From Doctor Who To House Of The Dragon's Daemon: Ranking Matt Smith’s Best-Known Characters, From Delightful To Devilish

Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen in House of the Dragon.
(Image credit: HBO)

Ever since Matt Smith flew into the zeitgeist as the Eleventh Doctor on Doctor Who, viewers have been captivated by the actor. Like many performers, Smith has taken a myriad of roles and played a range of characters from despicable to delightful. In light of his most recent character, House of the Dragon's Daemon, who is maybe the most ethically ambiguous he’s played, I thought it’d be interesting to rank Smith’s best-known characters, from delightful to devilish. 

So, here we go:

The Eleventh Doctor in The Day of the Doctor

(Image credit: BBC)

The Doctor - Doctor Who

Ranking: Delightful, he literally saves the universe all the time

Most people saw Matt Smith for the first time when he showed up as the Eleventh Doctor on Doctor Who. He crash-landed the TARDIS, and when he popped his head out the door, we met the goofy, mostly carefree, optimistic, fez-loving, bow tie-wearing doctor. All the Doctors are good beings and overall fun characters, but I’m of the opinion that Smith’s take on the Time Lord is the most delightful. Across some of the best episodes of Doctor Who, you will find that two-hearted alien from Gallifrey cares deeply about all and is always working to make the universe a better place, with the added bonus of some great jokes every now and then.

Matt Smith as Martin Bright in Official Secrets

(Image credit: IFC Films)

Martin Bright - Official Secrets

Ranking: Well-intentioned and overall good person

Official Secrets is a movie that tells the true story of Katharine Gun, a British whistleblower who leaked information about an illegal operation to get the UN security council to approve the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Smith plays journalist Martin Bright, who receives the memo that was leaked and runs the story. He’s a responsible journalist who was dealing with a really tricky story, and overall I think he handled it well. Bright is a good guy who is driven by good motives. 

Matt Smith in The Crown

(Image credit: Netflix)

Prince Philip - The Crown 

Ranking: It’s the patriarchy, you know?

Overall, Philip is not a bad human. The prince is devoted to his wife, the queen; however, he does struggle with accepting his place behind the queen rather than in front. It’s a typical male privilege problem. He can be rigid at times, and The Crown hints that he may have committed an act of marital infidelity. In conclusion, Prince Philip is not a terrible person, but he is flawed. 

Matt Smith kneeling as Parson Collins in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

(Image credit: Sony)

Parson Collins - Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Ranking: Your funky cousin who is annoying, but can do no harm

No person who says “Oh fuddle” unironically is a totally bad human. In Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Smith plays Parson Collins, the cousin of the Bennet family who is unhelpful in battle and an enthusiastic dancer. He makes the ladies carry all the guns, he’s terribly clumsy and is not built to thrive in the apocalypse. Collins is a goofy character who is not bad-intentioned, but he is an odd fellow who is quite selfish. 

Matt Smith as Jack standing at a bar in Last Night in Soho

(Image credit: Focus Features)

Jack - Last Night in Soho 

Ranking: He’s the reason women should not walk home alone at night

When we meet Jack, he seems nice, as he dances with Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy) and woos her at the nightclub. But then the nightmare begins, and Jack ends up being Sandie’s pimp and uses her to make money. This man is the person mothers warn their daughters about, and he is the reason a lot of us women walk home at night scared. To be in an abusive relationship is terrifying, and to have someone use you like Jack uses Sandie is horrific. By the end of Last Night in Soho, we really see the toxic impact Jack had on the women in the film. 

Matt Smith in Morbius

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Milo - Morbius

Ranking: Bloodlust and greed will really drive a guy mad

We see Milo go from Morbius' friend to a greedy vampire in Morbius. The two meet and become surrogate brothers, and they bond over the fact that they both have the same blood disease. Eventually both of them become vampires. However, while Morbius is trying to not give into the bloodlust, Milo can’t resist. Based on the dance scene alone, it’s giving Bully Maguire energy from Spider-Man 3, and I feel like that comparison encapsulates the badness of Milo. He’s a bad dude who is overtaken by power and greed, which is a fairly typical villain origin story. 

Daemon in the Vale in House of the Dragon

(Image credit: HBO)

Daemon Targaryen - House of the Dragon

Ranking: Devil with funky ethics

You know, I was positive Daemon Targaryen would be at the bottom of this list. When I started House of the Dragon, I needed to watch Doctor Who to cleanse my soul after watching Daemon brutally murder many innocent people in King’s Landing. However, Smith justified the prince’s violent actions by saying he has his reasons and cares about his family. Then in Episode 8, we got a glimpse of Daemon’s good side, and fans were so touched by his heartfelt actions. Daemon is an enigma: while overall, he’s a bad dude, he has his moments which is why he’s not at the bottom of the list. However, we also can’t excuse the number of brutal murders he’s committed and how unbothered he is by said crimes.

Matt Smith as Skynet in Terminator Genisys

(Image credit: Paramount)

Alex - Terminator Genisys

Ranking: Evil, murderous hologram

Smith’s character in Terminator Genisys, Alex, the human embodiment of Skynet, causes a lot (and I mean a lot) of trouble. He really shows just how scary artificial intelligence could be, and how much destruction it can cause. Seeing that this guy's (or better yet, gram’s) goal is to destroy the human race, I’d say that makes him a pretty bad dude. 

Matt Smith as Charles Manson in Charlie Says

(Image credit: IFC Films)

Charles Manson - Charlie Says

Ranking: A real-life cult leader and murderer, therefore the worst

Charlie Says follows the story of Karlene Faith as she works with three women from the Manson family to help them realize the crimes they committed, and what they went through when they were with Charles Manson. Smith plays Manson, who was a terrible, real and scary human. The fact that this actually happened scares me so much, and that is why this character is at the bottom of this list. The movie follows the women who were involved in the Tate and LaBianca murders. It shows Manson as a cult leader who brainwashed these women, was responsible for various murders, and tried to start a race war that he called “Helter Skelter.” So yes, this is Smith's most wicked role.

Well, there you have it. Matt Smith’s characters ranked from best human to worst human (and in some cases, alien or AI). Since his breakout in Doctor Who, the actor has played a diverse set of roles, tending to lean toward the more evil side of things. However, it’s always nice when he can be the hero of the story from time to time. Overall, Smith commits to all his roles and will have you captivated, whether he’s a good, bad or ethically questionable character. 

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She has written for national publications as well as daily and alt-weekly newspapers in Spokane, Washington, Syracuse, New York and Charleston, South Carolina. She graduated with her master’s degree in arts journalism and communications from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Since joining the CB team she has covered numerous TV shows and movies -- including her personal favorite shows Ted Lasso and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She also has followed and consistently written about everything from Taylor Swift to Fire Country, and she's enjoyed every second of it.