Danger Ace wrote:
I think he's annoying now, looking back at the series. He's supposed to be this know-it-all genius kid, which is annoying to pretty much everyone except his mom.
Wesley was annoying but it wasn't Wheaton's fault. It was purely Roddenberry's. The "kid genius" bit in sci-fi was tired way before TNG. The Wesley Crusher character, if he had been toned down and pulled back, would have made a brilliant and successful proxy for the audience. Instead they made him a "weapon of contrived solutions." So sad.
I vaguely recall that in one of Roddenberry's many interviews, he wrote Wesley in to the fabric of the show as a proxy for him - Roddenberry himself - and wanted to become more closely tied to the world of Star Trek through the idealistic eyes of his internal child to see what it would be like to experience the wonder and mystery of that universe, vicariously.
Initially, when I heard this, I didn't think much of it, any more than I thought much of the character of Wesley Crusher. In looking at it now, in severe retrospect, I find it to be kind of creepy and, in light of how Wesley was written in the duration, obtusely narcissistic. Almost like, every week, just as Wesley came up with some miracle idea to save the ship, I think Roddenberry truly believed he was solely responsible for continuously saving/reviving Star Trek and was its lone champion. I'm convinced that poor old Gene really let the cheese slip off his cracker in the autumn years of his life.
Either way, I don't think that Wheaton should ever be faulted for the relative injustice that Roddenberry served up to him during his short tenure on the Enterprise. He was just a kid back then, with the smallest voice, and probably didn't have much of an advocate who cared enough to help improve his role, looking back at his body of work on the show. To this day, I always felt his best performance was his last in "Journey's End
". The emotion he brought to Wesley's frustration was, no doubt, fueled by Wheaton's profound frustration with the part he played.