25 of the Greatest TV Sci-Fi Characters Ever

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Is it Even Possible to Compile the Top TV Sci-Fi Characters of All Time ?


Characters — not special effects — are the reason sci-fi shows possess the most ardent audience in all of scripted television. Science Fiction has covered almost every genre imaginable on TV – from comedy to drama to late night.  I’m not sure how you could ever create a ranked order list — is Mr Spock better than The Doctor?  Well….isn’t that exactly what we fans spend hours debating?

Regardless of who your favorite character is, there is no debate that, since the beginning of television, we have enjoyed great science fiction characters and some of them are among the most important shows in the history of TV.

The gang over at the Hero Complex compiled a list of characters (in no particular order) that made television sci-fi what it is today. So give it a read, watch the videos and sound off in the comments section!

For your consideration, here’s 25 from the list in no particular order – we’ll post the other 25 in a future article- enjoy:

James T. Kirk, “Star Trek” (1966):

A restless seeker and cold-space warrior, an interstellar tomcat and loyal friend, Kirk was an Iowa gambler who was never neutral but always in the zone. William Shatner’s character taught us the meaning of warp drive as he chased alien threats and Starfleet miniskirts with reckless hubris. Illogical? Sure, but as Kirk said: “Sometimes a feeling is all we humans have to go on.” (CBS)

Lt. Kara “Starbuck” Thrace, “Battlestar Galactica” (2003):

She began as a hard-drinking hot-shot pilot, but Thrace (Katee Sackhoff) became something far more complicated and fascinating over the run of the landmark Syfy series. (Carole Segal / Syfy)

Capt. Malcolm Reynolds, “Firefly” (2002):

As a soldier he fought for a failed independence but now Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) has more practical pursuits — thievery, smuggling and dodging the Alliance. But in tight spots (or on Unification Day), Reynolds and his crew hear the call to be something else: “Big damn heroes.” (Michael Lavine / Fox)

Capt. Jack Harkness, “Torchwood” (2006):

In this adult-themed “Doctor Who” spinoff, Harkness (John Barrowman) leads the secret Torchwood agency with as much swagger as substance. A former time-traveling con man, he’s now an immortal hero full of flash, flirtation (for both men and women), confidence, charisma and guile — which is not always what the Doctor ordered. (BBC America)

Fox Mulder, “The X-Files” (1993):

Obsessed, haunted, pragmatic and quirky, Mulder (David Duchovny) was the ideal man on a mission for a decade of conspiracy, disconnect and tech anxiety. His quest for “the truth” about aliens and the paranormal began with his sister’s abduction — and the answers absolutely take him “out there” on the Fox series created by Chris Carter. (Mark Seliger / Fox)

David Vincent, “The Invaders” (1967):

In the pre-dawn hours of a foggy Cold War morning, a weary architect named David Vincent pulled off the road to rest his hooded eyes. When he opened them he was staring into a glowing nightmare. The UFO landing was part of a cloaked invasion, but Vincent (the taciturn and intense Roy Thinnes) is made an outsider by his beliefs — and a target. (Associated Press)

Martin O’Hara, “My Favorite Martian” (1963):

This fish-out-of-water comedy starred Ray Walston as an anthropologist from Mars whose spaceship crash-lands on Earth. A reporter (Bill Bixby) sees the crash and helps the Martian, whose antennae are retractable, pose as his Uncle Martin. Martin’s telepathy, telekinesis and advanced understanding of science get him and his Earthling roommate into trouble, but also help get them out of it. (Warner Bros.)

Beldar Conehead, “Saturday Night Live” (1977):

So, uh, what’s with that head? “We’re from France.” That was good enough for most of the casually curious back in 1977-79 when Beldar Conehead (Dan Aykroyd) and his brood from the planet Remulak tossed their senso-rings at “Saturday Night Live” viewers. After “Close Encounters” and “Star Wars,” that audience felt the power of the farce — and looking back there’s something about Beldar’s beer gut and hapless plots that made him the Homer Simpson of the Jimmy Carter era. (Murray Close / Paramount Pictures)

Dr. Dick Solomon, “3rd Rock from the Sun” (1996):

In this zany and clever late-’90s comedy, Dr. Dick Solomon (John Lithgow) leads his crew on a research expedition to Earth, where they disguise themselves as a human family. Though Dick is the High Commander of the crew, in the guise of the oldest family member and a physics professor, he’s also the youngest alien, and his childlike antics often land the crew in trouble with real humans, providing plenty of laughs. (NBC)

Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1987):

You can’t “out-Kirk” Kirk. That was the thinking leading up to the launch of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and it was sound. But the notion of an Enterprise captained by a tea-sipping, bald native of France with patrician civility? A bad joke then, it now ranks among TV’s most inspired gambles. Patrick Stewart’s Picard engaged audiences for seven seasons — meaning he boldly went to a place that Kirk (with 79 shows) had never been before: triple-digit episodes. (Elliott Marks / Paramount Pictures)

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John Sheridan, “Babylon 5” (1994):

In a way, the first season of “Babylon 5” was a preamble building up to the arrival of John J. Sheridan, the man called Starkiller by his foes and eventually viewed as a messiah-like figure by many of the people who saw him as something more than a leader. Brought back from the dead (twice), Sheridan seems anointed by destiny, but he’s no saint — far from it. He can be impatient and has a withering temper. All those layers make Bruce Boxleitner’s captain (and eventual president) a star man with a killer arc. (Handout)

