Mooks / Live-Action TV

  • The Batman Rogues Gallery (in the Adam West series, at least) employed mooks. A particularly nicely named group were the Penguin's Grand Order of Occidental Nighthawks (GOONs).
    • Some villains in the 1990s animated series followed suit, most memorably Mr. Freeze's thugs who wore heavy, hooded fur coats. Since their employer produced pure cold, this may have been less about adhering to a theme, and more about staving off frostbite.
      • Joker started off with a few minions of his own, but between his financial troubles and his reputation as a Bad Boss, it was eventually down to just him and Harley.
      • Bad as he was, he had one recurring henchman in the comics before Harley: Southpaw, his left-hand man. He also had Mo, Lar, and Cur in Batman: The Animated Series.
  • Usually in Doctor Who, villains like the Daleks and Cybermen have a commander, such as the Dalek Emperor and Davros for the Daleks, and the Cyber-Leader or Cyber-Controller for the Cybermen, or even The Master for both, who's in charge, and the rest usually fufill the role of mooks.
    • Averted in the episode "Dalek", where there's only one of the titular enemy, and who's given a personality before it dies.
  • Super Sentai and Power Rangers. Suited guys with metal masks will usually come along with the Monster of the Week to dance around in the background while the Power Rangers pick them off. The first time a different kind of these guys are fought, the rangers will have to morph up in order to take them down, but after the first battle which has the rangers figuring out how to defeat them, they can thereafter be fought and taken down without morphing at all. Each villain had a different variety; let's just list the Power Rangers ones: Rita and Zedd used Putty Patrollers, which became Tenga Warriors in Season 3; The Machine Empire used Cogs...If you care... 
    • Starting with Power Rangers S.P.D., there is sometimes a multi-layer cannon fodder system where you've got your generic mooks, your rarer but tougher mooks, and even an Elite Mook that's as good as or even tougher than the Monster of the Week. However, expect the higher levels to stop being so tough very soon after they appear.
    • The Putties had lots of personality too. Seriously, Jason even encountered a particularly smart one that could drive.
    • Many Tokusatsu shows such feature henchmen for the heroes to fight.
    • Samurai Sentai Shinkenger even has Mooks on the side of good with the Kuroko (stagehands. It Makes Sense in Context.)
    • The password for a computer program made by Power Rangers Zeo Blue Ranger Rocky was "mook." This password would be visibly typed in by a Machine Empire Mecha-Mook called a Cog in order to steal the software and create the monster Silo.
    • The whole concept of Mooks being easy for the heroes to defeat was even lampshaded in one episode by King Mondo, where he complained, "What's the point of building more Cogs when the Rangers are just going to reduce them to scrap metal?!" (This led to a henchman getting an idea which was sort of a new approach, but it still didn't work in the end.)
    • The Mooks do get glory at times, though; the finale episodes of Turbo, Lost Galaxy, Lightspeed Rescue, and Time Force all featured armies of Mooks storming the rangers' home bases, and ultimately destroying them.
    • And their usefulness is lampshaded in one episode of Operation Overdrive; one of the Big Bads, Kamdor, notes that while he can create monsters, Flurious and Moltor both have armies of foot soldiers. And it's proven earlier in the episode that numbers make a big difference; if the Rangers hadn't shown up, he and his Dragon Miratrix would have likely been defeated. Kamdor subsequently brainwashes a group of stuntmen playing ninjas to fight for himself, but while they help, the spell only lasts for that one episode.
  • Kamen Rider has them less often, but a handful of KR series do. They'll often have design homages to the first batch, the Shocker Soldiers in the original series.
    • Kamen Rider Dragon Knight takes a one-shot monster from Kamen Rider Ryuki and mass-produces it.note  One of the Kamen Rider Den-O movies, made after KRDK's end, then uses them! Yes, it's okay if your head hurts now. The movie was a Decade crossover, so it could be all Decade's fault (in other words, maybe they're really from Ryuki World or even an unseen Dragon Knight World.)
    • In the 999th and 1000th episodes of the Kamen Rider franchise, we get Mookdom taken to its logical conclusion: In Kamen Rider OOO, the main villains create the Monster of the Week from people's desires. This one's created from the rage of a former Shocker Soldier whose name actually is "Mook",note  who is pissed at the years and years and years of Mooks having their butts handed to them by Kamen Riders. He goes on to spawn a small army of footsoldiers from across franchise history... or rather, Yummies (OOO's monsters) in the form of them. Apparently, foot soldier job satisfaction is about as low as you'd expect... but they take pride in it.
    • In Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, we get a similar situation (though in a brief sequence), during Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger the Movie: The Flying Ghost Ship. The Gokaigers face a multi-seasonal army of grunts who have Mook Pride. When looked down upon as cannon fodder, they insisted that they weren't just goons, they were valiant warriors of evil! They're told that they are just cannon fodder, and go on to experience typical mook results when the Gokaigers lay into them. They merge into a giant gestalt Mook, but quickly fall to infighting and get destroyed because, as Captain Marvelous puts it, "Once a mook, always a mook!"
      • Funnily enough, the main spokesmook was a Nanashi. They didn't talk in Shinkenger.
      • Ironically, the only mooks not present for the aforementioned giant gestalt Mook (the Combined Combatant) were the Gormin, the foot soldiers of the current seasonnote .
