Trek Culture really has a good finger on the pulse of the Star Trek fanbase. They do great lists, research the heck out of their videos and offer up some unique opinions that further expand on debates that have been raging for years.
That said, the notion that there are characters fans don’t like is a common one, no matter what form of entertainment you choose to engage in. There are always characters that are far more popular than they should be and far more hated than they deserve to be and Trek Culture tries to highlight some of the most notorious.
Obviously, one of them is Neelix from Star Trek: Voyager; a character I’ve long argued was good. He was a space-puppy looking to belong. Sure, in the early season or two he felt more “used car salesman” than anything but as the show progressed, he took his job as morale officer seriously and did a dang fine job. Others mentioned in this video, like Reginald Barclay, didn’t really strike me as a character many disliked. So it was interesting to see that many, apparently, don’t enjoy him.
But the question that came up while watching this video, especially after seeing who the number one selection is, was “is this really a fair list?” If you don’t like Voyager, you’re not going to like Neelix but if you do like Voyager, you really don’t have a problem with Neelix? After all, sometimes things are ahead of their time.
Think about a movie like Green Street Hooligans or Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, both films were failures at the time of their release for one reason or another but have both been accepted rather warmly since.
Heck, an even more fair comparison would be Star Trek itself. For the time, the original Star Trek was not met with great fan appreciation. The first Star Trek film didn’t come around because the fans of the late-60’s were petitioning or writing letters to congressmen to get a movie series. There might have been, who knows, but the point is that the reason Star Trek got a second life as a film franchise was that fans, some eight years after cancellation, were still watching the show in syndication.
Star Trek didn’t become a hit when it aired, it became one after. Characters like Neelix and Barclay and maybe a few others on this list weren’t beloved at first, but time changes things. 20 years later, if given the chance, and not viewed so cynically, Neelix could be seen as charming. Someone who’s desperate to fit in with people he respects more than anyone or anything. Barclay was a man with crippling emotional issues that still helped save countless lives.
These characters deserve to be given a second or even a third chance. They’re truly worth your time.
Except for Shinzon. Shinzon’s the worst.