Entertainment Weekly Picks ‘Top 100 Characters of Last 20 Years’ – No Star Trek Names On The List | TrekMovie.com
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Entertainment Weekly Picks ‘Top 100 Characters of Last 20 Years’ – No Star Trek Names On The List May 29, 2010

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Editorial,Great Links,Trek Franchise , trackback

To celebrate their 20th anniversary, the new issue of Entertainment Weekly (on newsstands now) counts down what they are calling the "100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years". While the list include a number of well known sci-fi characters, not a single character from the Star Trek franchise made the list.


No Trek for EW

Entertainment Weekly’s list of the top 100 Greatest Characters of the last 20 years covers films, TV, stage, videogames and books. It include many names you would expect like Tony Soprano, Harry Potter, and Rachel from Friends. However, even though there have been four Star Trek TV series and six feature films during the last two decades, not a single Trek character made the list.

EW’s new special double issue is Trek-less

The most obvious omissions from that would be any of the characters from Star Trek: The Next Generation. TNG ran on TV for the first five years of the life of the magazine, and then spawned four feature films. With phrases like "make it so" and "resistance is futile" as part of the mainstream of the 1990’s, it is hard to see why Picard or Data were ignored. And EW’s Top 100 list includes many characters created before 1990, such as Elmo from Sesame Street, Roseanne Conner from Roseanne, and Homer Simpson (who is #1) from The Simpsons. And 1990 is when TNG was getting really good, like the cliffhanger “Best of Both Worlds, Part 1″, which TV Guide named one of the Top TV episodes of all time. And it isn’t like EW is not aware of TNG, as just two and a half years ago they ran a special in the magazine for the 20th anniversary of the series, with an oral history and a list of top 10 episodes. Plus, in 1994 EW had a special collectible issue tied into the release of Star Trek Generations that had a guide to every Star Trek episode aired to that point.

EW Star Trek cover from 1994 shows the love in the past – but not for their top 100

While shows like Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise were not as popular in the mainstream as TNG, they did create some great characters. And EW’s list does not shy away from genre characters, with many inclusions, such as Morpheus from the Matrix films, Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Mulder and Skully from The X-Files, Sarah Connor from Terminator 2, Kara "Starbuck" Thrace from the new Battlestar Galactica, Wilkus van de Merwe from District 9, and others.

One person that should be pleased with the list is Star Trek producer/director JJ Abrams. Three characters from shows he created made EW’s top 100: Felicity Porter from Felicity, Sydney Bristow from Alias, and John Locke from Lost. Two Star Trek 2009 vets also made the list: Tyler Perry’s Madea, and John Cho’s Harold Lee (who is listed along with Kal Pen’s Kumar Patel for the Harold and Kumar films). And while the characters were created in the 60s, there is no reason why Kirk and Spock from the new Star Trek could not have been included. There were many ‘reimagined’ characters on EW’s list, including Gollum from Lord of the Rings, Tony Stark from the new Iron Man movies, the Joker from The Dark Knight, and the aforementioned Starbuck from BSG.

JJ Abrams version of Kirk and Spock made a EW cover in 2009 –  but not their top 100 list in 2010

Does it matter that there are no Trek characters on this list? Perhaps not, but it does show that even with all the great Trek of the last two decades and even with Trek being ‘cool again’, there still is some kind of stigma for some in the so called ‘mainstream’. Of course, it is their magazine and EW can do what they want. If they don’t think any of the Star Trek characters of the last 20 years are worth their top 100 list, well that is their business. But to me, it seems like an oversight. I mean seriously, characters like Tracy Flick from Election, Tim Riggins from Friday Night Lights, and Truman from The Truman Show make it, but there isn’t room for Picard, Data, Worf, The Borg Queen, 7 of 9, the Holographic Doctor, Miles O’Brien, The Sisko, Trip & T’pol, or any one of the other Trek characters from 1990-2010? Well at least none of the new characters from the Star Wars prequels merited EW’s Top 100 — there is that, I guess.


1. stallion - May 30, 2010


Shame Trek is not on the list.

2. Cyberghost - May 30, 2010

First ?

Roseanne??? Come on, the only thing I can remember her for is singing the national anthem, horroribly, Homer I can understand.

3. Starmango - May 30, 2010

“but Picard, Data, Worf, The Borg Queen, 7 of 9, the Holographic Doctor, Miles O’Brien and The Sisko, Trip & T’pol ”

Only Picard and Data deserve to be on a top 100 list, and maybe Worf as a longshot.

4. Tuvok was BORING !!! - May 30, 2010

Why should Star Trek be in EW?

