7. Gus Fring, 'Breaking Bad'
Long live the Chicken Man! It's difficult to overstate how crucial this criminal genius was to the appeal of Breaking Bad's central seasons, which first helped solidify the show's cult following before turning it into a massive mainstream phenomenon. A brutal druglord beneath a legitimate-businessman exterior, everything about this fast-food exec-cum-ruler of a meth empire was as carefully constructed as his impeccable wardrobe and soft, precise speaking voice. (We can still hear actor Giancarlo Espositio croaking "I will kill your infant daughter." Shudder.) He simply seemed impossible to outwit or defeat, which made the times Walter White pulled it off all the more impressive.