Across seven different series and 10 feature films, Star Trek introduces audiences to some of the most iconic characters in science fiction.
From heroic Starfleet Captains to detached, ingenious Science Officers, to cantankerous doctors with no bedside manner, many of these characters have become the byword for certain well-known screen archetypes.
It is difficult to overstate how many times these characters have been parodied and copied. Yet, even a franchise as influential as Star Trek doesn’t hit the mark every time. Throughout the years, some of their characters have been not fully realized, are instantly forgettable, or just plain annoying.
You may find profit-obsessed Ferengi bartender Quark grating, but he adds layers of humor to a sometimes heavy, message-driven series in Deep Space Nine. Whoopi Goldberg’s Guinan in The Next Generation may not have been as well explored as you would have liked but her mystique added to her character rather than detracted.
Conversely, the characters in this list are not only annoying or unexplored but they have contributed nothing meaningful to the plot, nor advanced our understanding of the other characters, nor even added a little light relief.
Star Trek would have been just the same without these characters. Perhaps it would have been even better off without them.
Here are 17 Characters Star Trek Wants You To Completely Forget About.
17. Ellen Landry (Discovery)
Star Trek: Discovery is the newest outing into the Trek universe. It introduces a crew of new characters, including Ellen Landry; the tough, no-nonsense Security Chief aboard the Discovery. It is still refreshing to see women in positions of military command and Landry, although not a sympathetic character, was a solid addition to the crew and appeared a competent military leader.
Until she was killed off by the tardigrade in episode 4.
Landry was ripped apart by the alien creature she named “Ripper” when she attempted to kill it. It seemed a weak end for a strong character and her death was largely pointless. It felt as though it was used purely to open a space as Security Chief for the character of newcomer Tyler.
16. Tasha Yar (The Next Generation)
Continuing the theme of Star Trek’s strong military-focused women meeting lame ends, Tasha Yar met her fate in “Skin of Evil”, the 23rd episode of The Next Generation. Tasha died as callously as any redshirt. She was killed by a force blast from the creature Armus, expiring before she hit the ground.
Inspired by Vasquez in Aliens, the Tasha Yar was one of few women in The Next Generation not filling standard maternal or care-giving roles as she acted as the tactical officer of the Enterprise. Her death saw an end to one of the more androgynous characters on the Enterprise. At least until they brought her back then rewrote her demise in “Yesterday’s Enterprise”.
15. Carol Marcus (Star Trek Into Darkness)
The original Carol Marcus is an important character in Star Trek lore. Introduced in the widely adored Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan, Carol is a molecular biologist, daughter of Admiral Alexander Marcus, inventor of the Genesis Device, and mother of Kirk’s only known son.
Carol was re-imagined in the second rebooted Star Trek movie, played by Alice Eve. In the Kelvin timeline, Carol was a doctor of applied physics, specializing in advanced weaponry. Her father was responsible for the augmented human John Harrison and she felt a personal responsibility to stop him. Unfortunately, the most impressive thing she does in the movie is give her father a slap and scream really dramatically.
14. Alexander (Deep Space Nine)
Alexander Rozhenko, or Alexander Son of Worf, is half Klingon and half human.
Alexander doesn’t inspire the same hatred that other child characters in Trek do (see our next entry) but this is only because he is such a formulaic character.
Although born in the Klingon Empire, Alexander’s mother died when he was young and he was raised on Earth by his grandparents, hardly seeing his father, Worf.
Alexander is the stereotypical child who doesn’t want to end up like his dad but still craves his validation. Worf is constantly trying to encourage his son to embrace Klingon tradition but Alexander is far from a warrior. When he does find his place in a Klingon crew, it is as an odd form of klutzy comic relief.
13. Wesley Crusher (Nemesis)
Fan hatred of Wesley Crusher is well-documented. The egotistical child prodigy frequently saves the crew of the Enterprise with various Deus ex Machinas and eventually dropped out of Starfleet Academy to travel with the mysterious, powerful being known as The Traveler. Even the man who played him, Wil Wheton, agreed that the character was really quite whiny.
Regardless of fan reaction, Wesley felt important to The Next Generation, for the very Deus ex Machina reasons mentioned above. The Enterprise needed Wesley. Right?
