Characters that almost single-handedly ruined a television show

Wesley Crusher — Star Trek: The Next Generation

When Star Trek: The Next Generation first hit warp speed, the idea was to continue Gene Roddenbery’s vision of a united world seeking out new life and civilizations in outer space. What no one expected was the most annoying addition to the Trek mythos since Tribbles: Wil Wheaton’s Wesley Crusher.

Even for the future, his story made no sense. Wesley consistently failed to make it into the Starfleet Academy, yet somehow remained on board the Enterprise. Even more mind-blowing, he regularly gave opinions, stood up to senior officers, and came up with ideas that saved the day. He was the character who somehow had the knack for all the answers and the plucky attitude to match them. What he didn’t have, however, was respect. Not even getting stabbed earned this kid any street credibility.

Wesley was routinely rejected for having no logical reason to be as smart, as opinionated, or as helpful as he was. Eventually, Wesley was routinely smacked down by Captain Picard, and even his own mother. The hatred crystallized with the infamous scene where Picard snapped, “Shut up Wesley!”, a moment immortalized as both Internet meme fodder and an entry in the urban dictionary.

Wesley would exit as a regular in the fourth season, allowing TNG to right itself without having to rely on someone who couldn’t ride Space Mountain alone. Wheaton would later admit the criticism of the character hurt him personally, but given how he has been given his own asteroid and remains a rising power in geek culture, he’s probably gotten over it. If he hasn’t, well, then shut up Wil!