Monday, June 17, 2024

3 Great Star Trek Captains.

September 25, 2021 by  
Filed under News, TV/Film/Movies

( Star Trek is a long-running sci-fi franchise that started in 1966. Even though the original series only ran for three seasons, it was the series that was in syndication the longest.

On our local WTTO—then a Fox affiliate—it continued to be aired on Sundays into the 1990s. During that decade we had both The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager.

Mind you, all three of those series as well as Enterprise in the early 2000s ran longer than the O.G. It was a different time for television when franchises usually didn’t run throughout a decade with new seasons.

That was reserved for sitcoms and anthology series. Never mind that, let’s my favorite three captains of the broadcast era of Star Trek.

Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

At the top of this list is Jean-Luc Picard, captain of the USS Enteprise-D starting in 2363. While I grew up with the original Star Trek, when I discovered The Next Generation, it was something that had my attention for an hour.

It’s one of those series that confirm what I’ve said about TV and film writing getting better with each decade. The original series was more episodic with an adventure of the week format. As a result, you didn’t see much development with the characters until films tied to the original series came out.

As for The Next Generation, we got more character development with the crew very early on. Stories and in-show politics developed, characters were introduced and grew as part of the crew.

Most important is Jean-Luc Picard’s development and learning his more about his background. The films served as the icing on this captain’s cake. My favorite thing about Picard is that he is the best-balanced captain and pretty much what you would want in a leader of a starship dealing with beings that are hostile, peaceful, and mischievous.

Picard had the courage and caution of a top-tier captain as well as the curiosity of an explorer. He’s the template that all captains going forward should be based off but the 90s had a variety of captains: all similar at the core but different in how they operated and governed.

Captain Benjamin Sisko (Deep Space Nine)

I’m not going to into the “a starship captain who looks like me” or anything but Sisko was the man. He had a no-nonsense approach to dealing with civilian nonsense on Deep Space Nine but could take command in tense situations like Picard and our third entry.

Like the early episodes of TNG, early DS9 was a bit of a slog to move through. A lot of it was based around politics and issues on the space station.

In some ways, Sisko was proxy for me as I wouldn’t be able to tolerate some of the shenanigans, scams, and avoidable threats that ended up on this large station.

That’s another thing, he was over a whole station early on and it was like managing a city in space. Here you have this captain who totally wasn’t with the bull getting barrage by requests, crimes, complaints, demands, stowaways, and—the list of issues is endless.

Plus, he was raising his son Jake by himself which is another major task for one person. Overall, it’s nothing that most captains don’t deal with only it was more of it.

This saw DS9 become rooted more in serial territory off the bat whereas TNG floated between a serial and episodic in the first season.

His background is also interesting being the son of a New Orleans restauranteur and a woman possessed by a Bajoran Prophet. This would become a major story arc towards the end of DS9.

Speaking of the end of DS9, it left Sisko’s future up in the air and I’ve always wanted the character to return to the Star Trek franchise at some point.

All of that aside, the thing that really sold me on Sisko was when he punched Q. Some captains entertained Q’s intellectual games which would take time out of what they were sent to the stars to do. Sisko wasn’t with it and didn’t care for Q and just popped him.

It didn’t affect Q at all outside of shock that someone wasn’t here for the dumb sh**. The act was more symbolic than meant to inflict harm and it resulted in Q kicking rocks and leaving Sisko to deal with the other more threatening issues that would come his crew’s way in the future.


Captain Kathyrn Janeway (Star Trek: Voyager)

Janeway was a return to the level-headed Picard—only amplified. Voyager was a show that was seeing not only 90s Star Trek-level of threats but also film-level threats. Seriously, when the Borg popped on TV, it was a big problem for her crew which was a mixed crew for the most part.

Of all the captains, she was actually the best captain but not exactly the most interesting. In her and the series defense, Voyager came on UPN and here in Birmingham, UPN was the worst broadcast station.

Like Voyager was being shown in the worst quality and you want Star Trek at its best when taking in these large, exciting stories. However, you keep with it if you’re really into a series.

I will say that the focus on Janeway’s background—the part that makes a character interesting to me—aside, she didn’t back down from any challenge that came at the USS Voyager. It’s almost as if every threat just decided to gang up on her ship but her hands were like Sisko’s: rated E for everyone.

That isn’t to say that she was an aggressive leader, she just accepted all challenges and wasn’t above taking unorthodox methods to ensure her and the crew’s safety. She thought inside and outside the box and used what fit particular situations.

Captain Kathryn Janeway reminds me so much of Picard in that she had the same explorer curiosity but also exercised caution. A textbook captain in every sense.

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.

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