The idea of the villain is one that has existed as long as stories have been told. Whether it is a step-mother who wishes to destroy her husband's beautiful child, or a Shakespearean antagonist with a silver tongue who convinces a man to murder his own wife, they are as important as the protagonists that they torture. Yin to the main characters' yang, the villains can be evil, misunderstood, cruel, funny, charming, cold, or silly, but they provide a much needed balance to any given story.

Over the years television has had a wide variety of villains, but Starpulse decided to take a look at some of the best current antagonists on TV. Love them or hate them, they certainly manage to get your attention. Feel free to comment with some of your favorite baddies both current and past!

Ben Linus from Lost

If asked who is the most fascinating character on "Lost," many fans will respond without pause: Ben Linus. He may not be the favorite, and certainly not the most lovable, but there's no doubting that Ben steals attention every minute he's on the screen. Michael Emerson's creepy and dry performance of the villain was so excellent from the beginning that instead of a three-episode guest star he became one of the most important characters on the show. Ben is a sociopath who lost his mother at birth and suffered constant verbal and emotional abuse from his drunkard father afterward. They moved to the mysterious Island when he was a boy, and he saw the ghost of his mother. This led the ageless Other Richard to think something was special about him, and in time Ben led the annihilation of the entire Dharma village - including the death of his own father, who he took care of personally.

Ben's real danger is in his mind and tongue, since he lies basically every time he opens his mouth, but the truth somehow manages to mingle in and you never know if he's lying or being honest. This kind of ambiguity, plus his indifference when murdering people left and right, makes Ben a villain physically and mentally. He is the Hannibal Lecter of "Lost," and the show often rests on his wiry shoulders as the most obvious and charismatic villain. One day he'll get what is coming to him, and it will be a long time in coming.