Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Top 5 Worst Star Trek TNG Characters

Star Trek: The Next Generation is my favorite series in the franchise, and has some of the most memorable episodes and characters in all of the Trekverse.  But it also has a dark side.  For every Jean-Luc Picard or Data, there's a character who made him or herself notorious through lousy acting, lousy writing, or who was just a bad idea.  Here are the top 5 worst Star Trek: TNG characters as we see it.

5: William T. Riker - Jonathan Frakes isn't the best actor, but that isn't my problem with Riker. What I hated was how the writers kept trying to shoehorn the character into a size 9 when he's clearly an 11. Two giant examples come to mind. First, he is constantly being portrayed as a ladies' man--this show's Captain Kirk, irresistible to green women--despite his being smooth as sandpaper and transparent as Saran Wrap. Second, we are barraged with references to his greatness. He has been offered his own command numerous times, he was the hero of this or that--all in stark contrast to the oft-confused and occasionally bumbling fool we cut actually see over the course of 178 episodes.

4: Deanna Troi - The "empath" who spends a lot of time touching her temples and crinkling her forehead. She was the ship's counsellor, and, somehow, a bridge officer. I can't help but think that the writers planned to do ore with her, but were limited by Marina Sirtis's halted and occasionally difficult acting.

3: Tasha Yar - Train wreck. She was the tactical officer who had the worst fake-crying performance in the history of television. She also sexed up the android Data. Then Denise Crosby wanted off the show so Tasha was killed unceremoniously. Then the show became popular and she didn't, so she desperately wanted to hitch her wagon back to the show, and was able to through some time-travel horseplay. The whole thing was a convoluted mess. The best thing about Tasha Yar was that she died and allowed Worf to have a more central role.

2: Beverley Crusher - Worst actor on the series. She also left for an entire season to "head up Starfleet Medical" or some such nonsense, despite her showing very little skill or ingenuity (especially compared to the doctors from the other Trek shows). Her acting was what you get on bad SNL skits--she might as well have been a voiced-over cardboard cutout. Plus, she got herself sexually involved with her creepy dead grandmother's ex-lover's holo-ghost in what may be the worst Star Trek episode ever.

1: Wesley Crusher - Everyone but Gene Roddenberry hated him. He's the super-brilliant but socially inept kid who was inexplicably given the position of acting ensign, despite his lack of training, and allowed to take important shifts on the bridge despite there being a ship filled with more qualified officers behind him. He also had an irritating knack for saving the day at the last second because, you know, he's a genius. He finally left the show, only to occasionally rear his head when accidentally getting his friends killed.

We literally re-watched every episode of TNG before putting together this list.  You may have a fond memory of one or two of these characters in their shining moments (Riker shines in Frame of Mind, for example), but on a whole, these sucked.  But don't take our word for it--tell us what you think in the comments, and don't forget to find us on Facebook and like our page!

45 comments:

  1. Huh. Good points, but I still disagree with everyone but your #1. I liked Beverly Crusher, and always liked the concept of the romance between her and Picard. And in Barklay's holosim, she looked stunning in the dress.

    I liked Yar because she died, and it was neat to set up her Romulan daughter later in the series. Not the greatest actress, but it added a weight to the series right off.



    Troi could have been a ton better, but I feel they dropped the ball. Kind of as bad as they did with Kes on Voyager. One of my favorite episodes was when Troi was on the Romulan ship as a Romulan.


    I liked Riker, as sometimes, he seemed to be the most likable character of the show, when he wasn't being an ass or the story didn't tell us how great he really was. I really liked it when he was copied by a teleporter accident, and felt that should have been explored far more than it was, because it ALMOST gave him this tragic edge....

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  2. I think the Riker copy appeared in an episode of DS9 some years later. I agree with the point about the Troi/Kes similarities in the treatment form the writers (as you know, I liked Kes too). I thought Yar and Bev were just done in by bad acting. It was tough for me to get past that.

