We’ve established that Wesley Crusher was not a well-liked character on Star Trek: The Next Generation, at least by some viewers.

However, did those reactions ever include an explanation about why people disliked the character? Maxim’s sci-fi character survey apparently noted that people were annoyed that Wesley was “always” the one to save the ship, but plenty of other characters repeatedly saved the ship too.

What are the reasons commonly given for hating Wesley?

  • 2
    Because he's a schmuck
    – Valorum
    Feb 19, 2016 at 20:50
  • 7
    Same reason I liked him: He is a smart-ass (like me)
    – Sunzi
    Feb 19, 2016 at 21:16
  • 14
    "Shut up, Wesley!" Feb 19, 2016 at 21:44
  • 2
    I am a year or two younger than Wil Wheaton and by all rights should have identified strongly with the character on TNG, my favorite show at the time. Instead I couldn't get over the fact that adults don't treat children so well regardless of their knowledge. He was Scrappy Doo in my mind, a kid added solely to appeal to a younger audience. Feb 20, 2016 at 4:32
  • 9
    What do you mean, "did"?
    – SQB
    Feb 20, 2016 at 15:57

2 Answers 2


Wesley Crusher is the reason the article "Creator's Pet" on TVTropes used to be called "The Wesley":

He nearly killed the show in the fans' eyes, by being an Insufferable Genius and an admitted Canon Sue for Gene Wesley Roddenberry. Whenever the other characters weren't praising him undeservedly, they were rudely dismissing him undeservedly, depending on which one would make him look better. Even worse was the 1987 Writer's Strike, which left the network sitting on a ton of unused "Wesley Saves The Day" scripts as most of what they had to work with. (Ironically, these episodes are generally considered So Okay, It's Average, making him marginally more likable when he's the focus character, as opposed to when he's given such a large role in other episodes.) It got so bad that even Wil Wheaton, the actor who played him, hated his guts. He became a bit more bearable with the 5th season episode, "The First Duty", where he screws up big time by participating in an illegal stunt that gets a schoolmate killed and then attempting to cover it up, and for once he isn't Easily Forgiven, or otherwise allowed to get away with it. Instead, this leads to him being bawled out by Captain Picard and getting that school year's marks voided. Eventually he was Put On A Shuttlecraft and the character disappeared from the series, only coming back for the near-final episode Journey's End, and finally being cut out of a cameo appearance on Star Trek: Nemesis.

tl;dr: Gene Roddenberry liked the character far more than the fanbase did. He tried to fix that by making him look better than he was at the expense of other characters. This backfired.

  • 1
    I did think he was a bit of a Mary Sue. I should do a “Wesley saves the day” count. Feb 19, 2016 at 22:05
  • 5
    @PaulD.Waite: That's probably only useful in comparison to a "saves the day" count for the rest of the main characters. I'm pretty sure Data saves the Enterprise quite often. Well, unless Data ends up taking up all of the extra "saves the day" opportunities after Wheaton left the show.
    – Ellesedil
    Feb 19, 2016 at 22:08
  • 6
    @Ellesedil: well quite, I’d have to include all characters. One does not half-ass a task as significant as this! Feb 19, 2016 at 22:09
  • 11
    @Ellesedil Data (and most of the rest of the senior staff) is a highly trained and intelligent officer. "Pilot lands 737" isn't news, "kid lands 737" is.
    – Nick T
    Feb 19, 2016 at 23:52
  • 5
    While the show was in its original run, I attended a Star Trek panel at a convention (a Westercon, I think). In the middle of a discussion about how much everyone despised Wesley Crusher, Bjo Trimble walked into the room with Wil Wheaton. Everyone cheered. The dislike of Wesley definitely didn't extend to the actor who played him. Feb 20, 2016 at 15:46

Another reason: science fiction was long considered kid stuff. To appeal to kids writers/producers would work a kid into adult situations. This gimmick became quite a cliche. Lots of serious science fans found this annoying, including me even when I was a kid.

Plus Wesley was no spunky Will Robinson. He was oh-so-sensitive and sulked a lot.

Finally, the Wesley-saves-the-day overdose coincided with the first two seasons. Fans were already testy at the lack of drama as described in Shatner's documentary.

  • 1
    Not only was he overly sensitive, but he was incredibly naive for his level of intelligence. Like, the kind of naivety that you would not even expect from a 10 year old today.
    – forest
    Jul 15, 2018 at 2:04

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