Star Trek Captains, the Great Debate

Okay let’s throw down.

In no particular order we have

James T Kirk

Jonathan Archer

Benjamin Sisko

Kathryn Janeway

Jean-Luc Picard

Rebooted James T Kirk

  1. Which Star Trek Federation Captain would you most want to be on their crew?

  2. If you were an ensign, which captain would you want to serve under?

  3. Which captain would you want to follow on a deep space exploration mission?

  4. Which captain would you want to follow on a diplomacy mission?

  5. Which captain would you want to follow into a warzone?

  6. If you were a first officer, which captain would you must want to serve under?

  7. If you were a captain, which captain’s past self would you want serving under you?

Here are my answers.

  1. I would most want to be on Picard’s crew because I think overall he is one of the best when it comes to natural exploration, first contact, and scientific discovery. The crew is pretty well balanced and Galaxy Class Starships are among the best.

  2. If I was a plain ensign, It’s hard to say if I’d also want to be on Picard’s crew since I feel like even though he is very balanced and fair, it would be a tough uphill struggle among the best and brightest who have made it onto the Enterprise-D (and later Enterprise-E). As a plain ensign I would actually probably want to be on Sisko’s crew since it would be smaller and I would have a greater impact overall.

  3. On a deep space exploration mission I think most would naturally choose Janeway due to her experiences in the Delta Quadrant, or Picard due to his natural love for acheology and appreciation for science. On the other hand if I was stuck far away from home with little or no way to return easily a captain like Sisko may be much more likely to bend the rules because if you judge his willingness to get results (Like in the episode "In the Pale Moonlight S6E19).

  4. On a diplomacy mission I would probably want to follow Picard, but following Kirk would probably be the most fun due to his nature.

  5. In a warzone, I’d want to follow Kirk or Sisko easily. They can handle themselves in a fight.

  6. If I was a first officer, I don’t think I could top Riker, but I’d like to think I could keep up with most of the other first officers. No preferred choice here.

  7. Having all of the captain’s in their earlier pre-command years would be an absolutely wonderful team imo. I guess reboot Kirk is out since he never really did anything pre-command. I would possibly want Kirk as he was known to be a tough and very intelligent student instructor. Having someone like that under me to help shape the crew would be wonderful.

How about all of you? Who would you choose?


And what about Star Trek: Discovery? No word of love for Captain Gabriel Lorca? :stuck_out_tongue:


Let’s wait until Discovery is concluded before we rush to a decision :wink:

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Well, next season will feature good old Captain Christopher Pike, the previous captain of the Enterprise before Kirk took the command. Let’s see how it goes.

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Surely you are just trolling me here, @Manofinterests. :wink: I approve.

Some prefatory thoughts:

Quite simply, TOS Kirk punches people too much—like, someone in every episode. To be fair, it wasn’t his fault, though; in response to the “too cerebral” pilot, the stupid network essentially required that every production episode have a fistfight. I very much prefer Captain Pike.

TOS Movie Kirk largely puts the swashbuckling down in favor of quoting Dickens and quiet melancholy rumination. This I can get behind.

In my view, Captain Picard is perhaps the finest example or moral rectitude in fiction. He’s the epitome of Stoic virtue, basically Cato the Younger in space. The episodes Sarek and Unification imply that he’s better at being Vulcan than either Sarek or Spock, which seems about right. Much of my life has been an attempt to emulate Picard’s character, temperament, and virtues—though I know I could never actually properly live up to that ideal; it’s worth trying.

Janeway is an upstanding moral character as well, and consistently faithful to Federation values (setting the Temporal Prime Directive aside). She is my second favorite captain, if only because Picard was more formative to me at a particularly impressionable period of my youth. Janeway’s primary feature, in my view, is as pure badass combined with heartwarming quasi mater familias.

I also have a huge soft spot for Philippa Georgiou. Though we saw far too little of her, I view her as a kind of fusion of Janeway and Picard.

In addition to being really cranky and totally bonkers, Sisko conspires to commit genocide and other sundry war crimes. To coin a phrase: he doesn’t deserve to wear that uniform. Like the JJverse, I deem DS9 non-canon.

Archer is always irritated, for no obvious reason, but is otherwise more or less fine. One should be given credit, I suppose, for having (however haplessly) created the Federation. Like most of the ENT crew, I think the character of Archer is written reasonably well, just poorly acted.

My first impulse was to say I’d rather serve under Picard generally but Janeway as an ensign. This is because she’s so sweet and supportive towards Harry. However, upon reflection, this probably isn’t what people need in order to grow. I think Picard’s attitude toward Sito Jaxa in “Lower Decks” is probably more what a young ensign needs to grow and flourish as a person and officer, even if it’s less comfortable. This is, again, a very Stoic (and thus very Picardian) idea.

