15 Best Rivalries In TV Shows

POSTED BY Ali Raza, UPDATED ON February 2nd, 2024
15 Best Rivalries In TV Shows

TV show rivalries keep us hooked and make us tune into the next episode. They are practically the reason people binge-watch entire seasons within a day or two. Today, we honor some of the best rivalries in TV shows. So, let’s get started.


15. Karen Walker vs. Beverly Leslie (Will & Grace)

Karen Walker vs Beverly Leslie In Will And Grace

Will & Grace is widely considered one of the funniest comedy shows of all time. But, in its 22-year and 9-season run, nothing was as funny as the arch-rivalry between Beverly Leslie and Karen Walker.

Their bitter rivalry made a lot of episodes all the more fun to watch—and gave people a lot of memories about this outstanding comedy show.


14. J.D. vs. The Janitor (Scrubs)

J.D. vs. The Janitor

Scrubs was one of the most popular sitcoms during the mid-2000s. But, a lot of the time, the center of attention was the primary rivalry of this show between J.D. & The Janitor. J.D. was hard-working, and The Janitor was the polar opposite.

Instead of doing his job, he spends most of the episodes conspiring against J.D. and irritating him in every way he deems possible. This included pranks and fabricated stories to tarnish J.D.’s reputation. Which made this rivalry bitter and hilarious at the same time.


13. Villanelle vs. Eve (Killing Eve)

Villanelle vs Eve Killing Eve

Eve Polastri was recruited by the MI6 agency in Killing Eve to locate Villanelle. While this rivalry isn’t exactly personal, as both women are on a mission. However, Villanelle works for a secret organization called the Twelve.

So, when the two supposed enemies meet, they become obsessed with each other. While the rivalry turns into a vicious cycle of obsession, the story and chemistry between the two characters make this show worth watching.


12. Sheldon Cooper vs. Wil Wheaton (The Big Bang Theory)

Sheldon Cooper vs Wil Wheaton In The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory has its fair share of rivalries, and the biggest one was Sheldon Cooper’s against Wil Wheaton. These two nerds meet at a game tournament, where Wheaton tricks Sheldon into losing a game he’s great at—igniting a rivalry that lasts seasons across this show.


11. Tom vs. Jerry (Tom & Jerry)

Tom vs Jerry Tom & Jerry

Since 1940, TV hasn’t seen a better or more wholesome rivalry than Tom & Jerry. It’s not just any generation that knows this cartoon. In fact, in the past 82 years, many generations have grown up with this TV show.

One of the major reasons behind that is the rivalry between Tom and Jerry. That’s why this MGM production will always remain etched in our minds—even unto our future generations.


10. Jerry Seinfeld vs. Newman (Seinfeld)

Jerry Seinfeld vs. Newman

Seinfeld was one of the most-watched TV shows in the 90s. In its 9-year run, the show had many great moments and outstanding episodes and won many awards. However, one of the best things about this show was the rivalry between Newman and Jerry Seinfeld.

While you never learn why there is hostility between these two, Seinfeld describes Newman as “Lex Luthor to his Superman.” However, the answer to this question is simple, their rivalry was caused by their polar opposite personalities.


9. Johnny Lawrence vs. Daniel LaRusso (Cobra Kai/Karate Kid)

Johnny Lawrence vs Daniel LaRusso Cobra Kai Karate Kid

Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso is a rivalry that started back in 1984. Some people would say their intense rivalry ended at the Karate Kid’s end. But, since the hit TV show, Cobra Kai made its debut in 2018, the rivalry reignited itself.

This is one of the reasons people online keep asking whether Johnny and Lawrence will ever be friends. However, frenemies is a better term to describe these two. Because once their rivalry was about themselves, now it’s about their disciples.


8. Dwight Schrute vs. Jim Halpert (The Office)

Dwight Schrute Vs Jim Halpert The Office

Over 8 years and 9 seasons, The Office had many memorable moments and great stories. While Michael Scott (Steve Carell) carried the show, the rivalry between Dwight and Jim is undoubtedly one of the greatest rivalries in TV history.

Sometimes funny, other times brutal, this prank-based rivalry continued as Jim kept on poking Dwight’s inner nerd throughout the earlier seasons. While we see the two of them warm up to each other and practically become best friends, this rivalry will never be forgotten.


