The funny thing is, I like Paladins. At least, I like what they have the potential to be. I don't generally use them (I like primary casters more) but they have the capacity to be awesome. The problem is that they are also hideously easy to screw up and a paladin done badly is annoying as hell. I think the closest I find in literature these days are the Knights of the Cross from Dresden Files. They're extremely dangerous under very narrow conditions but if you aren't within their remit then you're safe from them and arguably safe from everything else while you're around them.