Most Interesting Characters in Science Fiction 

Science fiction in the visual media has really come into its own in the last twenty-five years, but it has had a long history of some very interesting characters – many of whom have been wonderfully explored but a few of whom we were left wanting more of.  Below is a list of the last eight in my personal favorites.  One note, I’ve tried to keep Sci Fi, Fantasy, or comics separate, so anyone with Force powers or magic is out, as are anyone living in a universe of monsters or immortals who can’t die unless they lose their heads.

28 Korben Dallas:  A former special forces man who has retired to become an unsuccessful and unlucky taxi cab driver until the fifth element shows up in his cab.  She brings him into trouble after trouble but instead of reacting he just gets through it.  This is a character only Bruce Willis could have played.

29 Samantha Carter:  A great break from the stereotype, this blonde had big blue eyes, a lovely physique, and a warm personality.  She was also the resident expert in anything involving science in the entire Stargate universe, could handle a gun better than most and took out more than her share of baddies in hand-to-hand.  I only wish she could have held down a boyfriend, the other title characters found someone during the course of the show and she was certainly worthy.

30 James T. Kirk:  From a time when the title character had to be in nearly every scene, Kirk could fill one up.  Kirk could beat a legendary Vulcan at chess consistently and could singlehandedly outwit any foe he came across.  He was invincible in the oldest tradition of a hero, and Sci Fi fans loved that about him.

31 Teyla (Atlantis):  A beautiful, sweet, honest woman who could take out any of her team members with her Filipino Sticks, she was a wonderful complement to the military approach of Shepherd and his lieutenant and later Ronin, and a natural buffer between them and Rodney McKay.  It was interesting that all four of them came to her for wisdom.

32 Teal’c (SG-1):  A more perfect straight man could never have been invented.  Working with the rarely serious O’Neill and company, Teal’c knew nothing about Earth culture or language.  That fit in perfectly with O’Neill, who often left the Chulak warrior wondering what had just been said.  Then there was his own sense of humor.  Does anyone remember the joke about the warriors of Anubis, Set, and Osiris?

33 Neelix (Voyager):  Always energetic, this alien from the Delta quadrant seemed to be able to cook with nothing and knew every species on sight.  He was also the most annoying, self-absorbed, helpful, know-it-all in the entire Star Trek universe.  How could you not love him?

34 Jason Bourne (Bourne movies):  A uniquely skilled killing machine, brainwashed and then trained as an assassin by the U.S. Government, but now with a restored memory he is living off the grid and being hunted by the criminals and shade organizations of the world.  He is honest and avoids killing when he can.  Can we ask for a more intriguing dichotomy?

35 John Shepherd (Atlantis):  Handsome, playful, doesn’t mind getting his butt handed to him in combat practice oh, and is a member of Mensa (to Rodney McKay’s eternal frustration). What isn’t to like about this regular from Stargate Atlantis?

About Cian Beirdd

I live with my kitty, and encourage his tuna and catnip addictions. I have a website as well;
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8 Responses to Most Interesting Characters in Science Fiction 

  1. Loki says:

    That’s quite an interesting list. I don’t think I’d have listed any of these (but note I’ve not seen ST Voyager) on a list like this. They’re almost to a one archetypes more than genuinely complex characters (though some, like Carter and Teal’c, obviously had so many seasons to develop in that they eventually kind of grew out of the initial 2D premise of their personalities) — fun, but not the kind of characters that really stick with me. Not a criticism in any way, just a bit of a “huh”-moment — our tastes clearly differ greatly on this particular front.

    • Cian Beirdd says:

      No offense taken, ever. You know I was kind of surprised myself. Most of the characters are in some way interesting but it’s only the top five or six that I find fascinating in my list. At some point I may try generating a better list and putting it up as a page. To do that, though, I would appreciate any suggestions – especially from you.

      • Loki says:

        Oh, sure, I’d be happy to, I love making lists. But first I should get a better idea of whom you’ve already included — are you doing 1-27 later, or do you have them in an existing post I’ve somehow missed?

      • Cian Beirdd says:

        I was working my way up. I have the sad feeling I have probably missed several very neat people, too, so be gentle.

      • Loki says:

        Oh, no worries. We likely have seen/read different enough selections of the genre that the overlap will be modest regardless. For instance, I’ve seen very little Star Trek, and I hardly read sci-fi at all, just fantasy.

        You focusing on TV/film exclusively, or is it any sci-fi at all, be it comic, novel, short story, video game, radio play or puppet theatre?

      • Cian Beirdd says:

        Only t.v. and movie, and only Sci Fi. I like fantasy too (and comics/anime, separate genres), but the list of interesting characters would get very long and I know how uncultured I am with it.

      • Loki says:

        I try to distinguish between medium (TV, comic, movie, etc) and genre (fantasy, sci-fi, etc), but of course, there is a lot of overlap. You could say “radio play” is a genre, and “manga”, and so on. Anyway, sounds good, that should make the selection much more manageable for me as well. 🙂

  2. Loki says:

    I look forward to the rest of your list!

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