Speaking of DAO, I found Alistair somewhere between mildy amusing and mildly annoying. But I couldn't stand Zevran. I think I had him in two playthroughs, but in all my others I immediately killed him off. And I never thought he was badly written.
It's not that I dislike the companions. Wyll is for me an example of a likeable character gone sour. I'n going to borrow something from Mass Effect 2, which is another poster child of good companion writing to illustrate what I mean. One of the more glaring examples of an overdone character in ME 2 is Jack. She's presented as a biotic prodigy, a true badass. When you rescue here, in one of the cut scenes she kills a Mech single handidly, which is pretty impressive. When you later talk to her, she tells you of her exploits, which are pretty unbelievable. None of this really translates into her capabilities in your group, so for me Jack is about as mismatched as Wyll from the point of her backstory. Yet Jack I could swallow when I have trouble with Wyll. The major reason is that with Jack, the writers decided to present this matter-of-factly and rather understated. Jack didn't see her exploits as accomplishments, but rather as some shit she has done. The writers of Wyll went with an outgoing, extrovert personality. So Wyll is constantly in your face about how great he is, when he really isn't. That's really the thing that makes Jack work for me, but not Wyll, even though in both cases I consider their backstories to be similarly overdone.
Gale's backstory on the oher hand is beyond the pale. I lke Gale, even though he wants my best magic items, and I actually find the backstory as such really entertaining. It just doesn't work for me in the context of the game and the group.
I do agree that you may always find redeeming qualities in your companions later on. But If I look at Astarion, it's not that I distrust him because he's a Vampire, except for the general distrust you have for the members of that specific undead family. If another companion had tried to backstab, or let's say rape, you when you are not looking, would you be that forgiving? Because that is what his action amounts to. That's why I would always distrust him, not because he's a Vampire.
There are a couple of other points, but those are the things why I find the writing underwhelming so far.
I don't disagree, nor do I blame ya'. My thing with Wyll is that I know people that are exactly like him. Crap, I'm even related to at least one. As I sit here thinking about it, I've come to realize that I know people that are similar to, if not exactly like all of the companions, barring the sleep creep stuff from Astarion, anyway. But in their overall attitudes and mannerisms, I know these people in real life. Ok we have to remove all the magical/mystical whozits too, but the basic archetypes aren't as unrealistic as some seem to believe. It's also the case that I'd rather have people like them around me, where at least I know where I stand, mostly, than people like my neighbor, for example, who's all nice and polite when we're talking, but gets all out of control about me to others, thinking I'll never hear about it.
Ah, Jack, I just recently played her recruitment mission again. Yeah, the way she's presented doesn't really add up to the way she actually plays, mostly. Even that hard baked exterior doesn't match what's inside, once you progress a bit. However, I wouldn't want to go out of my way to make her mad. Shepard might be able to take her out, but that's because Shepard is everything she was presented to be, and more, depending on the player, anyway...