Spacetime's 5 Dumbest Time Travelers

Unfortunately, not all time travelers can be geniuses like The Doctor or Rip Hunter. Some of them might in fact represent considerable danger to history, yours and mine. I'm not even talking about the Marty McFlies and the Bills & Teds of this continuum. Though perhaps ill-equipped on paper to deal with the whole of history, they were at least street smart enough to survive and prevail. No, these are the absolute rock bottom of time travel dumbasses. Do not let near another time machine!

5. Time CommanderSource: Silver Age Brave and the Bold stories
Method: A special hourglass (comic book science)
Plaguing Batman and Green Lantern in two consecutive team-ups (Brave & the Bold #59 and Brave & the Bold #69), the Time Commander stands as perhaps the worst time travel villain of all, well, TIME! (Yes, I'm counting early Chronos stories in there.) The links above tell the tale, but TC could not only decide what KIND of time travel villain he was, but also used the exact same stratagem on the same heroes twice, from the same hidden HQ. Losing control of the time monster you summon seems par for the course after that. Why so high on the list? Seems like writer Bob Haney made everyone else just as stupid in those stories, so I'm adjusting on a curve.

4. Pavel Chekov
Source: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Method: Slingshot around the sun
Oh Chekov... Being a dumb kid worked fine when you WERE a kid, but it just seems unbelievable that you would make it to commander in your middle age with that particular head on your shoulders. Asking 1986 San Francisco citizens where the nuclear wessels are is funny. The interrogation aboard said wessel, in which you spill the beans about Starfleet in a full-blown Russian accent during the Cold War, that's just stupid. Pavel just edges out Scotty in that same film for talking into a mouse.

3. Jamie McCrimmon
Source: Doctor Who
Method: TARDIS
Most Doctor Who companions are required to play cabbage heads so that the Doctor can explain the plot to the audience, but if I had to pick the most cabbagey of them all, it would be Jamie. At this point in the show (the late 60s), the companions were very much pitched to a younger audience, and Jamie is a big child. Paired with either Victoria (whose job was to scream loudly) or Zoe (the girl computer), it was the naive, wide-eyed Scotsman who asked all the stupid questions in addition to getting knocked out or kidnapped on a weekly basis. Lowest point: Pointing at Cybermen, shouting about the Phantom Piper coming to get him.

2. Jamal "Sky" Walker
Source: Black Knight
Method: Magical moat
It's the Connecticut Yankee as played by Martin Lawrence. Martin. Lawrence.

1. Phineas Bogg
Source: Voyagers!
Method: Omni
For my money, especially after recently watching the whole of the 80s tv series Voyagers!, Phineas Bogg has to be the dumbest, most clueless, most ill-equipped time traveler of all spacetime. How did this guy ever graduate from Voyager School (even with its admittedly low standards)? This is the guy who, in the pilot, mistakes World War I for the American Civil War, and it's not his stupidest mistake. Watching Voyagers! is PAINFUL because its protagonist is so obviously dense. And poor Jon-Erik Hexum... some actors project intelligence no matter what role they're in. He's not one of them. Doyyyyyyy...

Or perhaps your timeline has been contaminated by someone else? The comments will tell!


Matthew Turnage said...

While Jamie certainly belongs on the list, I will say in his defense he was ill during the whole Phantom Piper bit.

I'd give an honorable mention to Rose Tyler, who may have done pretty well for most of her stint as a time traveller, but did almost completely wipe out everything in "Father's Day" because she thought she was smarter than the Doctor.

Robert said...

How about the Lord of Time, who build a computer to shut down time without stopping to think whether it could be started up again?

Siskoid said...

Matt: And new to time travel. Being a bit unfair about that one, but overall, a pretty dense, naive character. If I were to name the second dumbest companion, I probably wouldn't pick Rose, not when Adric is up for grabs (his math skills are just savantism).

Robert: That character at least had other schemes that were better put together (including in a recent Superman/Batman story). Time Commander... I don't know of a single smart appearance.

De said...

I'd probably put Corky from the Time Masters on the list. Little bastard.

Jeff R. said...

Over from Legion-continuity, Universo's time-related schemes were never as well-thought out as the ones that were strictly hypnotism-based. And Jaxon "The Infinite Man" Rugarth's plan really didn't work out for him.

Oh! How about that guy played by Matt Frewer on The Next Generation?

Siskoid said...

Poor Rasmussen. Well, he did figure out how to work an advanced time machine AND con (almost) the Enterprise-D's crew.

Erich said...

At least the Time Commander had one good story in him (Animal Man #16)...and even then, his plan was more well-meaning than well-thought-out.

Andrew Gilbertson said...

On the opposite side of the scale, what about a list of 'Canniest time travelers?' I'd nominate Sliders' Quinn Malory at the top of the list- the only sci-fi character I can think of that takes time to consider the situation, craft a plausible backstory based on the events of his life and family that he knows about, and then refer to everything in the correct tense instead of stumbling around with repeated slip-ups in the "What do you mean, mom- er, I mean, Mrs. Mallory?" vein. Actually... by that standard, Marty Mcfly should probably make this list- he was never exactly a forward thinker or good at keeping secrets in his travels- everyone around him was just too dense to pick up on the future spoilers. :-)


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