Did Tiger Woods' public apology leave you unsatisfied? Maybe the sports legend should have borrowed a bit from Lt. Commander Worf, the Tenth Doctor and other great apologizers from science fiction.
Star Trek: The Next Generation is full of apologies - every other episode ends with a mea culpa. Picard frequently apologizes for misunderstanding some strange new life form and endangering it in the process. But Worf is the best apologizer out there - he's always overstepping his bounds, whether it's killing the Klingon Chancellor, participating in a witchhunt against a half-Romulan crewmember or going AWOL. And you haven't really heard an apology until you've heard a Klingon apology. Sadly, this is the only one we could find online:
Doctor Who is like a master class in apologies, and no Doctor was better at admitting fault than the recently departed David Tennant. We compiled a video of all the many times he said "sorry" during his run, although we should update it to include his last couple of episodes (plus Sarah Jane's wedding episode.) For now, here's the slightly incomplete version:
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card has a sort of backhanded apology from Mazer Rackham: "If there was something wrong, we did it."
Lost has lots of apologies, too - especially from Jack, aka Guilt Guy. His most tearful, and heartfelt, apology, may have come in episode 20, "Do No Harm," when he apologizes to Boone for failing to save him:
Silent Running features some pretty tearful, apologetic moments from Bruce Dern, especially when he says goodbye to Dewey:
The Honor Of The Queen by David Weber: Yanakov is very graceful in apologizing for treating Admiral Courvosier's crew badly, especially the women, and his people aren't really the barbarians that everyone thinks they are.
Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith doesn't have too many moments of genuine emotion or character development, but this one, where Anakin apologizes to Obi-Wan for being such an asswipe, is one of them. It's a surprisingly heartfelt and nice apology, considering what happens afterwards:
Babylon 5 features Captain Sheridan's awesome apology to the Centauri (via TVTropes):
I apologize. I'm... sorry. I'm sorry we had to defend ourselves against an unwarranted attack. I'm sorry that your crew was stupid enough to fire on a station filled with a quarter million civilians, including your own people. And I'm sorry I waited as long as I did before I blew them all straight to hell! ...As with everything else, it's the thought that counts
The Gone Away World by Nick Harkaway ends with a lovely bit where Gonzo and the main character apologize to each other: "I'm sorry I shot you." "I'm not sorry I exist. But I'm sorry I didn't realize sooner what was happening." And then they hug. It's really nice, especially coming after all the book's final revelations, which I won't spoil here.
Thank to Pat Cadigan, Sabrina, Hillary Dixon, Josh Wimmer, Chris Hsiang, Niall Harrison, Rus McLaughlin, Shahn Serena Dickson, Paul Riddell, Ken Applebaum, Micky Shirley, and anyone else we forgot!