5. Prologic9 - May 30, 2010

TNG is still a product of the 80’s, not the 90’s. It doesn’t matter when certain episodes aired, it just doesn’t resonate with the time period the way their other choices did.

6. Zebonka - May 30, 2010

Star Trek, just in case anyone has forgotten, was made in the 60’s, and that’s more than 20 years ago. Very simple.

Anything since then has been too pasteurised to be a poll-winner. Characters from every series (bar Enterprise) have had great moments, but that’s all.

7. NuKirk - May 30, 2010

#5 well that still would allow for all listed in #3’s list except for Picard and Data (especially Sisko, since he was the first African American to ever be portrayed as a religious icon on TV while being the lead of the show…)

8. Captain Rickover - May 30, 2010

Is Darth Vader in that list?

As far as I can see, Star Wars is ignored too. IMO that Entertainment Weekley guys are insane to ignore Star Trek (and maybe Star Wars) completely but include such stuipid characters like Buffy the vampire slayer!

9. AJ - May 30, 2010

A true oversight. EW is quite pro-Trek, too.

10. MvRojo - May 30, 2010

Really….from 1990-2010, there really hasn’t been any major Trek characters that have resonated with society in a way that the original Trek characters have. Maybe Picard, but I’m not sure if he fits within their time framework.

11. MvRojo - May 30, 2010

#8 Buffy is an amazing character and probably one of the most fleshed-out characters in recent television history. Vader wasn’t mentioned because he wasn’t really in anything from 1990-2010 except for a quick scene where he screamed like a little bit*! at the end of ROTS.

12. t_mac - May 30, 2010

Actually just read the list, and besides the truly obvious ones, this list is utter garbage…

13. demode - May 30, 2010

KIrk, Picard, or Spock should have been on that list. As far as Trek goes though, that’s it. I love the character of Data, but he wasn’t quite as iconic as those 3 were.

14. t_mac - May 30, 2010

43. Cal Stephanides – Middlesex
47. Corky St. Clair – Waiting for Guffman
56. Barney Stinson – How I Met Your Mother
59. Master Chief – Halo
78. Patty Hewes – Damages
79. Elphaba – Wicked


15. Chain of Command - May 30, 2010

I love these lists that they come up with or, as I like to call them, the “Our attention span is too short to really put any thought into what we’re writing” list.

Trust me, they’ll come up with another similar list next year and it will be completely different. And equally as meaningless.

16. Jamesb3 - May 30, 2010

I don’t know why you are even giving this list any credence. All of these types of lists are subjective BS, more a list of the personal preferences of the article writers and editors than anything drawn from empirical data. There was probably no attempt to even poll their readership. In fact, if Entertainment Weekly has one consistent characteristic, it is that they make no pretense at objectivity of any sort.

17. mikeypikey (Ireland) - May 30, 2010

boooo, Ewwwwww

18. Zirclet - May 30, 2010

I agree that these lists are silly, but also agree that it IS strange they didn’t give props to TNG, & namely Picard, considering their near-obsession with it in the 90’s. There were points where they got behind TNG as hardcore as they’ve been getting behind ‘Lost’ in the past few years (and lest we forget, they’ve given a cover to every Trek series,,, even ‘Enterprise’).

TNG showed at number twenty-four on their ‘New Classics’ TV list in 2008 – not bad, but was still outranked by ‘Freak and Geeks’ and… ‘The Real World’.

19. Captain Dunsel - May 30, 2010

Admittedly, I haven’t read the article, but was the criteria “Characters in the last 20 years” or “Characters who ORIGINATED in the last 20 years”? The latter would certainly exclude Picard, Kirk, Vader, Skywalker, etc…

20. jas_montreal - May 30, 2010

I think EW is not really the most dependable source for character analysis.

Anyways, do i need EW to really dictate whats better ?


But… It does show how naive EW can be.

21. SPB - May 30, 2010

Oh, come on, people… this list will be utterly forgotten in about 2 weeks, replaced by next “hot list of something or other.”

EW does these stupid things all the time. These lists are never definitive or set in stone. STAR TREK isn’t on it? Accept and move on.

22. Joe - May 30, 2010

I would’ve expected Spock.
If 1990 was the drop-off date, you still have Undiscovered Country, the Unification episodes, and Star Trek 09′ (Quinto and Nimoy).
Plus the abundance of references from South Park to Big Bang, the homage to his Khan death in X-Files, and the Simpons, etc.

