Really? What makes you like a character?
Is it relatability? Is it rising above a troubled past? An impregnable moral compass? Really, really cool gear? Charisma?
On some level, I think we hate the characters we can really relate with.
We can identify with Superman, despite him being an over-charged, muscle-bound, alien that can fly and shoot lasers out his eyes, because he is alien. He’s isolated by his differences from others. He has secrets he can’t tell anyone. And he could definitely score the love of his life if he could just man up. But we cannot totally relate to him – he would never poop himself in the face of his own mortality (read: kryptonite) as many of us would. He always does the right thing… unless he sees said love of his life be buried and suffocated because she was parked on a fault line, in which case he will reverse time and go ahead and let the dam break, dammit.
Many can definitely relate to Batman, if not in who we are, then in who we want to be. He’s a normal guy that’s really, really dedicated to his thing (not… his thing… his schtick… no… you know… his duty. The whole fighting crime, preserving justice deal. That thing. That schtick). We would all like to imagine that, given enough money, we could become Batman and throw batdarts and blow batquilizers and take out the Joker and beat Bane and nail Catwoman (okay, so… maybe he’s a little dedicated to other things).
When we see characters that ring a little too close to home, it’s painful to watch. We all want to be Ferris, but how many more of us are actually Cameron? Sitting around, sniveling, being all, “I don’t know guys… maybe we shouldn’t…”
We all like Adama, Apollo, Starbuck, Athena, Helo… but Gaius? GAIUS? (I mean, I love him. He’s essential to the 2009 BSG but…) He’s just such a coward. Such a save-your-own-skin whiner. Such a crier. And yet… that’s the role most of us would probably occupy. Except that we probably wouldn’t be super genii who have a blond, hot imaginary Cylon chick follow us around and we probably wouldn’t be the comic relief… we’d just be annoying. (Or how about Gaita during the last season or two?)
*Side note, Justin even had a joke during our watching of Man Of Steel, after noticing so many BSG actors in it. “If I had millions of dollars to burn, I would use that just to get James Callis in the background of military scenes throughout the movie, dropping classic Baltar lines like ‘What exactly are you saying?'”
But what is it, to you, that makes a character likable? Or cross-the-line, too realistically unnerving? Too cringe-worthy? Or just flat out, not realistically annoying but… annoying annoying?