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  3. I agree with your list. I especially hated the Capt Kirk stand in. I don't remember him being so large in the beginning. Dianna Troi, really what was she needed for ? Children on a star ship come on .......

    But I guess I was more old school trek than new school.

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  4. You know, now that I think about it, why isn't the woman who replaced Bev Crusher for that season on this list? God I hated her, especially that argument she had with Data on how to pronounce his name....


    And yeah, the Riker copy appeared on ds9, he was part of the...uhm...terrorist organization in the neutral zone, part of them made up the crew on Voyager. I liked that episode on there quite a bit, but I felt sad to know how far the Riker copy had fallen.

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  5. I liked that other doctor--she reminded me of Bones. I sorta wish she stayed on, but apparently Patrick Stewart really wanted Bev Crusher to come back.


    The Maquis. That's the terrorist organization.


    Man, Voyager was a bad show.

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  6. Haha, I loved Voyager! But then we've already discussed that. If it comes out on BluRay I'd prob grab it, and Enterprise. Want to rewatch both of those sometime.


    I was never reminded of Bones when she was on, I was more seeing a pompus old woman who was better than everyone. That 'how you pronounce Data's name' killed it. "My way of pronouncing your name is better than the way your father pronounced it...." Reminded me later of how Mila Jovovich was on the Resident Evil (1) commentary, talking emphatically how to pronounce her last name.

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  7. Never saw Resident Evil, but I understand what you're saying. She was far from a favorite of mine, but I liked her better than I liked Beverly Crusher, that's all.


    You should check out Netflix--it has every season of ever Star Trek series. I have a few episodes of the animated series left to watch, but otherwise I've seen them all. It's amazing.

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  8. Only watched a few bits and pieces of the series, but love how Wil Wheaton has come all the way back in the fanboy world to hero via his online and twitter presence. Not to mention how he brilliantly plays an amazing version of himself on "The Big Bang Theory."

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  9. By the way, check out a recent blog post of Wheaton's on his experience filming the show...

    http://wilwheaton.net/2013/01/a-matter-of-perspective/

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  10. I think I was a bigger fan of TNG than I was of the original series, but there were some real stinkers in the way of characters.

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  11. Yeah, I've read all sorts of stuff about him on Star Trek--some co-workers thought the world of him; others didn't. Some interviews I've read have him talking it up like it was great, others have him crapping on his colleagues. Amazing how he reinvented himself though.

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  12. Interesting side note--his college roommate is the host of the BBC America show The Nerdist.

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  13. Generally agree with your picks, although I have some sympathy for Troi as I think she has a nice bottom.


    Does that make me a bad person?

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  14. That makes you pretty damn normal! lol...

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  15. So actually the only characters you liked were Data, La Forge, and the Captain. The acting is not always so great, but generally when I like a series I like the characters, to one degree or another. I didn't like Tasha Yar, but noticed her acting was much better in the episode where she ends up going back in time. Sometimes I wonder how much is acting ability or directing, script, yada yada...

    Stewart is a fine actor of course-I was just watching "The Perfect Mate" from Season 5, and the actress who played opposite the Captain was just awful. She was supposed to become whatever the man she was with wanted her to be, so she proclaims to him that she is "adventurous, intelligent...yada yada" without displaying ANY of the characteristics she is listing.....



    Once in awhile a truly interesting actor would come on the show, I'm thinking of the guy who played Spock's Father, especially when he and Stewart were working together. OH, so THAT's what the lines sound like when the actor actually knows what he's doing!

    I still like the show and the majority of the characters though......

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  16. Just for reference, here's the top 5 characters I liked: http://kooztop5.blogspot.com/2012/11/top-5-best-star-trek-next-generation.html

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  17. Adrian St. JorreJune 11, 2013 at 2:53 AM

    Let me start by saying I've only watched the first 3 seasons. I'm in the process of watching the rest on Netflix.