23. Anthony Pascale - May 30, 2010

Again the criteria for the list was NOT characters created after 1990, just characters SEEN from 1990-2010. MOST of TNG on TV, plus four TNG films were in that period. As noted in the article (i wonder sometimes if people comment w/o bothering to read beyond headline) there are multiple examples on the EW list of characters created before 1990, including their number one character, Homer Simpson. And Roseanne was a show created in the late 80s that overlapped 1990, just like TNG.

As to the notion that TNG is more associated with the 80s, that is pretty absurd. TNG is very much part of the 90s, especially in the mainstream. TNG ratings were much higher in its sixth season than in its first season. The show really began its push into the mainstream in 1990 with Piller coming on board and episodes like Best of Both Worlds. I think some people forget how big star trek was in the 1990s. There were two TV shows on, a film constantly in production, tons of video games and products, conventions every weekend. Trek was big. Even the 1994 EW cover above calls Star Trek “Scifi’s greatest hit”

24. artjava - May 30, 2010

Question – If Entertainment Weekly made a list of the 100 greatest magazines of the last 20 years, would Entertainment Weekly make the list?

25. Jeff - May 30, 2010

I think Data would have been a good choice from the Trek universe.

26. CmdrR - May 30, 2010

“Made ya look!”

–Entertainment Weakly

They did their job. The fact that you’re arguing over a stupid list means these guys can throw extra steaks on the grill this weekend.

27. TrekHead - May 30, 2010

I hear you, Anthony; the exclusion of at least one Trek character is a major omission, given the number of pre-1990 characters in that list. Picard, Data or even Q would have been a great choice. I would have been happy with nuKirk or nuSpock! It could have been an innocent oversight, but more than likely Trek was too “nerdy” or cult-ish to make that list. Now I’m curious—did any character from “Twin Peaks” make the list?

28. Chris2 - May 30, 2010

Who gives a flying f_<k about what EW publishes?

29. Dee - May 30, 2010

#21- I agree definitely!

30. MvRojo - May 30, 2010

#23. The thing is that it doesn’t seem like anything from Star Trek has really resonated with the common man in the last 20 years. Granted Trek XI was an awesome and popular movie, but beyond that it’s not instantly quotable and I would argue are great acting performances, but not necessarily great characters that stand out beyond that. More people have said Chris Pine or Zachary Quinto did great jobs in their role rather than saying that Kirk/Spock were awesome.

Also, unlike TOS which gave widely recognizable characters and catchphrase (“Beam me up Scotty”), nothing from TNG forward has done so, at least not to the same extent. While “Make it so” and “resistance is futile” are big for Trek fans, I don’t think if you walked up to someone and said that, they’d know what you were talking about.

Would I have liked Trek characters on the list? Sure. But looking at the big picture, I can also see why none were included.

31. snoopytrek - May 30, 2010

first, these type editors decide on the article idea, then they go to google or where ever and probably see who’s name has had the most hits the past few months or something, then compile there list and from that list pick the photos that will catch peoples eye at their grocery check-out line

Trek will endure on or off any so called “most popular” list..hell, it survived from 68 to 79 with no new series or movie (i know, the animated series in 73)

funny, i still have the “Generations” cast cover issue…of course back then i was collecting almost anything Trek

32. SPB - May 30, 2010

Never mind STAR TREK, EW put “Woody” from TOY STORY on this list. Everyone knows they should have added “Buzz Lightyear” before any other character from the TOY STORY films…!

Again, the list is garbage to begin with, so no need to be upset about TREK’s exclusion.

33. tman - May 30, 2010

Ron Burgundy????? Should have just nominated WIll Ferrell.

34. Mark Cutler - May 30, 2010

I read the list and had only two words in response – DENNY CRANE

35. Nivenus - May 30, 2010

Well, technically most people are going to think of Kirk and Spock, and neither character was invented in the last twenty years. Heck, even the TNG characters are older than twenty years old at this point.

I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find people who think that the Voyager and Enterprise characters are some of the best in the last twenty years and DS9 greats like Odo, Kira, Garak, or Quark are largely unknown outside of the fandom.

36. Jonboc - May 30, 2010

…not surprising, now if they had been listing the top 100 of the last FOURTY-FOUR years…well…just sayin’. ;)

37. bill hiro - May 30, 2010

Tracy Flick is a great character and Election is a great movie.

38. James - May 30, 2010

Utter snobbery that Picard doesn’t make that list!

39. Will_H - May 30, 2010

Yeah Picard and Data should have been up on there, but Jack Sparrow?! I guess its what their readers want to see, not what’s actually legit.

40. Trekkie - May 30, 2010

Data and Picard definitely should’ve made that list, but what about characters from Fringe? I think characters like Walter or Peter definitely should’ve made that list.

