Sci-fi 50: Dr. Gaius Baltar

July 31, 2012 | 5:47 p.m.

Dr. Gaius Baltar, "Battlestar Galactica" (2003): The brilliant scientist who narrowly escaped an apocalypse of his own making, the treasonous Gaius Baltar (James Callis) travels a treacherous path from unwitting Cylon accomplice to vice president of (what's left of) the colonies. He then engineers his own ascendancy to president, leading settlers to colonize New Caprica, before ultimately surrendering to Cylon invaders. Adopting the pose of a self-appointed prophet, he maintains an unusual relationship with Number Six (Tricia Helfer). Baltar's limitless capacity for self-preservation made him loathsome, but Callis' performance was masterful -- his villain was a narcissistic chameleon who was as mesmerizing as he was despicable. (Carole Segal / Syfy)

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