    Wesley Crusher was an annoying character but I think he had some value in being there for other characters to play off of. Wesley being there allowed Jorde, Data and Picard to have some really nice moments. I wouldn't get rid of Wesley but I would give him a sense of humour and make him less of a winy b*tch. I like Riker and I even like the idea of a Kirk stand-in but the character was doomed right from the pilot because of the love affair with Troi. Always having the Riker-Troi relationship hanging in the background prevented Riker from randomly hooking up with sexy green aliens and being a kirk-esque bad-ass because he had to remain a guy that Troi would be in love with.

    Which brings me to the utterly useless character of Deanna Troi. I am human (not betezoid) and the vast majority of Troi's 'feelings' could easily be deduced from tone and context, her advise to the other characters has roughly the same value as using a calculator to make sure 2+2=4. One could argue that she has the same value I attributed to Wesley Crusher but the "please share your emotions scenes" could just as easily have been taken on by Beverly Crusher making her a stronger character in the process.
    Removing Troi from the show would unarguably have made it better and that's why she is my one and only worst character.

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  18. Troi is awful, and you'll get no argument here. Especially since your comment was very well thought out! What I would argue with is that she is the only bad character. You won't even give me Tasha Yar?

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  19. Call it a line in the sand, but I make a distinction between a weak character and a bad character. A weak character does nothing to improve the show, a bad character actively makes it worse. I’m definitely not claiming that Tasha Yar
    was good character but I would call her weak rather than bad. Data is great
    character and ‘The Measure of a Man’ is one of my favourite episodes I’ve seen
    so far; without Data’s hook-up with Yar that episode might have been different
    or they might not have made it at all. For that reason alone Yar has at least some
    value. There is no question, however, that the show got better once Wharf was
    made chief of security. With that in mind I would say that it’s a good thing
    they killed her off but I’m not sure the show would have been better if she
    hadn’t been there at all. What do you think?

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  20. why does everyone hate tasha?
    Denise wanted out because of the fact that-back then, trek had Roddenberry driving it to its early grave. There are worse characters like...oh, i don't know-Kate Pulaski for one or Worf for the first three seasons really.
    The endless count of bad guest stars that ruined episodes would also rank higher on my list really...

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  21. Musicon HaidaGwaiiAugust 19, 2013 at 4:14 AM

    Wesley Bieber is more like it.

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  22. Musicon HaidaGwaiiAugust 19, 2013 at 4:15 AM

    I disagree - I found her insights to be akin to spying at times.

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  23. Musicon HaidaGwaiiAugust 19, 2013 at 4:17 AM

    Ugh Wil has to be the WORST actor I have ever seen and even though I am loving STNG i have to fast forward his scenes because if I have to see one more moment of his terrible over vacant wide eyed open mouthed keener face, I will kill my TV.

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  24. I think you might be unfairly judging some of these characters. Yes the characters might have been flat but it wasn't the fault of the actors.


    Marina Sirtis has said that she "never got an acting note" when it came to Deanna, and it was all about her looks.


    Gates McFadden was fired for being a feminist, and though her character was originally poised to be Picard's love interest, when she returned she had Pulaski storylines, not Crusher storylines.


    Denise Crosby wanted out because Gene Roddenberry said explicitly the show was about The Captain, the First Officer, and Data. She wanted something more to do (like the scene between her and Worf when they talk about him betting on during the kickboxing match).


    Considering this, you can't really say they were the worst, they just weren't given the best material and part of that is because of the way the show was run.

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  25. And her analysis was "psych major halfway through college" level at best.

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  26. Tasha was a poorly written character--you alluded to it yourself. Doesn't matter whose fault, and nobody's getting on Denise, but Tasha was pure crap.

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  27. They weren't given the best material--therefore, they has worse material. You can't spin gold from straw, but that doesn't mean the guy with the gold is any less rich, or that you're sitting on a fortune in straw. Maybe it was the writing, maybe the acting, maybe a combination, but these characters were shit.

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  28. I'm having a flashback to the rape gangs of Turkana IV.

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  29. She was an atrocious actor and her scenes were actively difficult to watch.