41. Brian from OR - May 30, 2010

I have not seen the list, but does anyone know if Doctor Who is on this list? With how popular the character has gotten the last few years I am just curious if he got on there. Or even any character from BSG got on there. I usually ignore list like this. No one is really happy these things, they are interesting to talk and debate about. But they just don’t have any weight on how I think of think of things.

42. JP - May 30, 2010

#8: I disagree, I think Buffy is very deserving of being on this list.

43. BiggestTOSfanever - May 30, 2010

All 100 best characters should be Star Trek.

44. red dead ryan huyton - May 30, 2010

Will Farrell’s Ron Burgandy? Chaz Michael Michaels from “Blades Of Glory” would have been better. I do definately think Spock, Picard and Guinan should have been on the list. And Captain Sisko as well.

But they chose to ignore Trek characters. I’m secure enough with myself as a die hard Trekkie to not let it bother me. I don’t need some magazine to” validate” which characters I think are cool.

45. Oregon Trek Geek - May 30, 2010

I get the vacuous EW. It’s a guilty pleasure. It’s stored in the bathroom, under the NewsMax, which I get so guests will think I’m smart.

46. Rusty0918 - May 30, 2010

Well, EW doesn’t have much credibility in my books. I mean, they DID praise that “Dukes of Hazzard” movie back in 2005 (which got the piss-over by many critics), as well as that Britney Spears movie “Crossroads,” which was also not a well-received movie by critics either.

47. VZX - May 30, 2010

This is truly bullshit. I remember how EW was so trek-centric in the mid-nineties, and now its like Trek didn’t even exist! WTF? I mean, at the very least Captain Picard should have been on the list.

Wow, just wow.

48. notevilspiderman - May 30, 2010

@Anthony Pascale

It is indeed sad that they do not agree with you. Maybe they did it on purpose just to piss you off. That seems like the reasonable explanation.


I haven’t been able to see this list, but: Elmo is probably on there because the character has a 10 min. segment in each 1 hour episode. Millions of Tickle-me Elmos are sold each year and EVERY man, woman and child in America can instantly recognize that character.
Out of character, Roseanne welcomed and included gay characters towards the last few seasons of her show; something still rare in today’s network programming. Her character was actually good friends with the gay characters; they were treated the same as and straight character, not just as a punch line or comic relief. She also played a huge part in breaking down the television stereotype of the “perfect mother.”
Finally, Homer Simpson is probably #1 because he’s the television’s greatest father. He loves his family unconditionally. Sometimes he’s self centered, but in the end he does what’s best for his family. Remember that episode when Bart wanted to skateboard off the cliff? Homer accidentally does the jump himself and ends up proving how dangerous it is? Or the very first episode of The Simpsons? Homer doesn’t get his Christmas bonus and ends up working as a mall Santa to get money for gifts. He only gets a few dollars so he goes to the dog track and gambles it away in hopes of getting more money for gifts. In the end they get the family dog and realize that Christmas is more than just commercialism.
Many of the other characters may or may not be deserving of being on a list made by Entertainment Weekly. However if you want to convince readers that Star Trek characters deserve to be on that list then you need to justify why with their actions and character traits. Saying that EW has featured Star Trek in past issues, some characters had semi-popular catchphrases and that “1990 is when TNG was getting really good” then citing an episode doesn’t really show us anything about the characters. TNG focused mainly on using technology to get in and out of situations with only a few standout episodes about relatable issues (i.e. human rights, environmentalism, and you mentioned reunification). If any Star Trek characters are qualified for this list, based on actual importance to culture and society not popularity, then Spock and DS9 characters are more justifiable since they strongly dealt with many of the social issues of the time and even brought some to light.


You could just create the TrekMovie.com list of 100 Most Important Characters of the Last 20 years featuring only Star Trek characters. However, keep in mind that Entertainment Weekly probably only spent about a week choosing 100 characters out of hundreds of thousands across two decades of movies and television and caters to a wide audience with many different tastes. Also, you can always choose to skip articles that don’t interest you or you don’t agree with. That’s a little piece of advice from you to me and now back to you.

49. notevilspiderman - May 31, 2010

Why was my comment deledted?

50. greenappleman7 - May 31, 2010

Go Starbuck!
Spock should’ve been on there without a doubt.

51. scifib5st - May 31, 2010

EW is correct (sic) I mean just look at the science Fiction of Star Trek! In one TV episode, Data is listening to 5 different music track! We know that computers can’t play music! No TV program could ever inspire Telephone companies to make “hand held portable phones- with cameras no less!” I just saw a TV commercial that a company is making a hand held Ultra Sound scanner….

