Howdy folks. Since some of you (I’m not pointing fingers, @Boydesian) seem to be at least somewhat Star Trek Fans, I thought we should settle this once and for all.
Mano-a-Humano. A battle for the ages… Romulan Warbirds against Klingon Warbirds against Cardassian Warbi… you get the idea.
Right! So, in the only order that makes any sense:
Best Captains in Star Trek:
Now, while we take these truths to be self-evident, I posit the following:
Sisko was the start of Star Trek with actual story arcs. Sure, TNG had a few reoccurring villains, a few “Hey, you remember that one time…”, but functionally you could watch most of the show out of order and never actually know it. Which isn’t really TNG’s fault… most shows were like that! DS9 introduced a little thing I like to call… “plot”. Or overarching plot, at the least. Elements of the first season cropped up throughout the show!
DS9 had the best AND WORST episodes of any Star Trek. “Hurry Home”, while not as overtly racist as “Code of Honor” (I don’t think anything ever was), was pretty awful. Every time Vic FotherMucking Fontaine shows up in any episode he made me want to gouge out my eyes and ears, and gosh there are a lot of utterly awful Mirror Universe episodes. So many. But to counterpose that… “Duet” was spectacular. “Trials and Tribble-lations”? Come on. And the two best episodes of any Star Trek ever made… “In the Pale Moonlight” and “Far Beyond The Stars”. chef kiss
Lastly, Sisko is a human captain. I mean… he’s an actual human. He makes mistakes, he gets fooled (Eddington in particular), but when he’s on… the scene with him and Dukat in “Waltz”? Or between him and Nog when Nog first wants to go to Starfleet Academy? Sisko brings out the best in those around him, both as a character and as an actor. He is a gift to watch.
Janeway is great, Picard is good, I really like the energy Chris Pine brings to Kirk, and I think Bill Shatner is a great actor and so does he. Archer… well, I think Archer is an inconsistent mess and the show choked on its own potential.
Haven’t seen Discovery yet, so no spoilers, but otherwise: have at ya!
I’m strange in that I am one of the few people who dislike season/series/show-arching stories. I am the first to admit that the modern formula for episodic installments in an ongoing story is really the pinnacle of television storytelling… I just can’t stand it. I watch TV casually and at random; often distracted while doing so… And it’s my watching pattern that is incompatible with the format.
BTW “Best” to me is a difficult phrase. Best acted? Best actual captain if it was real? What lies below is a sort of melange of these two ideas…
I have no doubt at all that DS9 was the best series, but here’s my order;
I cannot stand Voyager! Don’t ask me why, I just found the whole series annoying. Maybe the memory of DS9 was too close. I only watched a few of Enterprise as well, but what I saw of Scott Bakula I liked.
Lorca! Hello to Jason Isaacs!
On DS9; does anyone hate the last episode as much as I did?
I mean, better than “All Good Things…” in almost every possible way (GODS I hate time-travel episodes in Trek), but yeah, still weak. And weaker because, unlike TNG, we didn’t get ANY post-closure closure. TNG got, what… 3 movies to tie up more loose ends? DS9 deserves a movie.
And it has to be soon. Avery Brooks and Nana Visitor are both mandatory inclusions, and they’re still both around.
OG Kirk is the perfect action hero, and the guy who out-smarts gods. Also, I like that the original crew (even though behind the scenes may have been different) always felt like they were friends. Also, movie Kirk is such a powerful character. Personally, new-kirk cannot match his screen presence, even as an old dude.
Picard is the philosopher, and the one who makes me cry. The Inner Light, as cliche’d as it may be to like it, is my favourite episode of any tv show ever. As far as strong individual episodes, I believe that TNG is by far the strongest ST show.
Sisko is someone I admire for his personal life, as a father (to his son, and also to the crew of DS9), and as someone who perseveres through adversity. DS9 gives you a more full understanding of Sisko than other captains, you see more clearly his growth, and see him struggle through the changing landscape.
I came late to Star Trek because growing up I somehow was told you could be either a Star Wars fan or a Star Trek fan but not both and I encountered Star Wars first…
But at some point of my pop-cultural coming of age I could no longer ignore that my partner would laugh at me when I’d say “He’s dead, Jim!” or “Beam me up, Scotty.” without ever having watched any Star Trek beyond a few accidental encounters on TV. Also we’d watch Big Bang Theory and I just didn’t “get” some of the guest appearances…
The completionist that I am had to start with classic… then we watched TNG and some of the movies… apparently I have to watch everything in “order” of some timeline someone on the internet made… (this watching has been going on for many years now as Star Trek is not exactly a small universe that is easily binged and also not always easy to digest). We snuck in a few episodes of Discovery and the new movies at some point.
We’re nearly done with DS9 at right now (last season?) and we’re several seasons into Voyager.
Whatever Star Trek is… and whatever all the captain’s stand for or not. Each show has something great and all of them have the Federation. While a lot of it is not fleshed out in details, and there is most likely a lot of issues glossed over, I love the grand utopian vision that the Federation symbolizes.
As for Captains… as previously mentioned:
If I had to pick a single character… Spock obviously.
Not really a Trek fan, I loved Discovery for the reason a lot of fans hated it, and then came to hate it for the reason that they came to love it, and finally stopped watching halfway through the second season because it made me angry.
Nevertheless, the best captain in Star Fleet is Philippa Georgiou.
I’m slightly handicapped in this in that I have no memory of ever watching the series with Janeway. I have to omit her, without prejudice to her merits.
I feel I have to omit Sisko for a different reason: I don’t see that he counts as a “captain.” What he commanded wasn’t a starship, and his role was significantly different.
Of the rest:
Picard exemplified the trope. Old Kirk defined the trope in the first place. Archer was a poor approximation to the trope. New Kirk was a different and less interesting trope: Adolescent rebellion fantasy. (He wasn’t my biggest reason for not watching any of the reboot films after the first, but he certainly contributed.)
Now, if we redefine what we’re talking about from “captain” to “protagonist,” then yes, I’d put Sisko at the top of the list.
C and I have watched the first two seasons of original Trek, in broadcast order, over the past months, although we skipped the “Charlie X” episode, which both of us feel pained at remembering. (I have to say it was—not painful, but disturbing—to rewatch “Miri,” with Kirk flirting with a tween girl.) It’s been interesting to see the first time each of a whole series of Trek clichés appeared.
Don’t tell that to r/prequelmemes or “This is where the fun begins”
I think a debate on the qualities of Star War’s movies has probably derailed many an internet community.
I agree however with the general sentiment that sadly most of Star Wars has failed to achieve its full potential–and yet I love bits and pieces across all parts of the franchise and the franchise as a whole as well. But nothing ever came close to the fascination I have with the original movies that is true also.
Maybe we do need a separate playroom for Star Wars. The next person thinking that: instead of answering make a new thread