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  30. I keep coming back to this blog post every time I see an episode with Will Wheaton. My toes curl at his 'golly gee whilikers' approach and I inevitable Google something like "Will Wheaton Worst Actor Ever" and this comes up. So thank you for a venue to direct my internet rage.

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  31. I think she brought very little to the show, and we wouldn't have the muddled future episodes of her coming back in the form of... whatever.


    Although, All Good Things wouldn't have been as good without the sucker punch of seeing her and realizing he's back on the Enterprise on his first mission with the crew...

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  32. You literally watched every episode as opposed to figuratively watching them? Tardo...

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  33. As opposed to colloquially. Take it easy, man. And Tardo? That's brilliant.

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  34. Beverly Crusher is not only the worst Star Trek character, she is the worst actress in television history. She quit tng because her character wasn't being developed to her liking. She only got her job back because of a personal "friendship" with Patrick Stewart. You'll notice that in season 1 she was in the background where she belonged but in season three she's practically the main character. You can tell the producers were shoe horning her into every scene they could to appease her. By season 5 she was in practically every scene. I fucking hate that bitch. I know everyone hates Dr. Pulaski, but I love her, because she isn't Beverly crusher. I watch tng all the way through about every three years. It's gotten to where I love season two and after that I skip whole episodes to avoid seeing the dumb loose cunt. The second worst character by a very close race, is keiko obrien. I would gladly watch both of them skydive without a parachute.

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  35. Yeah, love your line about Dr. Pulaski. Bev Crusher is awful. Any episode that centers on her is awful. She brings nothing to the table. No doubt the show would have been better off without her. Keiko I didn't mind--she wasn't there enough (either in TNG or DS9) to make too much of a negative impression.

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  36. The actress that played Beverly Crusher was a highly talented actor, in fact one of the few in the first season of TNG. Even Michael Dorn (Worf) who is a fan favorite is a horrid actor. Tasha Yar, D'eanna Troi, Wesley Crusher even Geordi LaForge are portrayed by second rate actors at best. Picard and Crusher were the only ones that made season one bearable.

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  37. Have to disagree on Crusher and LaForge, but I'm with you on everyone else.

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  38. You did not mention Worf, who in Michael Dorn's own words acted the character by just hating everybody he came in contact with. With his facial expressions being usually out of context with what was happening at the time and his terrible acting he surely should get a high place in your list. What an interesting character Worf could have been if played by an actor with imagination.

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  39. I thought Crusher was okay. McFadden's not great, but worst actor on the series? Nah, Denise Crosby by a mile.


    The worst character was Deanna Troi. She looked and dressed and had an accent like an elven sorceress. Give her pointy ears and a magical staff and she'd be right at home in Lord of the Rings. I suppose at the time the character was created to appeal to the New Age crowd but it's so tone-deaf in the Star Trek universe. Why didn't she ever wear a Starfleet uniform? Yes, I get that having her in skintight onesies is fan service, but it's cringeworthy bad. And see how much of a woman she is? She's so emotional, knows what everyone is feeling and craves chocolate! Sorry, but Bev Crusher, the only other main female character, wins by default.



    The others I can't really argue with. Riker is a Kirk clone without Kirk's ironically funny flair and ambition. Yar was awful but at least her tenure was short. I kind of see what they were trying to do with Wesley as a character for children to identify with and look up to but it backfired miserably.

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  40. I didn't mind Worf so much. Maybe I am prejudiced by watching him on DS9, where he was a better character, but I didn't mind him at all.

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  41. It's subjective--there wa s alot of bad acting on that show. It was really saved by 2 people: Picard and Data. Both fine actors.

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  42. Commander Shelby from B"Best of Both Worlds" takes the cake. The "Borg expert" (never seen a Borg in her life) who abnoxiously wanted to take Riker's place. LIttle miss perfect with a knack for being a knowitall. Most annoying character in the history of anything.

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  43. I kind of liked Yar. I would've replaced her with Q on this list.

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  44. Gates McFadden, feminist eh... well that explains it then lol Bev Crusher, what a shit character.

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