It turned out he was not as integral to the story as he thought, being one of the only members of The Next Generation not brought back for the movie Nemesis. A scene was written for him and then cut, so he’s only seen in the background of the wedding scene. Perhaps fans would have preferred that had happened to all his scenes in The Next Generation?
12. Kes (Voyager)
Kes started out with an intriguing character concept.
She was imagined as an alien “Mayfly” with a lifespan of only nine years. As an Ocampa, a race native to the Delta Quadrant, Kes has unusual powers of eidetic memory, precognition, and telekinesis. Due to her short lifespan, Kes also possesses a childlike nature and sense of wonder and curiosity.
Kes had been a slave of the Kazon but was rescued by Neelix, who became her partner. She becomes assistant medical technician on Voyager and her character is given the chance to learn and grow.
Then she is axed to make space for the introduction of Seven of Nine.
Voyager had been failing and writers wanted to introduce a character with wider appeal. They found that in cat-suit wearing Seven of Nine. They expected audiences to literally forget about Kes, which is a shame as her abilities and point of view were at least original.
11. Molly O’Brien (Deep Space Nine)
Molly O’Brien is the young daughter of engineer, Miles O’Brien, and botanist, Keiko. The couple bring a little domestic drama to the series with some gentle family strife as audiences see them through marriage, arguments, and the birth of two children.
Molly is their eldest, born aboard the Enterprise. Like many of the children of Star Trek, Molly is not given a huge amount of development. Used most often to be kidnapped or lost, Molly does not really contribute very much to the overarching themes of show, nor does she really possess a character of her own.
10. Neelix (Voyager)
Voyager is the much maligned fourth Star Trek television series, which sadly presided over the franchise’s decline. One of the myriad issues with the show was a tendency to reuse character archetypes from previous series.
Neelix was a Talaxian, picked up by the Voyager in the Delta Quadrant. His job was to act as a guide for the crew as they made their way home through the uncharted region of space but he was also soon promoted to be the ship’s cook. The running gag was that no one enjoyed his cooking – that got old as quickly as you might expect.
His arc from selfish to caring about the crew resembled Quark’s from Deep Space Nine, but without as much time spent developing him. Audiences had seen it before and had no desire to endure the bad jokes for the sake of a weak storyline.
9. Lwaxana Troi (The Next Generation)
Lwaxana Troi is Enterprise Counsellor Deanna Troi’s mother. She is daughter of the Fifth House, holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed, and one of the most obnoxious characters in Star Trek.
After her introduction in The Next Generation, very few people were pleased to see her return for Deep Space Nine. Her appearances often involve her trivial search for a husband, with overtures made toward a diplomatic minister, Captain Jean-Luc Picard, and Deep Space Nine’s Head of Security, Odo.
Lwaxana serves as the Betazoid ambassador to the Federation. She is loud and flamboyant, proving to be a near constant embarrassment to her daughter Deanna. Unfortunately, her antics come across more sad than funny.
8. Vic Fontaine (Deep Space Nine)
Vic Fontaine is played by James Darren and is a holographic representation of a ’60s Rat Pack-style singer and entertainer, as part of a program in the holosuites at Quark’s bar.
Most of the time he provides romantic advice to the clueless crew of the space station, famously helping to trick Odo and Kira into their first date. In a more serious episode, Vic is used as a foil to help Nog recover from a life-altering wound in “It’s Only a Paper Moon”.
The premise of a holographic lounge singer who dispensed life advice held up mostly due to the strong performance of James Darren. Yet the hologram who knows he is a hologram is a bit of an odd addition and is never really given the exploration he deserved. A less frivolous, controversial character could easily have filled his role as dispenser of life and love truths.
7. Axum (Voyager)
Seven of Nine is a contentious addition to Voyager and no one illustrates the flaws in her arc better than her Borg Drone ex-boyfriend, Axum.
Axum is a Drone with a rare mutation that allowed him to enter Unimatrix Zero while regenerating, a secret dream-state where drones can be separate from the Hive and feel individuality. In this realm, Axum meets Seven and begins a six-year romance.
Three years after Seven has left the Collective, forgetting Axum, he finds a way to contact her again and ask her help to save Unimatrix Zero, reminding her of her past relationship in the process. The episode ends with them being sadly separated once again.
