One-Season TV Villains Who Leave A Major Impact

Over 1.0K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of One-Season TV Villains Who Leave A Major Impact
Voting Rules
Vote up the villains who left their mark in just one season.

The best villains leave a mark on both the characters and the audience long after they're defeated. On the big screen, villains get one film to shine, while on TV,  antagonists sometimes have hundreds of episodes over a whole series to prove their evil and terrifying bonafides. The more impressive feat is when a TV villain shows up out of the blue and forces series regulars to respect their power before being written off.

With chilling goals and captivating performances, these characters prove it only takes one season to make a lasting impact on not only the fictional world where they wreak havoc, but also the memory of audiences. Some may subvert their sitcom roots while others revitalize careers, in the end, all of these antagonists live on in the scars they leave behind.

  • Arthur Mitchell/The Trinity Killer - 'Dexter'
    Photo: Showtime

    One of the most chilling slayers in a show that featured a revolving door of Miami's most depraved minds, Arthur Mitchell leads a double life as a kind, churchgoing man, who claimed many souls in secret over many decades. He proves a worthy adversary for Dexter Morgan throughout Season Four of Dexter.

    After a season-long cat-and-mouse pursuit, Trinity's parting words as Dexter finishes him off, “It’s already over,” tease the true impact of this foe: he had already slain Dexter's wife in front of their son. That act left a scar that lingered on both Dexter and his son for the rest of the show's run and revival, and it’s no surprise that Lithgow earned a Golden Globe and an Emmy for this performance.

    697 votes
  • 2
    535 VOTES

    Stormfront - 'The Boys'

    In a twist from the comic-book-version of the character in The Boys, Stormfront was changed into a woman for her arc in Season Two of the TV adaptation. However, she remains just as nasty, as she's revealed to be a literal Nazi from 1940s Germany, who –in her Compound-V-enhanced second act– didn’t give up any of her hateful ideas, but did learn how to spread her vicious ideas through modern internet culture.

    Needless to say, it's incredibly satisfying to watch the other women paste her across a farm in the Season Two finale. It’s hard to create a villain more repulsive than the show’s main antagonist, Homelander, and for that, Stormfront will always be memorable.

    535 votes
  • Mags Bennett - 'Justfied'
    Photo: FX

    The matriarch of the Bennett family, Mags clashes with US Marshal Raylan Givens and the Harlan County underworld in Season Two of Justified. She's a classic example of a wolf in sheep's clothing, masking her cold-blooded side behind the warm smile of a Southern matriarch – the type to pour you a glass of her signature moonshine before telling you it'll be the last thing you ever taste.

    With her determination to protect the family legacy for her children and grandchildren at any cost, Mags proves a difficult adversary to pin down. When she’s finally cornered, she goes out in style, tossing back a tainted glass of apple pie moonshine and settling her beef with Givens with a handshake as she passes.

    214 votes
  • 4
    367 VOTES

    Mayor Wilkins - 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'

    Mayor Wilkins appears to be an affable and well-meaning part of the Sunnyvale local government in Season Three of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so it’s shocking to see him making deals with demons and vampires in the name of planning a mysterious ritual. Throughout the schoolyear, Mayor Wilkins causes trouble for Buffy and the rest of the Scoobies by sending supernatural threats in their way while also  manipulating the new slayer, Faith, to turn against her friends. In a gripping two-part season finale, the Mayor completes his ceremony to turn into a giant reptile creature, which Buffy and the team conquer in a huge clash that destroys the school.

    367 votes
  • 5
    289 VOTES

    Zaheer - 'The Legend of Korra'

    Though Zaheer is only the antagonist in Book 3 of The Legend of Korra, he's one of the most memorable characters because of the profound impact he leaves on Korra herself. Though she defeats him and the rest of the Red Lotus group with help from her friends, Zaheer’s attempts to taint Korra and end the Avatar line forever have drastic effects on her long after he's imprisoned. In Book 4, Korra takes months to recover physically from the onslaught, and even three years later, is still plagued by stress-induced visions of Zaheer.

    289 votes
  • 6
    335 VOTES

    The Darkness/Amara - 'Supernatural'

    The Darkness/Amara - 'Supernatural'
    Photo: The CW

    Amara is as intimidating as Supernatural villains come, as a sister to God who existed before creation itself. As she escapes imprisonment in Season 11, she’s too powerful to fight head-on, and her thirst for destruction is only stopped when Dean Winchester convinces her to reconcile with her brother Chuck at the end of the season. She reappears briefly in Season 15 to merge with Chuck, with a piece of her remaining alive inside of the new God.

    335 votes