Hard question, etc. etc. Not hard because there’s a lot to choose from, though: precisely the opposite. I have almost nothing to do with Sith. I’ll name them: Darth Maul, Darth Tyranus, Darth Sidious, Darth Vader, and Steve. I mean Exar Kun. I also read a comic book with Naga Sadow in it. Or maybe it was Fredon Nadd. Anyway, the point is that I have had very little to do with Sith, and in general, I hate them and not the way you’re supposed to.
Darth Maul is a puppet. He’s a catchphrase. He has no genuine motivation, no personality, nothing. He is as two-dimensional a villain as you could possibly want. Insert Lightsaber A into Killingpeople B. His tattoos make no sense, and while nothing takes away how cool the fight in E1 looks, there is nothing behind the Insidious-demon face paint. He could be a droid for all anyone knows or cares.
Darth Tyranus makes no sense. First of all, if the Jedi are right about Sith only having one apprentice at a time (and the Jedi have no reason to be right about this) and George Lucas’ timeline is acceptable (it isn’t), why would Sidious take this old man as his apprentice within weeks of losing Maul, whom he poured energy on for about 20 years? Why would he take on this old guy as an apprentice anyway, and why would Dooku agree to such a thing? An apprentice, by definition, is someone you are transferring all your knowledge to, and an old guy who withdrew from the Jedi has nothing to bring to the table. Furthermore, that business about him training Qui-Gon was a pointless complication. I once calculated that if that was true, he’d have to be about 117 in Episode II, and how could he know who Obi-Wan was (via QG bragging on him) without meeting him? It makes no sense. Nothing about him makes sense. I love Christopher Lee, a lot, but Dooku is dookie.
Darth Vader — the saga might be about his fall and his son’s rise, but he is disappointment incarnate. Unpredictable, fueled by rage without being tempered by sense, he longs for someone to give him orders and can’t work his way out of the tragedy encircling him. Finally, too dense to retreat when Obi-Wan is out of his reach, he renders himself a quadruple-amputee by making a cocky revenge dive at his more-adept master. He survives, barely, trapped in a walking iron lung for all of eternity because he couldn’t master his emotions. His redemption is solid but he’s no great Sith. Not even close.
So what’s it come down to? I almost want to say Exar Kun.
Exar Kun was a Sith lord from about 5,000 years before the Original Trilogy. His story appears in Kevin J. Anderson’s Jedi Academy Trilogy: having preserved his spirit in the stones of the temple Luke uses for his Jedi training ground, Kun alternately possesses and kills off students in an attempt to get a body back and resume his reign of terror. He also appears in a score of comics, which is why in the end I’m not picking him. The emotion I feel for him isn’t the him in those comics, and Anderson just . . . isn’t good enough for favorites.
So as always, it comes down to Papa Palpatine and me.
Well, as it turns out, Sidious really is my favorite. Read all about my love/hate for him here.