Despite being a short-lived show, Firefly managed to produce a lot of great characters, enough that it’s kind of tough to say that any of them are really the worst since pointing out Simon Tam as the worst among them means that he was the most out of place and the one that didn’t make a lot of sense. His place on the crew was one of convenience really since not only did he have a phobia of being empty space to start with, but it was kind of obvious that he didn’t fit in with the crew no matter that he had a useful set of skills. In a lot of shows, a medic is basically there to serve as someone who can patch people up and handle the kind of trauma that crews such as those that ran the Firefly would incur from time to time. But apart from that, his sister River was far more useful than he was since even his mannerisms kept him from really connecting with anyone in a big way unless he happened to be drunk.
The reason for calling Simon the worst character on the show is pretty easy to explain since in a lot of other shows the medics either stay well away from the fighting or are right in the thick of it, but they know HOW to fight is the difference. There are medics that wouldn’t know how to handle a gun if they were given a month to train, but Simon is the kind of guy you wouldn’t want around anything other than the tools he knows how to use. Some medics are able to fight, some choose not to, but it would appear that Simon had no knowledge of how to fight whatsoever, while his sister was a definite asset to the crew when it was discovered that she could fight better than a good number of them.
Calling him the worst character in this instance is pretty sound since a person that can’t fight but can work his magic when it comes to handling massive trauma is useful, but only insofar that he can be given the time and space he needs to keep someone from dying. In the middle of battle, a medic is valuable, but only if they have someone near to them that can stand as protection or are capable of defending themselves. That definitely would get an argument from many people since a lot of medics in TV shows and movies don’t necessarily walk in with the expectation of knowing how to fight since their discipline leans more toward helping people to stay alive rather than taking life, but there are those characters that understand the need for self-preservation as well. It’s a bit difficult to think of a medic who would take a life while saving another. But the idea is sound enough since there are those that could do both and rationalize the act. It doesn’t feel as though Simon could ever do this since his capability as a medic is something that’s nearly impossible to dispute, but seeing him as anything else is kind of difficult.
That’s one of the biggest reasons he’s the worst character on the show, but it’s also necessary to say that saying he’s the worst isn’t such a bad thing since this show didn’t really have any characters who were so bad that they managed to detract from the show in any way. The whole idea of Simon being a part of the crew was kind of awkward and never really stopped being that way since among a group of roughnecks and veterans he was the type of guy that was a little prim and proper and had stories of getting drunk and doing things that a college kid would do, which wasn’t too impressive to those that had been coasting through space from one place to another for so long. Plus, the fact that he couldn’t do much when it came to a battle was hard to get around since the crew of the Firefly had to be able to defend themselves more than a few times. It didn’t help that he had trouble getting along with most of the crew to start with either.
Simon didn’t feel like he belonged with the crew no matter how hard he tried since he was a rich kid that had gone through medical school and essentially done nothing dangerous until it came time to bust his sister out of the place that was torturing her. As far as being a moral human being there’s no doubt that he had good intentions, but in terms of character arc and his ability to help in more than a medical sense, he wasn’t exactly a great character for this show.