Unfortunately, the episode lacks any drama or passion – like the Drones themselves. For an episode meant to explore Seven’s emotional side, it fails.
6. Travis Mayweather (Enterprise)
In a series populated by characters so underdeveloped that it is difficult to remember them, it is almost impossible to care enough about a character to dislike them.
Travis Mayweather, the Enterprise’s helmsmen in the eponymous series is a sad exemplar of this.
Travis had an interesting back story. Apparently, he had spent most of his life traveling on cargo ships before enrolling in Starfleet, so he had a great deal of experience to bring to the ship. Yet none of this rich backstory was referenced again. Poor Travis’ actions on the show are entirely forgettable. He has no fears, no desires, and no personality to speak of.
5. Ezri Dax (Deep Space Nine)
On paper, Ezri Dax worked. An attractive, young Trill, Ezri was unexpectedly given the Dax symbiote after the untimely death of Jadzia Dax. Ezri became counsellor aboard Deep Space Nine and struggled to come to terms with her unanticipated joining while introducing herself to the crew that she knew from a former life.
With her little girl voice and inability to do anything right, Ezri was a jarring introduction after the loss of Jadzia. Some viewers never liked Jadzia in the first place, seeing her as a flawed character due to her being so damn good at everything. Yet that didn’t make Ezri any more likable. Poor Ezri would have done better as an original character, rather than constantly standing in the shadow of feisty, frisky Jadzia.
4. Quark’s Mother (Deep Space Nine)
The Ferengi are a species whose culture is built on profit and commerce. One of their infamous Rules of Acquisition is “Never place family before business”, which is ignored in the episodes with Quark and his mother, Ishka.
Although originally introduced as villains, the Ferengi graduated to being used primarily as comic relief. With their huge lobes and pointed teeth, they are more amusing than malevolent, as long as you don’t think too deeply about certain aspects of Ferengi culture.
Quark’s mother is a Ferengi “Woman’s Libber” nicknamed “Moogie.” She wears clothes, performs business deals, and dates the Grand Negus – all illegal for a Ferengi female.
The Ferengi always walked the line between satirical and cringe-inducing. Unfortunately, some of the episodes featuring Moogie lean towards the latter and can easily be skipped during a binge watch of Deep Space Nine.
3. Hoshi Sato (Enterprise)
Linguist and communications officer Hoshi Sato is the poor man’s Uhura.
Her sole purpose was to serve as a translator for the crew since the technology for the Universal Translator hadn’t been invented when Enterprise was set. In some ways this was interesting premise. It made sense to need a linguistic genius and Hoshi was a believable character. She had a couple of unique traits to begin with: being claustrophobic, she suffered space sickness during her time confined to the space ship. Yet when these were played out, Hoshi was left with a dull, repetitive role.
2. Katherine Pulaski (The Next Generation)
Commander Katherine Pulaski replaced Beverly Crusher as the Enterprise’s Doctor for the second season of the Next Generation after Gates McFadden’s contract was not renewed.
Although far from actress Diana Muldaur’s fault, Pulaski’s acerbic nature, fear of the transporter, and unnecessary dislike of Data made her difficult to love. Her characterization was reminiscent of bad-tempered Dr. “Bones” McCoy from The Original Series, but came across as forced. All it meant in practice was that she did not really gel with the crew.
Due in part to negative fan reaction, Pulaski was dropped and Crusher brought back in the third season. Some fans completely forget the one season blip where Pulaski replaced Crusher and, considering the abrupt drop of her character, and maybe that is what the writers wanted.
1. Kirk’s Son (Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan)
Did you know Captain James Tiberius Kirk has a son?
You would be forgiven for not knowing about the familial connection as Kirk’s son first appears in Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan and is ignominiously killed off in Star Trek III: Search For Spock.
David was born in 2261 to Kirk and Dr. Carol Marcus. David knew Kirk, but never met him, because his mother and Kirk took different paths and she wanted David with her. Regardless, it seems odd David is never mentioned before by Kirk. David displays the same impulsiveness as his father, attacking Kirk when they meet as he does not recognize the man and fears Kirk is a threat to his mother.
David’s subsequent swift death at the hands of Klingons is tragic, but it seems odd that something so important is hardly referenced again.
Which other Star Trek characters are best forgotten? Let us know in the comments!
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