Most Underrated Villain: Grand Moff Tarkin (Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, the version Han Shot first in, and not that crap George Lucas went a screwed up to sell more toys)

Sure, Vader gets the spotlight, but for what?  He can choke dudes with the Force and killed a bunch of Younglings, but Tarkin blew up Alderaan.  And why?

“You're far too trusting. Dantooine is too remote to make an effective demonstration. But don't worry. We will deal with your Rebel friends soon enough.”

Just to create a super-scary fireworks display, because blowing up a smaller planet just wouldn’t have cut it.  When he interrogates Leia over the location of the hidden rebel base, she backs away from him and into the arms of Vader.  That’s really all you need to know about how scary this guy is.

 

Most Benevolent Villain: The Agents (The Matrix, too bad they never made any sequels)

We’re supposed to hate the agents because they keep mankind imprisoned in a virtual world that is pretty much the same as the world we would live in if we hadn’t made the machines in the first place?  They even tried to give us a virtual utopia, but our messed up chimpanzee brains rejected it.

“Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world?  Where none suffered, where everyone would be happy.”

We shouldn’t be rooting for Neo, we should be hoping the machines just debug the utopia program.  Isn’t Neo a programmer?  Maybe he could help them with that.

 

Most Overrated Messiah: Paul Atreides (Dune, Dune Messiah, and Children of Dune)

Boy loses his father, is driven into exile, unites with an oppressed native population, and leads them to freedom.  It’s a touching tale, really.  But, after liberating the Fremen from the oppressive rule of the Padishah Emperor and the House Harkonnen, he launches a galactic jihad that slaughters over 60 billion people.  Billion.  With a B.

“There's another emperor I want you to note in passing—a Hitler. He killed more than six million. Pretty good for those days.”

He fucking used Godwin’s Law on himself, and is proud of how much he surpassed Hitler.

 

Most Overrated Robot: Data (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

All the computing power of the 24 Century, but he doesn’t have access to Urban Dictionary or Wikipedia, and has to communicate with the ship’s computer by chatting because he doesn’t have a USB port, WiFi, or Bluetooth.  Despite being able to serve a constant 24/7 shift, it took him 15 years to be promoted from Ensign to Lieutenant Commander.  Picard made Captain in 6 years, and he spent half is time in bar fights and in bed with green women.

"You must talk to him, and tell him that he is a good cat, and a pretty cat…"

Data is less valuable than an unpaid intern with a degree in communications.

 

Most Underrated Robot: GORT (The Day the Earth Stood Still, 1951)

Not Keanu Reeve’s giant CGI wet dream body guard, but the original 1951 GORT.  The no-bigger than a man, but can fuck up your entire civilization GORT.  The all powerful, unstoppable, ultimate power in the universe GORT.

In matters of aggression we have given them absolute power over us.  At the first sign of violence, they automatically act against the aggressor.  And, the penalty for provoking their action is too terrible to risk.”

Most definitely not Three Laws compliant, and the result is galactic peace.  Suck on that, Lieutenant Commander Datum.

 

Weirdest Battle: NICE v. St. Anne’s (That Hideous Strength by CS Lewis)

You didn’t even know CS Lewis wrote a space trilogy, did you? Well, you’re probably better off not having read it.  The final battle in the series is between the evil National Institute for Coordinated Experiments and the disgruntled tea drinking professors of St. Anne’s Estate.  It’s set in England (where all good science fiction takes place), and involves Merlin (who may be the resurrection of Tolkien’s Gandalf, because England is apparently “Middle Earth”) fighting alongside Mr. Bultitude the bear to defeat Alcasan, the disembodied head, and Satan, who lives on the far side of the moon.  CS Lewis needed to quit the Inklings and go become a friend of Bill W.

 

Worst Aliens: Signs

Not that it’s particularly hard to criticize anything M. Night Shyamalan has made since The Sixth Sense, but you know it’s bad when other SciFi characters start ripping into how awful your movies are.

“So they fly half-way across the galaxy in a highly advanced spaceship, but they don't use their technology to take over the planet. You know what their weakness turned out to be? Water. I mean, if that's true, why go to all the trouble to invade a planet that's two-thirds water? Not to mention the rain.” – Samantha Carter (Stargate: SG-1).

Also, they can travel across the universe, but haven’t invented the poncho.  They invaded Mexico City, how do they not have ponchos?  Oh, the aliens are retarded.  That’s M. Night Shyamalan’s big twist.

 

Worst Conception of Space and Time: The Day After Tomorrow

There are lots of bad space-time conceptions in SciFi.  If the Millennium Falcon’s “.5 past lightspeed” is supposed to mean it can travel 50% faster than the speed of light, it would still take 2 years to travel between neighboring star systems.  Back to the Future’s flux capacitor simply “makes time travel possible” with no further explanation.

“Unpack the snowshoes, we’re walking from here.”

In The Day After Tomorrow, characters are apparently able to walk the 100 miles from Philadelphia to New York City, through the worst snow storm imaginable, and it takes what? Less than a day?  I’d sooner accept that the Battlestar Galactica can do a precision jump into a planet’s upper atmosphere from 50 trillion miles away.