2. Lex Luthor
It's been over two decades since Smallville first debuted and it's still wild to me that it managed to believably make Clark Kent and Lex Luthor best friends. What's even wilder is how Michael Rosenbaum managed to make us all fall in love with Lex and yet still made us feel like we had been punched in the gut whenever he went down a dark path.
Lex was extremely unlikable whenever he went down that path, with season 6 being an all-time low for the character. Some of the creative choices in that season were questionable, but Lex was the only character that never felt like he was acting out-of-character. He was unpredictable, cold, calculating, selfish at times, and constantly paranoid; all incredible work at the hands of Rosenbaum's performance. And yet as odious as he got, a small part of most viewers still rooted for him.
Maybe it was because of the fact that we knew there was good in him at one point, or maybe it was just Rosenbaum's world-class performance; either way, Lex is the perfect example of what a great, nuanced villain should be. He was the most disliked character on the show at one point, but also among the most beloved. A real wild card that made us so conflicted, he has earned his place on this list, but he has also earned a spot on a list of the show's greatest characters.
The duality of Lex Luthor.