Alexander Skarsgard 28278

To me, fall always means back to school—and back to TV, as several of my favorite shows start fresh again as the weather turns cold. (Though I have to thank the cable and network programmers for basically running new programs year-round now to keep me hooked.)

I'm kind of a fan of the anti-hero. Many of my shows feature characters that you absolutely love to hate (or maybe, if you're like me, you just happen to love—a lot). So if you're brave enough, consider a few baby names sported by the wickedest men on TV.

Walter I have to admit that I just started watching Breaking Bad, after years of "try it, you'll love it" haranguing from a friend of mine. But now I'm totally addicted (pun intended) to this show about a mild-mannered chemistry teacher turned meth kingpin. And the name Walter, which has a very old-fashioned, regular-guy vibe (despite its military-hero meaning), really fits Walter's past.

Dexter The slightly nerdy sounding name Dexter helps this serial-killer-cum-police-blood-splatter-expert maintain his low profile—at least until this season (can't wait!). Dexter, which means right-handed, has become red-hot in recent years (climbing 70 spots in the past year alone)—and I think we can attribute that to Miami's most effective (and lethal) crime fighter.

Conrad What's more evil than a rich man who can throw his money around to get his way—no matter who gets hurt in the process? After Conrad Grayson framed her father, arranged for countless innocents to be killed—and got away with it all, it's no wonder that Amanda Clarke (AKA Emily Thorne) is seeking Revenge. Conrad means wise advice—and this slick bad boy needs to do some savvy strategizing if he's going to avoid falling victim to Emily/Amanda's plot.

Eric Consider Eric Northman of True Blood a bit of a reformed bad boy—after suffering from witch-induced amnesia two seasons ago, he's been a kinder, gentler version of the wicked Viking vamp we'd come to know and love. Eric is an old Viking name that means "eternal ruler," perfect for this undead former heir to the throne.

Shane The Walking Dead's Shane started out as a good guy—the best pal of his sheriff partner, Rick Grimes. But that was before the zombie apocalypse came, and Shane left his buddy for dead and ran off with Rick's wife and son. The next two seasons showed Shane's descent into something less-than-human—he became a zombie on the inside before he actually became a zombie on the outside.  Shane's an Irish name that means "God is gracious," which is probably not something that the survivors believe right about now.

I'm excited to check out some of the new shows, to see if there's another bad boy I should be following. Who are your favorites?

Photo: Alexander Skarsgard by s_bukley /