7. Captain Holt vs. Madeline Wuntch (Brooklyn 99)

Captain Holt vs Madeline Wuntch Brooklyn 99

Captain Holt was one of the, if not the best, characters in Brooklyn 99. His witty remarks, outstanding intellect, and quality verbose made him stand out. However, even he was shaken when he was against his arch nemesis Madeline Wuntch.

Once again, we don’t know how the rivalry started. But, because of Holt’s preferences, he turned down Madeline when they were younger. Since then, both had done all they could to sabotage each other—culminating in one of the funniest rivalries in the show.


6. Rick Grimes vs. Negan (The Walking Dead)

Rick Grimes vs. Negan

A bloodied rivalry that saw many people die and had immense effects on both sides, Rick Grimes vs. Negan is as good as it gets while zombies are looking to tear your flesh away. For over two seasons, the rivalry between these two kept The Walking Dead going.

Even in the slump of ratings, the episodes featuring these two characters face to face, in a fight, or in a chase, saw the ratings spike. While it ended up in the positive makeover of Negan, it’ll forever remain the one rivalry that charred the Walking Dead ensemble for its entirety.  


5. Eleven vs. Vecna/Mind Flayer (Stranger Things)

Eleven vs Vecna/Mind Flayer Stranger Things

You know a rivalry is good when it’s the central plot point of any TV show. In the earlier seasons, Stranger Things had many great rivalries, but Eleven’s contest with whatever was in The Upside-Down was always the center.

With Season Four’s big reveal, it’s even clearer now why this is the best rivalry in this TV show. While it might culminate in one side winning or the other in Season 5 (the final season), it’ll always remain one of the best rivalries in fantasy television.


4. Starks vs. Lannisters (Game of Thrones)

Starks vs. Lannisters

No other rivalry in any TV show might have cost thousands of lives, territories, and even entire kingdoms. It begins in the first season when Lannisters plot against the Starks by killing the hand of the King, Jon Arryn.

Then, when Ned Stark (Sean Bean) decides to become the hand of King Robert, he is dishonored and beheaded by Lannister plotting after the King dies. So, Ned’s eldest son launches a war against the South and is the killer of this father.

This ignites months of bloody battles, fights, and plotting. And it seemingly never stops either, as it continues even when Jon Snow and Sansa Stark win back and take command of Winterfell in later seasons. Making it one of the biggest rivalries in television history.


3. Walter White vs. Gustavo Fring (Breaking Bad)

Walter White vs. Gustavo Fring

Walter White is widely hailed as one of the best characters in television history. This cold and calculated man only met his match when he ran into equally cold and calculated Gustavo Fring. Widely hailed as being the more intelligent one, Fring pushed Walter to his limits.

While Walter was a better man in terms of his genius, Gus had much more control, poise, and muscle. Thus, their rivalry was one of the major devices in Breaking Bad, and many would agree it made it the show we all love and admire.


2. Daredevil/Matt Murdock vs. Wilson Fisk/The Kingpin

Daredevil Matt Murdock vs Wilson Fisk The Kingpin

Daredevil on Netflix is widely hailed by many people as the best live-action comic book show ever made. The portrayal of Daredevil (Charlie Cox) is one of the major reasons behind it, as he is the most believable and relatable Devil of Hell’s Kitchen.

However, he is driven forward equally by his more-than-formidable foe, Wilson Fisk. A giant of a man, highly intelligent, with astonishing mystery around him, The Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio) is perhaps the best on-screen portrayal of the character.

While Daredevil does immense damage to his organization, it’s incredible to see how the Man Without Fear can feel fear when he goes against the Kingpin.


1. Sherlock Holmes vs. Jim Moriarty (Sherlock)

Sherlock Holmes vs Jim Moriarty Sherlock

Not many people can challenge Sherlock Holmes, let alone bring him to his knees in terms of intellect. Jim Moriarty didn’t only do that but almost got away with it. While this rivalry has seen many iterations in books, movies, and even games.

However, the retelling of this story in the BBC TV show is widely hailed as the best adaptation it has seen. It’s always great to see two characters trading blows and combinations. However, Sherlock vs. Morality shows us how incredible it can be when two geniuses go against one another.

What are the best rivalries in TV shows in your opinion? Share with us in the comments!

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