Science fiction has long been the canvas upon which humanity paints its dreams, fears, and hopes. Sometimes it can lay the paint on too hard, though, and that’s the inspiration for this list. These characters aren't your throwaway Jar Jars and Ana Lucias, whose universal repulsiveness left them suspended in science fiction infamy. No: these are main characters who have something so noxious and reprehensible lodged in the core of their being that their very existence needs to be accounted for and publicly scorned. Jump in to learn more, though be aware: there are spoilers!
5. John Connor of Terminator 2
The mistake: Furlong’s John Connor is a walking, talking time stamp of 1991 (a year, by the way, that nobody wanted time stamped). That James Cameron did not realize that early 90s street culture wouldn’t mature like a fine wine over the decades is one of the most epic oversights in filmmaking history. And speaking of history, has John Connor even heard of it? He asks the Terminator if humanity is going to make it, and gets the response, “It’s in your nature to destroy yourself.” Connor’s rebuttal: “Major drag, huh?” Really? The impending destruction of our species is a major drag? You know you’re in trouble when your killer robot characters are more in touch with humanity than its destined savior.
The lesson: What’s the point in saving a world you don’t even respect? Have a little humility before history, Connor.
4. Deanna Troi of Star Trek
The mistake: Deanna Troi was originally intended to have four breasts. Doesn’t that say it all? An ill-fated attempt at feminism and an even iller-fated attempt at entertainment, Troi parades around in cleavage-heavy bunny suits, utilizing the vaguest, least helpful power in the show (“I sense…emotion” – uh yeah, Deanna, we all can). She also constantly gets kidnapped, finds herself in intractable love triangles, and is a chocolate connoisseur. Is she from the planet Stereotype?
The lesson: Being the physical incarnation of misogynistic stereotypes is not the path to overcoming them.
3. Ellen Tigh of Battlestar Galactica
The mistake: Just when we thought it was impossible to like Ellen Tigh, her tearjerker death scene changed our tune. Such satisfying closure to such a troubled story! But then, she just had to come back, and she just had to be the most important member of the final five, and she just had to make the exact mistakes as a cylon that she did as a human. Frak!
The lesson: Don’t undermine your own redemption! Even cylons don't get a second shot.
2. Sawyer of Lost
The mistake: Sawyer is undoubtedly one of the strongest Lost characters in the show’s early seasons. But when he fulfills his life goal of finding the man responsible for his parents’ deaths midway through Season Three, he quickly becomes the most irritating islander and guys…that includes Jacob. Sawyer spends the rest of the series hanging around calling people folksy nicknames: in the absence of his dark inner quest, this just makes him an insecure cheeseball. He may as well have been played by Matt LeBlanc for the rest of the show. What’s more: it’s exactly Sawyer’s early complexity and charisma that makes this castrated version so grating: is there anything worse than seeing a beloved character become a cartoon of himself?
The lesson: Diversify. Sawyer wouldn’t have lost his edge if he’d bothered to come up with more than one life goal, instead of becoming a lost-confidence man.
1. Anakin Skywalker of the Star Wars prequels
The mistake: Where. To. Start. Like John Connor, young Anakin has no respect for the universe he’s supposed to save. Like Deanna Troi, teenage Anakin wanders around making vomit-inducing pronouncements about his feelings (we can never un-hear him compare Padme to sand). And like Ellen Tigh, adult Anakin is an ethical vacuum incapable of learning from mistakes. In Revenge of the Sith, we see him ponder if he should turn to the Dark Side for a hot millisecond, and the next time we see him, he kills a bunch of kids! What? Who vetted this guy, Satan?
The lesson: You can't lose the moral compass you never had.
What SciFi characters do you find annoying?