Absolute power corrupts absolutely, or so the idiom goes. But sometimes absolute power just makes you kind of an idiot. There are entities out there who practically omnipotent but somehow haven’t managed to find a way to use their powers for anything worthwhile. Here are 10 beings who are utterly wasting their godlike abilities.
10) Mr. Mxyzptlk
Look, I love Mr. Mxyzptlk as much as the next person, but, uh, I can’t help but ask: What is he doing? No, seriously, someone help me out. I get that it’s better for him to be a prankster than to use his powers for true evil. But still. What is he doing? Oh, I know one version (the Mxyztplk one) was supposed to be the court jester in his world, but still. Did he just lose the ability to separate work from the rest of his life? Is there no joy in anything but messing with Superman? How? Why?
9) The Monk, Doctor Who
There appear to be three kinds of Time Lords: villains, controlling Gallifreyans with superiority complexes, and the Doctor/Romana. Time Lords are supposed to be so advanced in their technology and abilities that they are often mistaken for gods on various planets. One of the Doctor’s other names is “the Lonely God,” after all. And then there’s the Monk. He has a TARDIS that’s even more advanced than the Doctor’s. And while the Doctor loves showing up and trying to help, the Monk just shows up to fuck around with history for shits and giggles. You’re unto a god, and you decide to use time travel to make money on compound interest? Have some ambition, man.
8) The Genie, Aladdin
I’m not talking about the Genie as he is in the Aladdin movie. I’m talking about the Genie in the Aladdin sequels and TV show. He is explicitly one of the most powerful people in the world, bound by the slavery of the lamp and the few rules he gives Aladdin. But at the end of the movie, he’s free, has infinite powers, and he just… sticks around to be comic relief? He just really wants an audience for his impressions and reference jokes, I guess.
7) The Celestials, Star Wars Legends
We have to get rid of these super powerful ancient cultures in fiction. The Celestials are literally indescribable—as in a group of aliens could not figure out how to explain them to others. That’s how advanced they were. The Sith and the Jedi both thought that the balance of the light and dark sides of the Force was something the Celestials controlled. That’s a pretty insane amount of power for one group of people to have! And what they did with that power was build some giant things and then vanish. Basically, they are the Star Wars equivalent of theory that aliens built the pyramids. And for them, as for the idiots who have that theory on Earth, I have the same question: Why?
6) Riker, Star Trek: The Next Generation
In “Hide and Q,” William T. Riker is given all the powers of the Q, a race of nigh omnipotent beings. He uses those powers to save Wesley’s life. He doesn’t use those powers to save a child the crew finds on a planet. Because of the Prime Directive, I guess. This did not make him look like he was wise in his power use. It made him look awful.
5) The Elders, Charmed
Here’s what I know: if I was supposed to be one of the most powerful sources for good in the universe, I would spend a lot less time trying to control people’s romantic lives. For basically years, the purpose of the Elders was to keep Piper and Leo apart. And then they all died. Amazing work.
4) The Ancients, Stargate
The Ancients are great. They’re basically like if the Prime Directive from Star Trek was a people. A race of beings so advanced in technology and so enlightened in thought, they ascended to another plane of existence. Where they sit on their asses and make sad faces as all the shit they left behind nearly destroys planets. Sometimes they hang out at a diner on the Astral plane. Note, it’s not they can’t do anything, it’s that they’ve decided not to use their knowledge to interfere. With events they caused. There’s a reason Daniel Jackson de-ascended. I mean, a reason other than “the actor decided to come back to the show.”
Can you imagine being able to do anything you want and then choosing to do nothing but dress like your favorite character, create scenarios for your favorite character to act out, argue with other people incessantly about your favorite character, and insert yourself into your favorite character’s life? Oh. Right. Yes, we are Bat-Mite and Bat-Mite is us.
2) Tom Bombadil
Tom Bombadil is one of the most frustrating characters in all of Tolkien. When he shows up in The Lord of the Rings, it’s a pointless detour in a story that really, really did not need it. And the singing. My god, the singing. AND YET, he’s named as one of the most powerful beings in Middle-Earth. He’s possibly the oldest being in Middle-Earth! He can bear the One Ring with no problems! And he can see Frodo when he’s wearing the ring! Within his woodland realm, Tom Bombadil has extensive powers of protection, which is how the Hobbits end up not killed by an evil tree. And what he mostly does is wander the forest making the errant traveler wonder if they’d gotten into the good pipeweed by mistake.
1) Trelane, Star Trek
Come here, Trelane, you little fucker. You have the power to create whatever you want, control people, and transport yourself anywhere. And the thing you did with that power was play at being human with the crew of the Enterprise. You challenged Kirk to a duel—really stupid—and then kept parking your planet in front of the Enterprise like a child trying to keep their mom from going to work. You disgust me.