And then I realized, this character is as much a "stock" plot device in the sci-fi genre as the robotic sidekick. And since here on the blog we've been picking dream crew (like a robot sidekick) aboard our dream ship (the movie version of the Enterprise, per your choice), it occurs to me we have to take the bad with the good.
So here's the deal. You're assembling your "perfect" crew, and yet sci-fi genre conventions require that - as captain of your vessel - you select an obnoxious kid as part of the team. After all, who are we going to rescue from danger when we stop facing evil twins, living machines, alternature universes and parallel planet evolutions?
The first obnoxious kid up for consideration is none other than Anakin Skywalker. He's a little too enthusiastic for my taste (prone to shouting "yahoo"), but he's cute as a button and can pilot a racing pod like nobody's business. He gets into trouble constantly (stowing away on a Naboo fighter) and hanging out with Jar-Jar, but the upside is that Anakin's midochlorian count is through the roof, and therefore he has a way with the Force. So he's our first selection. Just, uh, let's ditch him before he turns twenty or so...he's got a dark side.
Our second nominee is Wesley Crusher, son of Dr. Bev. He's been known to block off Main Engineering with a home-made forcefield when intoxicated. And in the episode "Justice," he caused an interstellar incident when he trampled on the grass and interfered in another culture. Wesley is smart (but insecure), yet he does have a knack for saving the ship. We might want to consider him. When he gets really annoying, let's just contact the Traveller again, and Wesley will go off to the end of the universe or something, only showing up for crew weddings ("Nemesis.")
Then there's the aforementioned Loki. From Space Academy. This orphan is always getting into trouble. He's been known to unwittingly conspire with aliens ("There's No Place Like Home,") take seekers out on joy rides, and even stow away on critical missions (with chimpanzees and robots, no less). Looking at the bright side for this curly-haired moppet, Loki possesses the power to transport himself across small distances, and has x-ray vision. Those abilities could come in handy.
Adric, anybody? I'm talkin' bout the Doctor's doomed companion on the British television series, Doctor Who. He's extremely bright, but like the others, has a knack for getting himself into trouble. If we pick him, let's be sure to encounter the Cybermen quickly...
Apollo's son, Boxey, on Battlestar Galactica, is another candidate. He's basically obsessed with his robotic dog, Muffit, and that's how he gets into trouble all the time. In "Saga of a Star World," he chases Muffit out onto the barren surface of Carillon and is promptly captured by Ovions. In "Gun on Ice Planet Zero," Boxey stows away on a shuttle craft to be near his dad. And worst of all, he grows up to ride a flying motorcycle in Galactica: 1980. Boxey is less irritating than most of the other candidates here, but unluckily for him, he possesses no super powers. Maybe we could throw in the robot dog?
And then there's Will Robinson from the original Lost in Space in the 1960s. Frankly, I don't think Will's really irritating at all. In fact, he saves the Jupiter 2, Dr. Smith and the Robot constantly. He's resourceful, intelligent, and can play the guitar.
Other candidates include Jake on Deep Space Nine...but honestly, I never found him irritating. I liked the fact that he became a journalist (rather than going into Starfleet), and I thought the actor did a great job with the character. Other possibilities (let's not be sexist here): Holly on Land of the Lost, and Buffy's prone-to-trouble sister, Dawn, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
So who's it gonna be, folks? Which kid gets a berth on our "fantasy" starship and crew? Don't demure. You must pick one...