Capt. Kathryn Janeway, “Star Trek: Voyager” (1995):

Starfleet’s first female captain to get her own TV show, Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) was also the toughest boss in Gene Roddenberry’s sci-fi future since Capt. James T. Kirk (and, like him, an Iowa native). While some couldn’t help chattering about her changing hairdos, we think Janeway stands out for her ability to beat back everyone who has crossed Voyager’s path, be they Borg, Hirogen or Species 8472. While romance was rare for the woman who put duty first, she had close bonds with friends including Tuvok (Tim Russ), Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) and Chakotay (Robert Beltran), as well as her beloved pots of coffee. (Paramount Pictures)

Dr. Sam Beckett, “Quantum Leap” (1989):

In a time travel experiment gone wrong, Dr. Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula) finds himself awakening in other people’s bodies — their lives, their time period, often even their age and race all a mystery to him. With the help of his holographic pal Al and his odds-calculating gizmo Ziggy, Beckett must decipher what is about to go terribly wrong in the person’s life and find a way to make it right. Oh, boy. (UPN)

John Crichton, “Farscape” (1999):

After American astronaut John Crichton (Ben Browder) accidentally flies his space module Farscape-1 through a wormhole to a distant part of the galaxy, he finds himself part of a fugitive crew aboard Moya, a living, sentient spaceship. Although he eventually befriends his fellow travelers (aliens who at first view him as primitive and ignorant) and finds love with Aeryn Sun (Claudia Black), he longs to return to Earth, studies wormhole technology and searches for a way home. (Brian McKenzie / Syfy)

David Lister, “Red Dwarf” (1988):

Lazy, unkempt and reeking of lager, David Lister is going nowhere in life before he signs up for a menial job aboard a mining ship called the Red Dwarf. The gig takes a bit longer than expected though; after a radiation leak, Lister is left in stasis — for 3 million years. He awakens as the last human (by all appearances) and what follows is some of the U.K.’s most subversive, unsettling and riotously funny cosmic misadventures. (BBC)

Col. Samantha “Sam” Carter, “Stargate: SG-1” (1997):

The intrepid scientist, Astrophysicist, engineer, Gulf War pilot and (according to her boss) a “natural treasure,” Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping) has a world-class noggin, and also happens to project a seemingly effortless beauty while sizing up the latest alien tech. She’s clumsy with punch lines and boyfriends, but she was a beloved role model for fans of four “Stargate” series. (Syfy)

Mr. Spock, “Star Trek” (1966):

Is Spock the greatest alien in TV history? Our tricorder readings say yes. Sorry Mork, Alf and Worf, the only one who came close was Superman (with four live-action series with 24 years of air-time and countless cartoons). The Vulcan native gets it because he was a pure TV creation and the work of a single actor, Leonard Nimoy, who even in reruns lifted America’s interest in sci-fi and made it look as easy as elevating an eyebrow. Fascinating. (CBS)

Dana Scully, “The X-Files” (1993):

The skeptical, rational, redheaded foil to Fox Mulder, Gillian Anderson’s medical doctor proved a dedicated ally to her oddball counterpart. Cool and collected, Scully had very personal encounters with the unknown that left her battling cancer and later giving birth to a child with special abilities. Through it all, her rapport with her partner remained constant despite a sprawling story line that at various points involved alien abductions, shadowy government conspiracies, otherworldly bounty hunters and black gummy substances, clones, shape-shifters and a two-headed monster with a passion for Cher. (Frank Ockenfels / Fox)

Quinn Mallory, “Sliders” (1995):

Physics graduate student Quinn Mallory (Jerry O’Connell) creates a machine that allows him to travel, or “slide,” between parallel dimensions. His first experiment proves a success, but on his second attempt, the gateway becomes unstable, sucking Quinn, his best friend, his professor and a passerby through a wormhole to another dimension. He must rely on his brains and traveling companions in his quest to find a way home. (Ron Tom / Fox)

The Master, “Doctor Who”:

A recurring villain in the long-running British time-travel series, the Master (most recently portrayed by John Simm) is a fellow Time Lord and a Professor Moriarty-type villain for the Doctor. Turned mad by looking directly into the vortex of time as a child, the brilliant and power-hungry Master longs to control the universe and destroy the Doctor. He resorts to disguises, cruelty and endless scheming in his attempts to do so. (BBC)

Dr. Gaius Baltar, “Battlestar Galactica” (2003):

The brilliant scientist who narrowly escaped an apocalypse of his own making, the treasonous Gaius Baltar (James Callis) travels a treacherous path from unwitting Cylon accomplice to vice president of (what’s left of) the colonies. He then engineers his own ascendancy to president, leading settlers to colonize New Caprica, before ultimately surrendering to Cylon invaders. Adopting the pose of a self-appointed prophet, he maintains an unusual relationship with Number Six (Tricia Helfer). Baltar’s limitless capacity for self-preservation made him loathsome, but Callis’ performance was masterful — his villain was a narcissistic chameleon who was as mesmerizing as he was despicable. (Carole Segal / Syfy)

So there you have.  25 of the most important and best science fiction characters of all time.  We’ll post the rest in   a future article but now it’s time to hear from you — who is your favorite Sci-Fi TV character of all time?  Do you disagree with anyone on this list and why?  Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments section below!

courtesy of Hero Complex

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