    • Kamen Rider has an interesting and evolving relationship with this trope. At first, it was more like other Toku series, with a campy colorful villain, his Monster of the Week, and a squad of goons that the hero(es) could usually deal with without even bothering to suit up.note  Plot convenience decided whether they would be surprisingly competent, just a warm-up for the fight against the Monster of the Week, or even comic relief for even Butt-Monkey characters to toss around. No different from the Putty Patrol. Black curiously lacked footsoldiers, Black RX brought them back. Grunts would vanish entirely after Black RX, with none of the 90s movies or first decade of Revival series having them. However, those series did have a few mass-produced enemies. They'd get demoted to Mooks in later appearances.note  However, it would change with Kamen Rider Decade. Between instances of re-using mass-produced monsters as footsoldiers and crossovers with series that always had mooks, apparently The Powers That Be decided it was time to dust off this trope. However, it's still with a twist: In post-Decade series, the Monster of the Week was often acting on its own, being (or working with) a human with a grudge and access to an evil power source. The main villains have a long-term plan that is helped along by manipulating these humans, but doesn't actually hinge on whether or not that kid gets revenge on the girls at his school for rejecting him. Only high level villains have armies of footsoldiers. This means Mooks aren't comic relief or warm-up for the real fight anymore; the main villain's personal army showing up is how you know things just got serious.
  • The idea of mooks as standard monster backup in every fight returns with the Ghouls of Kamen Rider Wizard, but the villains seem to be Genre Savvy: it hasn't been stated explicitly, but they seem to know the Ghouls really have no chance of defeating Wizard, and just use them to keep him busy while they go after the Gate. The Real Life reason for them is that Kamen Rider Beast must feed on the energy of monsters he defeats; they can't have him finish every monster from his debut onward, so Beast has Ghouls to snack on as well.
    • Kamen Rider Gaim does it Kabuto-style: Monsters start in identical basic forms until one molts into the Monster of the Week. The others keep up the fight.
    • Kamen Rider Drive does it the same way. However, there are exactly 108 Roidmudes, including the ones still in their basic state. As such, if a Monster of the Week Roidmude has basic ones as backup, there will only be two or three. The only battle with an army of basic Roidmudes was one against an Outside-Context Villain whose power was assimilating and making copies of any technology it encountered.
    • Kamen Rider Ghost has Mooks that are actually not the same as the monsters' basic forms, though similar.
    • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Grunts are back to being in almost every fight; each is tailored to the monster it accompanies but the heads stay the same.
    • Kamen Rider Build:The Guardians fill this role - initially, it might seem like their role is actually a subversion, being robots instead of living beings, but it's revealed that they're working for Faust, thus playing this trope straight.
  • The Jaffa of Stargate SG-1. Extensive work in both canon and fanon has been done to justify this, mostly with weaknesses that could be removed once they changed sides;
    • Biology: As long as a Jaffa isn't decapitated or ripped apart and his symbiote isn't killed, he'll usually heal completely within a week. They thus willingly charge in blindly due to..
    • Training: Jaffa are conditioned from birth to see their leaders as gods who will reward them for their service in the afterlife - and thus rush their enemies on command. They have reserves, and young, ignorant soldiers are less likely to rebel.
    • Armament: Staff weapons fire energy bolts which are loud, flashy, and inflict distinctive wounds, but are really hard to aim, rarely do damage beyond twenty meters and fire only once a second. People with decades of training such as Teal'c and Master Bra'tac can hit a human-sized target at range two times out of three. Fanon is that they are purposefully Awesome, but Impractical - modified to produce louder, brighter bolts at the cost of range, accuracy and power.
      O'Neil: This... (lifts a staff weapon) is a weapon of terror. It's made to... intimidate the enemy. (throws staff weapon away) This (lifts the P90) is a weapon of war. It is made to kill your enemy.
      • Once the marines wind up at a rebel training camp, they give them FN-P90s and decent training. It's the birth of the Free Jaffa Nation!
      • O'Neil outright stated that their armor and weapons were designed for intimidation, not killing. The Ori solders, who use simpler weapons that were designed for killing and ease of use, are so much deadlier despite being mostly untrained peasants, though still blindly fanatical mooks that die by the hundreds.
  • The sheriff's men from Robin of Sherwood. The Merry Men of Sherwood killed ten or so per episode. It really got to the point where you had to wonder what kind of recruitment package was being offered.
  • Most of the villains in Firefly have gangs of hired goons, mercenaries, or thugs to back them up. In particular, Rance Burgess and Adelei Niska seem to have their own personal armies.
  • In The '60s spy series The Man From Uncle, THRUSH employs metric tons of Mooks. They even wear uniforms and have distinct ranks of officers (whether commissioned or non-commissioned is left up in the air) and other ranks, usually distinguished by their uniforms when both types appear.
  • Subverted by Heroes, volume 4: when a Mook is sacrificed by Danko to keep his plans moving, Nathan tells him about the Mook's wife and children.
  • Most of the Big Bads in Buffy the Vampire Slayer had Mooks of one sort or another. Generally vampires, but the First had its Bringers and Glory had her demons.
    • In 'Once More With Feeling,' they were also trained dancers.
    • Buffy calls the mercenary demon from the episode "Flooded" a mook when he breaks her designer lamp.
  • The named warriors of Season 3 of Deadliest Warrior are always accompanied by four Mooks, who never survive the sim. Jesse James vs. Al Capone of Season 2 also had three mooks each, though it's subverted by there being another survivor alongside Jesse James, who's often speculated to be Jesse's big brother Frank..
  • An early 1990s SNL sketch shows footage from an action movie of a hero beating up a group of ninjas. Afterwards they try to evaluate what went wrong:
    Ninja Leader: Okay, guys, pointing fingers won't solve anything. Now, if we want to get out of this rut.. we have to learn from these little disasters. Now, before the fight, how did we all agree we should attack the guy?
    Group: All together!
    Ninja Leader: And how did we attack?
    Group: One at a time..