By Jeff Burns
Okay it’s our first list! Who doesn’t like lists? I’ve listed in order my rankings of the Star Trek Captains of the five series (I’m writing this before Discovery comes out). I tried to put a bit of fun into my write-ups and also chose whatever episode first came to mind when thinking of a standout episode for each character. There are obviously many other episodes that could be chosen.
Like with any list, I’m sure some of you will think I have no idea what I’m talking about, and that’s totally cool! The Star Trek franchise is my favorite thing that’s ever been on TV, so I’m very passionate about it. And I know you are too! So I’d love to hear how you would rank the Captains, why a certain one is your favorite, and what are the standout episodes for that character.
One thing I always stress on Super Geeked Up is that it’s great that we have different opinions and different geeky loves. That’s the way it should be. So no matter how you rank the Trek Captains or series or whatever else you’re super-geeky about, I want to hear about it. Thanks for reading!
1. Jean-Luc Picard (The Next Generation)
Picard is everything you want in a Captain. His diplomatic skills are unparalleled, he has empathy for his crew and other races, he’s intelligent and incredibly knowledgeable, he has no problem handling himself in a physical confrontation if it comes to that, and he’s French! Though for some reason speaks with a British accent. He’s also an expert rider (he keeps his own saddle on the Enterprise after all), plays a mean flute, and knows his tea. Perhaps most importantly, he knows how to always keep his uniform perfectly straight! There’s no question why he always had the complete respect and trust of his entire crew. Just don’t ask him if he’s seeking jamaharon without getting to know him first.
Standout Episode: Starship Mine (Die Hard on the Enterprise!)
2. Benjamin Sisko (Deep Space Nine)
Sisko brings more warmth than Picard and is more at ease forming friendships with those under him and being more a man of the people. This warmth is also very well displayed with his relationship with his son Jake and makes Sisko instantly relatable. In fact if you haven’t seen DS9, at least watch “The Visitor” (Season 4 – Episode 3), my favorite Star Trek episode of all time and a Sisko-Jake focused episode. Sisko is the man I’d trust in a battle more than any of the Captains. Having fought in both the Borg conflict and the Dominion War, there is perhaps no one in Starfleet more battle-hardened. However, he doesn’t lose who he is through all of that and even comes to accept his role among the Bajoran Prophets. It’s this role of Emissary and father that makes Sisko much more layered than the other Captains on this list and why I’m such a huge fan of him. And if you want to get in good with him, just buy him a Raktajino and treat him to a baseball game in the holosuite.
Standout Episode: In the Pale Moonlight
3. James. T. Kirk (The Original Series)
If you want a man of action, whether in a fist fight or in the bedroom, Kirk is your man! Of course, Kirk didn’t always leap into action right away (well, unless a beautiful woman was involved). He wasn’t too shabby at working out differences between different alien races and he truly cared about his friends. He also has the best sense of humor of all the Captains and was even good natured about the joke being on him. And if you have to send someone to fight a giant bipedal lizard, there’s no better choice than Kirk. Just keep your pet tribble away from the Captain’s chair.
Standout Episode: Arena
4. Kathryn Janeway (Voyager)
Okay so I know there’s many of you who list Voyager as your favorite series and Janeway as your top Captain. That’s totally cool and I’m glad you enjoyed the series and her character so much. It’s not that Voyager is a bad show. I just never felt it was up to the level of TNG and DS9 and the main reason for that were the characters. Outside of The Doctor and Seven, I could never get into any of the other characters, so it was hard for me to fully invest in the show. Now Voyager did some amazing episodes and Janeway certainly had some great moments. And Kate Mulgrew was a good choice for the role and I had no problem believing her as the Captain (in fact, I want to see many more female Captains in Star Trek, so I’m glad the lead character of the upcoming Discovery is a woman). But I feel they were inconsistent with her character and they never knew for sure who they wanted Janeway to be. That being said, Janeway was never one to back down from any confrontation, had the closest relationship with her First Officer, and perhaps cared more about her crew than any other Captain. And getting her ship and crew across 30,000 light years in seven years in nothing to sneeze at! And the mother-daughter (mentor-mentee) relationship she had with Seven worked well. I just wish they were more consistent with her character and gave her better enemies to deal with earlier on.
Standout Episode: Endgame
5. Jonathan Archer (Enterprise)
So Enterprise is a much-maligned show by many Trek fans. And yeah it wasn’t that great, though it did show some signs of improvement in its final season. And even though I love Scott Bakula (Quantum Leap!), they gave him pretty much the blandest Captain ever to play. Archer just wasn’t very interesting. He knew his way around a Starship (having being intimately involved in the NX program) and could handle himself in a fight. But he was kind of a hothead and it was kind of hard to believe he was really the best choice to be Starfleet’s first starship Captain. It didn’t help that the Xindi were a pretty crappy choice for enemies for him to face off against. Too bad Sam Beckett couldn’t have leaped into Archer’s body and brought some more fun to the role!
Standout Episode: Cold Station 12
JEFF - I love Star Wars, Star Trek DS9 and TNG, The Flash, Arrow, Equilibrium, anything Christopher Nolan does, The Terminator, Back To The Future, RPGs especially Mass Effect and Dragon Age, martial arts movies, and Bantha Milk!