Janeway takes the Jiballian fudge cake on this one, obviously.


Picard can get a bit cranky with Riker from time to time (cf Generations), so I’d have to go with Janeway.

Because you never know when you might find yourself in a knife fight with some rowdy Nausicaans.


I beg to differ. Deep Space 9 shows that the universe isn’t the utopia that the Federation lives/sells. It shows that we humans have flaws, and deep ones. It shows the conflict of trying to obtain peace between parties that wants to go to war.

It’s my favorite run of the franchise, because I see it as the most human of all.

  1. Probably Janeway if it wasn’t for all that Delta quadrant nonsense. If I had to serve in the situations depicted, probably Picard - the luxury of the flagship, holodeck etc. lower mortality rate.

  2. As above

  3. Gotta agree with @norbauer - Janeway all the way

  4. Picard (this isn’t even opinion, it’s just fact)

  5. Sisko - ruthless, can make the hard decisions, good tactician (this is assuming that the Nuremberg defence holds up) that or Janeway (funny how I don’t really like Janeway as a character but they are consistently coming up here)

  6. If Riker were included in this, I would probably most want to serve under him (although if he treats his first officer like Picard treated him maybe not) with the list as is I’d go with Sisko

  7. Sisko (if Dax’s stories are anything to go by)

and most importantly:

  1. Which captain would you most like to get drunk with?: TOS Kirk - The women, the bar brawling, the stories he could tell. Look under the girdle, the man clearly likes a drink.

Poor Archer, 10/10 beagle though, would dogsit for.

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As a kid I used to hate DS9 for that very reason “this isn’t Star Trek”, “this wouldn’t happen on the Enterprise”, “why should I care about the personal relationships and the ongoing plotlines?”

And then I re-watched it a couple years ago in order, from start to finish, and it might be my favourite now. Not everything is cut and dry like it is in the other series.


Even Miles O’Brien preferred the DS9 than the Enterprise! :smiley:

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Sisko all day every day:

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Not sure if Picard would be the best bet here :wink:

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That’s fine and totally reasonable in general terms; it simply defies the core premise of Star Trek as Gene defined it and therefore is by definition out of bounds as canon as far as I’m concerned. It’s fine sci-fi on its own terms. I believe the only unique narrative value that Star Trek brings to the table is its singular focus on the positive, hopeful vision for the future of humanity. When it forfeits that, it just becomes normal science fiction like everything else. I have nothing against the rest of science fiction, but I think we should preserve the unique thing that makes Trek what it is because it brings something to the world of human storytelling that doesn’t and wouldn’t otherwise exist. To defy that isn’t edgy and thoughtful; it’s just clueless about the premise of the franchise. For gritty, edgy, and dark we have all the rest of human storytelling and, for that matter, history. Star Trek exists precisely and explicitly to be an antidote to all that. It’s why Majel wrote a letter for the official Star Trek magazine essentially condemning the late-season direction of the show and pointing out that Gene would never have approved if he were still alive.

Remember the context of the episode, though. He took that knife for his comrades, which in your hypothetical would be me. That knife through his heart also kind ended up being the best thing that ever happened to him, which is the point of the episode. :wink:


Picard for everything.

Old Kirk was stupid, new Kirk is even more stupid.


Thank you all for reminding me I should rewatch all episodes of all seasons and reminiscent perhaps the best part of my life.

Is there a chance we might get DS9 and Voyager in fHD?


To be honest, I think Picard would be one of the fun ones to drink. Remember he did gift a bottle of Aldebaran whiskey to Guinan and even impressed Scotty. Can’t forget about the Chateau Picard after all!

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Edit: I think Norbauer is right about Sisko and DS9

All Star Trek series are available on Netflix, although I haven’t watched DS9 and Voyager there yet. Gonna take a look.

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Oh goddamn, it’s a gathering of Trekkie dorks. I went through and gave you all a heart. I love you guys.

I haven’t watched Star Trek since I was a teenager, I like my science fiction written, and I like it hard. But, even if books, novellas, and short stories trump everything else (and it does!), I get it. I’m not discriminatory. Star Trek is our best inclinations as a species written large and it’s the best propaganda we have. I do believe we need hope and an aspirational agenda. Carry on, live long and prosper by Grabthar’s hammer.

And when I say, “since I was a teenager” I mean the OG series with rubber lizards and Kirk seducing green alien chicks with a cocktail in his hand. It provoked me to read Heinlein, Clarke, and Asimov. Many others, of course. I cannot discount this.


I pretty much echo Ryan’s thoughts here except for Sisko. I would follow him in war over Janeway. (I also like Sisko a lot more then you apparently lol)

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I wish! But I’ve heard that CBS still hasn’t made its money back on the TNG blu-rays yet, so it may be a while. =\

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