It’s a new gennerational outlook, these new writers fail to look past their “voice activated word processors” (except Anthony and his crew here at Trekmovie.com) to see how we got here!

Yes sir ree Bob! Star Trek has had NO influence on the last 46 years…

We as a nation went from the first flight at Kitty Hawk, to landing a man on the moon and returning them saftely to earth in 66 years! So I can see EW’s point now, TOS was cancled just before we as a nation watched man walk on the moon. There again, TOS was cancled before EW was even hatched! Do I hear the death rattle from EW as a printed mag???

52. Capt Mike of the Terran Empire - May 31, 2010

EW is becoming a Joke. How could they not List Spock or Kirk. Some of these others people do not know and there are a few i would just not even look at. I like Homer Simpson being Number 1. But please. Not one from Star Trek. I may be a little Biased but to say not one from Trek is not in the 100 is just well. As Spock would say. Not Logicle.

53. Kirk, James T. - May 31, 2010

I’m not surprised that there are any Star Trek names on that list. Whilst Star Trek relaunched the franchise and these characters, the franchise still has a lot to prove as do the actors that are playing these characters.

54. Rach - May 31, 2010

I think that is crap.
Let me just say that Kirk and Spock are forever two names that ANYONE, even star trek haters, will acknowlegde.

55. captain_neill - May 31, 2010

Picard and Data deserve to be on this list. They are just as big as Kirk and Spock

56. red dead ryan huyton - May 31, 2010

Not quite. But they were an integral part of the reason TNG was so popular in the 90’s. Though the show was more of an ensemble piece unlike TOS.

I just hope Kate Gosselin isn’t on the list.

57. Areli - May 31, 2010

The list is BS so I’m not concerned ST isn’t on it.

58. Cygnus-X1 - May 31, 2010

This is a snub of galactic proportions by Entertainment Weekly.

It’s positively indecent.

59. Nivenus - June 1, 2010

Great points for everyone who continues to ignore the list was exclusively for 1990-2010, in which neither Kirk, Spock, Picard, nor Data were created.

60. RM10019 - June 1, 2010

Captain Picard should be on the list, probably in the top 20.

61. Trek Fan Forever - June 1, 2010

Seriously, it’s Entertainment Weekly, so I don’t feel so bad about it. It’s sold to the masses and the masses don’t always get the most profound.

62. MikeS - June 1, 2010

Homer Simpson being #1 indicates the amount of thought put into this list. (That is, very little.)

63. USS Reluctant - June 1, 2010

To hell with EW, it was a lousy list from a shallow entertainment rag…

64. "Check the Circuit!" - June 1, 2010

Characters from the TNG don’t qualify for the list because they rose to prominence MORE than 20 years ago. Star Trek 2009 doesn’t count because they recast 40+ year old characters….just like James Bond and Batman didn’t make the list.

As for new Trek characters of the last 20 years not making the list….what does that tell you?

65. ML31 - June 1, 2010

TNG Characters were pretty wooden and not very memorable. The character of Jean-Luc Picard was dull and uninteresting. It was a credit to Patrick Stewart’s acting ability that made such a bland character watchable.

66. agentm31 - June 1, 2010

That is sad, but I can’t tell you how excited I got when I saw Starbuck on the list from the new BSG. While I think other characters from the show also deserved to be up there, she would’ve been one of my top picks for sure.

67. denny cranium - June 1, 2010

What Phlox didn’t make it?

68. Lt. Bailey - June 2, 2010

Thats just their opinion at EW.

If we were to take a poll of the 100 ST characters (or even just 50) since 1966…. we would have some difficulty with who should be on it or I should say, in what order they should be in. Regardless if I think Shatners Kirk should be #1, no doubt I would get an argument that Picard or Data or Spock or Q or T’Pol (she gets my vote!) should be number one.

EW is not printed for us fans, just the empty Hollywood types. The only time I bought that mag is for the 2009 EW Special for ST with Quinto & Pine on the cover. Otherwise, I got better things to read to be honest.

69. Bucky - June 3, 2010

Point of order: Truman from The Truman Show totally deserved to be on that list over Chief O’Brien.

70. JimJ - June 6, 2010

Picard should have made the list. I’m not buying data being on the list. Even though many Trek fans love him, if you ask the mainstream, many wouldn’t know Data like they know Spock.

If you ask about Picard, many will say something like, “Isn’t he that bald captain from Star Trek-The Next Generation, or something like that?”

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