In the recent Emmys, four of the six nominees for Lead Actor in a Drama Series portray characters that, while appealing, have enough flaws and faults to make any psychologist sweat.
A successful anti-hero must reside in that grey area between good and evil. We wondered which combination of attributes allows our four anti-hero Emmy nominees Dexter (Dexter), Don Draper (Mad Men), Walter White (Breaking Bad) and House (House) to effectively balance between damaged and admirable.
Using E-Score Character we looked at the four anti-hero nominees, and found that the four characters share a number of similar traits. Each of the nominees earn above average scores in appeal, dishonest, aggressive and intelligent.
Source: E-Score Character
While each of the four nominated characters earned higher than average top-two box appeal; your friendly neighborhood serial killer Dexter is the most appealing with a score of 71. Breaking Bad’s chemistry teacher turned meth cook Walter White is seen as the most dishonest with a score of 23, 19 points above average.
Somewhat surprisingly, Dr. Gregory House who sports a limp and a cane scored the highest in aggressive at 53, topping the category average of 21. Along with aggressive, House is also seen as the most intelligent with a score of 69, more than double the TV character average of 32.
Source: E-Score Character, TV Character avg. consists of broadcast and cable characters excluding animated
While a successful anti-hero can show a wide variety of both negative and positive traits, E-Score Character reveals that TV’s most popular and successful anti-heroes share intelligence matched with dishonesty and aggression.