7. Tom Paris
Like with Chakotay, there’s a clear gulf between how Tom Paris was envisioned, and how he appeared onscreen. Tom Paris was clearly meant to be the Han Solo of the Star Trek universe, but actor Robert Duncan McNeill is more possessed of smarm than charm. He just wasn’t as cool as the show thought he was.
The frustrating thing about Tom Paris is that it would’ve been so easy to make him a far more compelling character. McNeill was in an episode of The Next Generation as Nicholas Locarno, a Starfleet Academy cadet who caused an accident that killed another cadet, and pressured Wesley Crusher into a coverup. Paris’s backstory was never explained in detail, but it was heavily implied that it was similar to Locarno’s. But the story goes that they changed the character’s name to avoid paying royalties to the writer of the TNG episode. But Voyager producer Jeri Tayor claims they always intended to make Paris a different character, as they believed Locarno’s actions made him irredeemable, where they were more interested in a redemption arc for Paris. Whatever the truth is, it was a bad decision. As Nicholas Locarno, McNeill’s smarm would’ve made sense (after all, he was good at smarm), and the redemption arc would’ve meant something.