanson is on a list of badasses? The man walks into a restaurant and orders ALL OF THE BACON AND EGGS THEY HAVE. No, seriously, all of them. If you think anyone has ever pulled off such a badass move, you are lying to yourself and to me. That was the moment Ron Swanson defined himself as a badass. He’s a man who bleeds bacon grease and doesn’t know what “crying” means. That, my friends, is the badass we all want to be.

Here’s hoping Ron goes out in as epic a fashion as Walter White did. Swanson DESERVES that, dammit!

Honorable Mention:

Tatianna Maslany as EVERYONE in Orphan Black

Though she deserves much more than an honorable mention, this list was mainly patriarchal (yes, I just willingly used that word). I see that, though did it unintentionally, I assure you. Skylar and the female badasses deserve their own list, and they will get one. For now though, without ruining anything about this wonderful show that not enough of you are watching, Tatianna Maslany might just be the most badass person on the list, gender be damned. She is like Linda Blair in T2 levels of badass, and that analogy works on a lot of levels because of the whole clone thing, but I will stop myself now.

To tell you any details about her character(s) on the show will ruin it. Just trust me, check out the show Orphan Black out if you haven’t. It is whole new levels of badassery.

Feel free to post your favorite TV badasses that I missed in the comments, and tell me what an awful job I did and how my mother should burn in hell for birthing me, like you guys do for every other list I write on here.

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  • Jake

    Did you never watch The Shield? I thought Michael Chitless’s Vic Mackey would surely top this list. Take out the parks and recreation guy and give yourself some credibility.

    • Matt Donato

      Ron Swanson belongs on this like 5 times. Inventor of “The Swanson,” and every other life lesson worth learning. “Clear alcohols are for rich women on diets.”

  • Phill A. Sheeo

    in other news, the meth epidemic has been renewed. just try and sell the white and pink… just try it. sigh

  • Denis Jantzen Avci

    Where’s Jax from Sons of Anarchy?

  • linda garris

    Darryl is tv’s badass hands down. 16 millionagree with me. Ha. And rick grimes is second,third is Michonne. What is game of thrones? I just dont get it.

  • linda garris

    Oh wait,the guy from the wire too. The black gay guy is one of my fav chara ters.Michael Williams. And what abt Morrissey as the governor